Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies (2014) Review

Probably the most depressing way you can tell The Hobbit...

As the film opens(without a flashback for once!), Smaug is defeated, conspicuously not with the cannon mentioned in the last flick. Thorin and Company reclaim Erebor, but the former has begun suffering from dragon sickness and is mad with greed, refusing to honor his agreement to give the now-desperate peoples of Laketown a share of the treasure. Unfortunately for him, the elves have also arrived to claim a share. And the orcs. And the wargs. And more dwarves. And eagles(to fight the orcs).

Obviously, it is the most padded of the Hobbit films. It seems like, as the trilogy went by, it became increasingly less concerned with its own story and more with just battling and making stuff up to fill the rest.
And to make matters worse, there's hardly any resolution to anything. As soon as I left the theater, I began asking questions. Like The Desolation Of Smaug, vital parts of the book(in this case, the explanation for what happened to everybody) have been cut out despite the looong running time.

But on the good side, there's much to love about The Battle Of The Five Armies. Thorin is given a very interesting character arc about greed vs loyalty(which is actually the main theme of the film, I believe), Galadriel is terrifyingly awesome in her scene with Sauron, Martin Freeman is a standout as always, Alfrid is surprisingly funny(though he felt like a bit of a leftover - I kept waiting for the Master to show up again) and the direction is as exceptional as ever.

The absolute highlight though, were the more abstract sequences like Thorin's gold floor scene and as mentioned above, Sauron's exile. Those were truly innovative moments in the series.

So looking back on the trilogy, I must admit I would've liked it much better had the second movie been the padded one and focused on Mirkwood, which was horribly cut short in that film. In the book, that's when Bilbo really comes into his own, it's got tons of atmosphere and claustrophobia and would've possibly been the most innovative and interesting of the prequels. But nah.

The love story was so cheesy. Even the idea is silly and kind of spoils the uniqueness of the Legolas/Gimli friendship.
Say what you will about George Lucas love scenes, but I'd take those before "Why does it hurt so much?", "You make me feel alive!" and the ten-second stabbing of Kili. Plus, at least Lucas provided character development.

The eponymous battle could've been much more textured had it been blended with more scenes from within Erebor. The dwarves could've finally gotten personalities(I'm talking about that scene in the book where Bilbo and Bombur grumble about the current situation) and it would've given the audience a chance to breath from the nonstop fighting.

Gundabad was overkill. How many rocky kingdoms can there be in one movie? Besides, it looked like a boring anthill.

Speaking of which, I saw the film in 3D, 48fps and it looked so small throughout. The characters were like liliputs running on small rocks. I don't remember that happening last time.

Why does Legolas leave to go find Aragorn? It doesn't really tie into LOTR at all.

Why did they never reprise the dwarves theme from the first film? They reuse all the old stuff from LOTR, but this so memorable tune is conspicuously absent.

To conclude, I thought the movie was clunky as hell, but still very enjoyable. It's one of those films that scream "what if?"
Seriously though, wereworms?? Did Jackson get his hands on some spice that day?

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