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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies - Movie Review

Let me start by prefacing this with the fact that the end is my least favorite part of The Hobbit book. The slow degradation of the Thorin character, that I was barely able to like anyway, into a greedy tyrant was always uncomfortable for me.

Also, I don't like battles or war. [Oddly enough I find the series I'm writing demanding a war. Does all fighting have to end in war?] A battle where people are destitute yet fighting over gold and no one is being reasonable is even more uncomfortable for me.

The only highlight for the section of the book from the killing of Smaug to Bilbo's return journey for me was the Arkenstone scene where Bilbo generously and at great risk to himself gives it to the men and elves. That was one of my favorite parts.

Well, the bad news from my perspective is that in the movie my favorite scene was understated, but it worked. The good news is that the rest of the movie was a surprising success. There were a few moments where believability is grossly stretched, for those who have seen it: the mountain goats that appear from nowhere and the incredible travel speed of two particular elves, but I was very pleased with the rest of the movie.

Jackson and team provided good pay off all around. He had reasonable plot adaptations to fit the big screen and the previous adaptations he had made. Even my hubby, an exceptional hard to please movie critic liked it a lot, at the end of a three movie marathon, he and two of my kids went to, no less. [I stayed home knowing my body would not submit to that kind of grueling punishment to do the same thing for nine hours almost straight.] All three of them loved it. The two kids went back to see it last night when my last kid and I went to see it. Hubby would have come too, but he was sleep deprived. The battle scenes were done incredibly well. This was perhaps the best choreographed battle I've ever watched. [Remember that I said I don't like battles and war, so take that for what it's worth. But my son who does like them was impressed, also.]

My favorite scenes were the one with the acorn and the last scene with Thranduil in it. [A character I've always wanted to like, but have not seen done to my preferences yet. Though this last scene did much to redeem my opinion of the Jackson version]

I did want more of Beorn and the Eagles, but there is always hope for the Extended Edition next year for that. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and look forward to seeing it again.

Merry Christmas everyone, and Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy Holidays. I hope everyone enjoys the season.
  1. Do all fighting story lines have to end in war?
  2. Have you seen The Hobbit : the Battle of the Five Armies? What did you think?


Anonymous said...

Hey KC, stumbled on your blog from mythicscribes :o)

Do all fighting story lines need to end in war? I'm not sure, but I think if the story has been positioned as an 'action' or fighting movie then there is an expectation for a violent ending, its like the winding of a spring that needs release and it does create dramatic stakes - being physically hurt or killed is an extreme consequence for characters. I'm struggling to think of an action story that ends without some sort violence. Also I think a lot of people want to see violence, I confess I fall into this camp.

However if the story is in a drama genre it doesn't need to have a violent ending, even if there is a threat of violence earlier. Fantasy stories do seem to have a preponderance of battles though.

Anonymous said...

I watched the film the other week. I appreciated those heartfelt scenes you mentioned with the acorn and the arkenstone. Also when Bard confronts the greedy laketown man running off with the gold who taunts him 'what are you left with' and Bard looks to his kids. He's poor, he's battling for his life but he loves his family.

The battle scenes were spectacular but felt a bit hollow compared to LOTR. I understood Thorin's position and Bard's in wanting the treasure, but I struggled to appreciate the elves' desire to war and lose their lives over some jewels, it was a late addition to the story and it weakened the conflict in my mind. I read the book years ago and I think part of the problem is that its an old story and a short story before LOTR was written and lacks some of the depth that LOTR and modern fantasy fiction has.

Anonymous said...

One thing I loved about the film was how Bilbo alone of all Thorin's friends stood up to him about what was right. I thought that was a powerful statement about love and friendship, that if someone we love is doing something wrong we should help them to face it. It is an ultimate act of love and not betrayal, as Thorin realises at the end.

KC Trae Becker said...

Welcome, Bronze Oracle!
Mythic Scribes is an incredible site. I like your spring analogy for fighting and war. It helps shed some light on the topic for me.
I agree, the elves' reason for fighting in the battle seems undeveloped both in the book and in the movie. Reading the book gives me the sense that they are providing back up for the humans in their time of need. In the movie Thranduil is presented as obsessed with the white gems, which in the book is only the cause of the longstanding enmity between dwarves and elves.
I, too, especially like the bravery of Bilbo in standing up to Thorin and am sad the other dwarves' lack of criticism of Thorin's actions. I attribute it to the influence of so much dragon tainted gold nearby on dwarven hearts.
Thanks for the great discussion!