By December 23, 2014 Read More →

MovieView: The Hobbit Battle of the Five Armies

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Peter Jackson sure likes closure. It has already been established that he will rewrite or add to a story to give himself and his audience closure. He certainly did that with his trilogy’s pièce de résistance, “The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies”.
He wrapped up every story line with a brightly colored bow, ending BotFA where the Lord of the Rings begins. That is perfectly fine if you have never cracked open a Tolkien book, but for hardcore fans: We do not like our cannon messed with.

He gave endings to the star-crossed lovers (Tauriel & Kili), Legolas and Bilbo, who returned to his hobbit-hole to write his memoir. You name it: everything had closure. I think he had to make this a trilogy because of all the extra storylines & tangents he wanted to explore. (Yes, the money fans dished out was probably a goal, too.) His renditions of events kept your brain busy in the slower scenes, simply because you had to keep up with who loves who, who snubbed who, who killed who, and WHICH ORC IS THIS BECAUSE THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME?!

Hopefully, you have trained your brain by now that he likes to take creative liberties with Tolkien’s works, and if so, you can appreciate this ending. If you haven’t, feel free to make some popcorn and stay home watching the original on DVD (“The Hobbit”, 1977). There will not be any shame in whichever you decide. I did refresh my memory of the original right after we saw Jackson’s version, for comparisons. Though the ending was different (no, I won’t ruin the surprise), Thorin’s death scene was beautifully done. It was almost word-for-word from the 1977 cartoon.

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Jackson has a knack for good casting, however. Richard Armitage turned out to be the best Thorin Oakenshield fans could hope for. The only thing I’d seen him in prior to the Hobbit series was “North and South” (1994). He makes a better heir to a dwarf throne than he did a rich cotton monger in London. I hope to see him in more sci-fi and fantasy in the future. Martin Freeman as Bilbo was magical, especially the scenes in the second movie “The Desolation of Smaug”, in which quips are fired off between him and the dragon Smaug. (Smaug is voiced by his Sherlock partner, Benedict Cumberbatch.) Freeman is very good at comedy, so when he showed us his serious side in “Fargo”, fans were dumbfounded. As it turns out, Freeman is a polyhedral die. He was able to bring to life the clumsy, coward-turned-hero we loved in the books, and turn him into a truly loveable character, rather than the hermitty hobbit you keep hoping will make it home, and who you kinda feel sorry for.

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All in all, I’d say it’s worth a watch. You will enjoy it best if you’ve never read the books, but if you have, see it anyway. Take it all with a grain of salt. Jackson has always advertised that this is “based on the novel”, not that it is the novel on screen. So head to Brenden, order a large popcorn, and enjoy the culmination of a most-beloved trilogy.
(Living in Modesto most of my life, I could not help thinking of 5-points when the five armies met to destroy each other at The Lonely Mountain. Can you imagine orcs and eagles battling it out on the grass at Ralston Tower? The thought gave me a chuckle.)

My rating:

4 out of 5, if I pretend I never read the books.

2 out of 5 if I don’t.

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Always up for trying something new. Obsessed with coffee. Loves to sleep. Bring on the rain, and a bottle of Wonky & Wry's Honey Braggot Ale.