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Evil Movie Review: The Hobbit – The Battle of Five Armies

Where to start, where to start. Yes, I spent 3 hours in the theater this week to watch the conclusion of Peter Jackson’s drawn out Hobbit trilogy. And I mean to talk about it. But let’s start with a little background on my love of Tolkien.

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Yes, I loved the Lord of The Rings, as well as The Hobbit (single, not plural folks) novels. They were fun and imaginative, and had wonderful character relationships. The Hobbit was always my favorite of the four books by Tolkien, probably because I had fond memories of an animated movie version of the book from my childhood. And there were lots of creatures, you know Lilith loves her creatures. I loved the books, and yes, I loved the Lord of the Rings movies. I thought Peter Jackson did an incredible job. Those epics were beautiful, moving, and even heart breaking at times. Jackson did a wonderful job portraying the various inter-character relationships that I loved from the books as well. The movies were long, but I could easily get by that as they were filled with images that could satisfy most fantasy lovers’ imaginations.

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So I was excited for The Hobbit trilogy when it was announced, even though it was out of order. I was a little miffed that it was to be three movies (seemed a bit excessive) but excited nonetheless. I mean, there would be trolls, giant dragons, eagles, and most importantly a dragon more powerful than any we have seen on the big screen before.

Due to a bunch of extenuating circumstances I did not see the first movie in the theater, but I did enjoy it from my home theater. It seemed a little drawn out, but it featured Gollum and his riddles, the ring, and more. I liked it. I was super excited about the next movie which having the name of the dragon in its title was bound to have a little dragon in it. I did see the second movie in the theater, and sadly I was overall unimpressed. I felt exhausted by the meaningful looks, and wanted to shout at the screen “Just get on with it!”. But there were a beautiful final 40 minutes giving me what I really wanted: time with Smaug. That dragon was just beyond sexy. Stupendous. Of course, I spent the whole 3-hour movie waiting for him and then felt like the movie ended at quite an awkward moment in the middle of the dragon’s rage.

And now I will bring you my take on this last movie, which I did see in the theater and started off right where we left off. Fair warning: spoilers to follow.

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The movie starts off almost as awkwardly as the last one ended. I think Jackson did a very poor job deciding where to stop and start these last two movies, as it gives you this jarring thrust in to the movie rather than a gradual re-introduction of characters and plot. Instead, we start in Lake town where all the inhabitants are starting to flee as they know the dragon is coming. Smaug in all his glory decimates the town. But I kid you not, all the destruction and I still only got a total of ten minutes of dragon time (yes, I timed it). In an all too easy single shot with a metal arrow Smaug is shot down and killed. So sad. I should have gotten up and left the theater then, but I persevered.

Flashing on to another separate scene, we see the elf kings and wizards attack the evil that trapped Gandalf, which is revealed to be Sauron. I know Jackson was trying to connect the LOTR trilogy to the Hobbit with this move, but I don’t remember it from the book. And I think it was a dumb move. If anything it just makes Gandalf and the others look like fools come The LOTR, since they should have known sooner that Sauron was attempting to make a comeback. Let’s just forget that scene ever happened folks. Besides it had way too much pathetic blue screen fighting to be enjoyable ever.

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Back to the now annihilated Lake town, the survivors are streaming in to the abandoned towns by the Mountain Castle, and our dwarf leader Thorin has lost his mind. He has succumbed to dragon sickness and as such is so greedy he will not follow through on his word to the elves and men from before to give them their payment for their assistance. I have always said that I hate it when movies show people making bad decisions, and this was just painful. Watching everyone act so helpless as Thorin loses his mind in a way that will likely result in the death of all his relatives is painful.

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During all of this I will say that Martin Freeman’s character, Bilbo, remains my favorite. He stays true to what I think a hobbit would do, being moral and kind, brave and smart. I think of all the acting in the entire movie Freeman’s portrayal of Bilbo was the only part worth a nod of appraisal.

Now let’s get back to some absurdity. What stops Thorin’s downfall? The orcs of course. The orcs have planned an entire ambush on the mountain to claim it as theirs. Now wait…didn’t the books say that orcs could not come out in the sunlight? Yeah, Jackson just conveniently left that part out. Instead we get to see them in a hoard probably 20 times that of the combined forces of dwarves, elves, and men. Yet you know who will win. What of the battle scene? I think Jackson was trying all too hard to repeat LOTR The Return of the King. I will say that movie was my favorite of all of the LOTR movies. And yet Jackson destroyed this movie with its overwhelmingly overdone battle scene. First every individual species wants to ride some absurd animal (orcs on hyenas, dwarves on giant pigs or bizarre looking mountain goats, and elves on elk with the most unrealistic antlers). And despite being outnumbered 20 to 1 orcs drop lie flies. Even a tiny little hobbit can knock some down to death with a single rock. Cause that makes sense. I think so many or portrayed as killed in this battle every good guy on the side against the orcs must have been killed, but Jackson had to pretend that was not the case for a happy ending.

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And wow, the individual fight scenes, can we just pretend they never happened? I mean, watching these people avoid death again and again in these unbelievable turn of events makes your head hurt. We see probably our two favorite dwarves killed by the evil orc (which had to happen cause we all know the love story starting to develop between Tauriel and Gilli would never have worked, right? So killing one of them in battle allowed us all not to suffer through that any longer). And we have two simultaneous battles that literally go on for over 30 minutes: Legolas against He-Man orc and Thorin against his arch-nemesis Azog. I’m sorry, I like my battles short and sweet, with no extended death speech. This was the exact opposite, and taken to a whole new level of absurdity.

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We finally reach the end: Thorin is dead, the kick ass eagles defeated the orcs, and Bilbo gets to go home. And by making this third movie it was kind of like: what the hell was the point of all this? I think it is time for Peter Jackson to throw in the towel with these epics. I know we can’t go back in time and fix this (at least not until I find The Doctor) but why did he have to draw this all out in to such incredible and painful circumstances in three horrible movies?! Ok, I don’t think the first one was horrible, but they each got steadily worse. I truly feel like if they had condensed them, dropped out a little, and made it one 3-hour movie it would have been so much more enjoyable. Hopefully Peter Jackson will go reflect on this travesty and consider taking a long hiatus from fantasy films.

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Posted on December 30, 2014, in Evil Movie Reviews, Movies, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Lilith, I couldn’t agree more. I enjoyed the first movie quite a bit, thought the second one was bad and this one was unwatchable. They somehow took the last 60+ pages of the book and made it into a 2 and half hour movie and one of those hours was a battle scene. Not to mention the significant lack of Bilbo in the movie (my guess his on screen time totals 12 minutes?). Bilbo is the main character of the book but Thorin does play a major role in it. However, Bilbo’s absence in the book works because it’s only for a few chapters (If I recall correctly) but it seems glaring in such a lengthy movie.

    Loved this book, but Jackson ruined what could have been a great single movie.

    Like

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