The movie on virtually every Tolkien fan’s mind these days is The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. I’ve avoided reviews from anyone else in an attempt to keep my own opinions clear, so I actually don’t know what the fandom as a whole thinks of the film. I know the general public generally doesn’t like it, but what else is new? (I still haven’t recovered from the offensive lack of acting nominations for RotK at the Oscars…)
Taking the movie as a whole, I don’t have a lot to say. I liked it better than Desolation of Smaug but not as much as An Unexpected Journey. Its strongest moments were, in my opinion, (most of) the fight scenes. Martin Freeman was excellent as Bilbo, as always. If I had to summarize, it’s a fun, two-and-a-half-hour fan fiction about the last 40 pages or so of The Hobbit. My strongest opinions are about certain portions of the film.
Of course, if you want to avoid spoilers, stop reading now.
First things first: I’m not in the least bit bothered that the film showed what happened at Dol Guldur. I think it was a solid way to tie The Hobbit films with LotR (by making Sauron’s role clear) and it provided a visible reason for Gandalf to “abandon” the company. But the devil is in the details.
I could go on forever about every little detail, but then I would never finish this long-overdue post. So I’ll force myself to summarize.
- The Elven rings were never meant to be used as weapons–they can’t be used as weapons. While they weren’t explicit in the scene, I definitely got the impression that their power came primarily from their rings.
- Why wasn’t Celeborn there?
- Not even going to touch Gandalf/Galadriel with a 10-foot pole.
- Most importantly, can someone please explain to me what happened to Galadriel? She turned into evil!Galadriel from FotR. So when she banishes Sauron, she’s evil? Or when she uses her power she’s evil? And why the crap did she have dreadlocks?!?!!
Thranduil was more fabulous than ever. His war-moose was amusingly ridiculous, and yet Lee Pace managed to not look utterly laughable while riding it. And that eye roll Thranduil gave Bard when Gandalf was trying to convince him not to attach Thorin? Perfection. Can’t wait to see the gif.
“Coward? Not many men would wear a corset!” That’s all I have to say. Take from it what you will.
Luke Evans did a great job. I like how they handled his character. I would have liked to see a little more grimness in him, as he’s described in the book, but that would have made it difficult for movie-goers to relate to him. I actually really like that they gave him children, too, although it surprised me.
Benedict Cumberbatch did a wonderful job, of course. It was an interesting choice to have Smaug’s death at the beginning of the third movie instead of the second movie’s finale. I actually would have liked that as a finale much more than the ridiculous Rube Goldberg machine-esque, gold-surfing sequence in the second film. I’d be very interested to hear Peter Jackson’s reasoning for carrying Smaug over into BoFA.
As I mentioned above, some of the best scenes in the film were the battles. The final showdown between Thorin and Azog was well-done and exciting. The look on Thorin’s right before Azog fell in the icy water might have been the best moment in the film. I can just hear him say, “What are you going to do now?”
Now I’m going to make a prediction. As I said, I haven’t read any other reviews yet, so I don’t know if other people have posited the same theory or not. It seems fairly obvious to me, so I doubt I’m the first to mention it.
The last scene with Thranduil and Legoas was a little odd–especially considering that Aragorn would have been only ten years old at the time. (Which begs the question why Thranduil would have told Legolas to look for Aragorn, since Aragorn lived in Rivendell until he was twenty.)
My thoughts? They’re prepared the audience for a series of films on Aragorn’s life before LotR. It’s actually perfect–they have the rights to the content (since it’s all covered in the appendices) and there’s tons of scope to do whatever they want. Of course, we would quite literally be in fan fiction territory for nearly everything, but it could be interesting.
The most burning question I have is this–where did Thorin get those battle rams that he and the other dwarfs rode??
Photo Credit: Screen Relish