The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies (Movie Review)
Oh, The Hobbit. How do I even begin to describe the feels? This whole #OneLastTime thing got me feeling sentimental. In fact, this whole post might not even be a legit review and just err on the side of me ranting about how much I love Tolkien's brain... but we'll see.
I've got a couple of bones to pick with the movie, so warning, beware of spoilers, of which there are many in this post. :)
Review of The Hobbit
The movie did stay pretty true to the book, which I appreciate -- the biggest discrepancy that comes to mind is the whole Tauriel/Kili thing, which was fine, there always needs to be some sort of romance to captivate modern movie audiences, which says something about the value of genre in society as a whole, but that's a topic for another time. I'll come back to the whole romance thing later.
I have to say that the first two Hobbit movies, An Unexpected Journey (2012), and The Desolation of Smaug (2013), were better. That is, not to say that The Battle of the Five Armies was bad--which it most certainly wasn't. I just feel that the plot would have felt smoother had it been two movies, instead. I was kind of surprised that they made The Hobbit into three parts from one book, when The Lord of Rings was three movies from three books. But I suppose, as a prequel that came afterwards, The Hobbit was as much about setting up the story of Middle-earth as it was nostalgia about the whole 'Middle-earth in film' thing.
For The Battle of the Five Armies specifically, it was slightly anticlimactic that Smaug died within the first ten minutes of the film. In the book, this made sense, because the death of Smaug was the lead-up to said battle, because of the riches in the mountain, and so on. However, for the film on its own, it kind of weakened the plot a bit. Furthermore, because there was year in between each movie, I feel like the characters lost a bit of their emotional connection (with the viewer). This isn't so much a criticism on the film as it is the inevitable structure of three-part movies as a result of commercialism, LOL.
Kíli was by far one of my favourite characters in the movie--a large part in which I suspect had to do with him being the best-looking out of all the dwarves. I kind of enjoyed his love-line with Tauriel... right up until his death, which I felt was undeserved, and to be honest, kind of contrived. Even Fili's death made more sense. I knew Kíli would die since I had read the book, but I kind of disliked the fact that in the movie, he ended up dying for the sake of Tauriel instead of Thorin--the latter of which would have made more sense plot-wise and also character-wise. I was dreading his death all throughout the movie and was altogether kind of disappointed. Basically, he was too good of a character to waste him dying for a love line that was superfluous and undeveloped to begin with.
One of my least favourite parts of the movie is at the end, when Thranduil finds Tauriel crying over his body, she goes, "Why does it hurt so much?" -- noooo. It was too out of place, and almost cheapened Kíli's death, which I don't appreciate. Also, the whole history of Thranduil and Legolas with the death of his mother? There's little to no point of bringing in the backstory of a character within the last fifteen minutes of a film--it feels like the script suddenly got desperate and fell back on something 'easy'. Thranduil might be a cold-hearted bastard, but if you're going to give him a painful history with a dead wife, put it in earlier! Don't just insert it suddenly in a last ditch effort to make the whole love line believable. Tsk.
Now, let's talk about Thorin. I have to say, I really did not see his death coming in the movie. I knew it happened in the book, but I guess I forgot about it? (Too focused on Kíli, maybe, LOL.) I'm really glad that he redeemed himself in the end from dragon sickness--although that whole scene with him drowning and not-drowning in the gold was a little drawn out. Not sure I needed a full five minutes of him making surprised faces with flickering lights on screen. He was a really compelling character though, so I'm glad they made him likeable in the end.
I found myself wishing for both Thorin and Kíli, that they had had mithril shirts. Yes, it would've been a copout, even worse than the whole love line debacle, especially because it already happened with Frodo in the LOTR (or would happen, depending on which timeline you're talking about, the real life one, or the one within the story), but really now. Like, you gave the hobbit one but didn't bother with the rest of yourselves? Did it not occur to you that you might not need it more than Bilbo, perhaps? (Also, did anyone else notice that Bilbo was more or less wearing a bathrobe throughout the entire movie? Or was that just me...)
Was anyone else kind of amused that Legolas aged backwards? He was amazing by the way--I am glad they gave Legolas more screen time, and damn, all that fighting? So cool. I also really enjoyed that lead-in at the end, when Thranduil tells him to seek out the Dúnedain, in particular, the son of Arathorn... *dun dun dun* I enjoy when things come full circle.
They drew out a lot of the fight scenes in this movie, which had the simultaneous effect of making you really happy when characters like Bolg or Azog died, but also kind of filled up the entire movie. Not to say it was irrelevant, but it's a fine line balancing plot and battle scenes, apparently. I wish we could've had more character development as a whole, and spent more time on characters who mattered, and less on ones who didn't. The one I'm thinking of in particular is that Arthur guy, who was so unneccesary it hurt. I found myself wishing they would just kill him off and be done with it. He might've been comic relief, but he was infuriating, unibrow and all. Especially that unibrow. He disappeared much too late into the movie.
All in all, though, it was a pretty stellar movie--well made, even if they could have spent more time on character development and perhaps also made the use of CGI much less blatant. All the actors were amazing, so no complaints there. A lot of them were even good looking, teehee. Special mention goes out to Bard (Luke Evans) and Thranduil (Lee Pace), and of course Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Kíli (Aidan Turner). Also to Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) -- especially her cheekbones, dayum LOL.
I found myself really sad that it was all over--goodbye to the Tolkien universe in film. I'm going to go soothe the feels by reading The Hobbit and the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy all over again, and then re-watch the movies, haha. I've also got to commend Peter Jackson for doing justice to the Tolkien universe. It's almost kind of hard to believe this was seventeen years in the making!
This post is getting long, but some day soon, I'll write another post about how much I love Tolkien's works and the whole narrative of Middle-earth in general. I don't think of myself as a nerd by any means, but I do have a keen appreciation for good literature and good imagination, both of which Tolkien has demonstrated in abundance.
I leave you all with the ending song to The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies: "The Last Goodbye" by Billy Boyd (who played Pippin in the LOTR movies). The last line is, of course, "I bid you all a very fond farewell"--which was the concluding line of Bilbo's farewell speech at his 111st birthday party.
And so ends another long rambly "movie review" on the blog. :) And in case you were wondering, yes, I'm back on the blog! It's been a rough term and finals were particularly exhausting this time around, but I'm home for the holidays, so you'll be seeing more of me from now on! :)
Also, only four days til Christmas! :D