"The Hobbit" part 3 release date is a time I face with much apprehension. After all, the news we've gotten about it is pretty troubling, most significantly its change of title, which I believe is strong evidence that Peter Jackson is going to continue the wrongheaded approach that has characterized the trilogy so far. It used to be "There and Back Again," but now it's "The Battle of Five Armies," and that makes all the difference - and tells you everything you need to know about whether it will be any good or not when it finally comes out on December 17, 2014.

Now, I'll admit right up front: "The Hobbit" part 3 release date is hardly the beginning of my discontent with Peter Jackson's prequel trilogy. I wasn't a big fan of the first one - i.e., it was absolutely godawful - and, although the second one was better, it wasn't that much better. So I don't have very high hopes for the third installment of the extremely bloated trilogy that should have been, at most, a duet, or even a single three and half hour long adventure. Peter Jackson has always been a fan of bloat - just look at Helm's Deep, or, heaven forbid, "King Kong." But it's with "The Hobbit" that he's truly allowed his instincts to guide him into bad territory. There's more filler in "The Hobbit" films than there is actual content from the books.

But that's not the biggest problem we'll all (not) enjoy on "The Hobbit" part 3 release date. That trouble is Peter Jackson's change of focus from what made the books - and even the original "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy - so special. That is the sense of wonder and mystery from the wide green world of Middle-Earth - obvious in the books, but still very present in the LotR movies, in scenes like the procession of the Noldor, the first sight of the Argonath, the wonder of Moria and Minas Tirith, and similar scenes that set the tone for the world.

We've had some of that in "The Hobbit" trilogy so far, but "The Hobbit" part 3 release date seems like it will be a little short of such things. That's why the title change is so important: "There and Back Again," the book's official subtitle, established that "The Hobbit" was about a journey, not a destination. It's about how Bilbo and his friends change over the course of their adventure. Changing the title to "The Battle of Five Armies" reduces the story to simply that - a battle. It's a fight, and one side will win. It takes all the majesty and mystery out of the story.

Peter Jackson says he changed the title because, well, Bilbo and co. are already "there" - they're in the Lonely Mountain when "Desolation of Smaug" ended. They just have to win that battle, and then go back again. He said the first title didn't make sense anymore. And maybe it didn't. But it just shows how much Peter Jackson's vision of "The Hobbit" differs from the book itself. He tried to make a journey into an epic, and that's why he's failed.

"The Hobbit" part 3 release date is set for December 17, 2014.