Thoughts on The Hobbit: The battle of the Five Armies
Well I can honestly say that the film was excellent – indeed it was worth the money I spent, and I may go see it again sometime this month. This pseudo-review will be an opinion piece (just so you are all aware) so enjoy reading everyone! Also before we continue: spoiler warning – if you do not want to read spoilers, stop now.
Right where do we begin, well the dragon – Smaug – gets a rather un-ceremonial death as he is killed off prior to the announcement of the film’s title. Afterwards, the film focuses on Thorin and his decent into madness, before his redemption by fire and blood (in battle). The armies featured are exactly as described in Tolkien’s works (more or less), though I will admit my heart goes with the Dwarves. Something about these down-to-earth (no pun intended) soldiers clad in thick steel plates and fighting in a phalanx formation really appeals to someone such as I, rather than the posh and highly ornate Elven warriors who seem to be skilled with the bow and the sword, but lack the hard-nose formation skills of the Dwarven Legions (a reference to the Roman Legions). The human forces – sadly – are just a band of hastily trained militia; given weapons held in stores and covered in cobwebs, taught how to swing, then deployed onto the field. Though their valour was commendable, and their courage unrelenting, it felt as though humanity was incapable of forming a standing army and fighting in a disciplined fashion. Then again, they had a brief period of time to train, so there can be no room for this argument.
Peter Jackson did a wonderful job with the camera as the gritty realism and splendour all melded together nicely. The frozen mountain waters gave off the chill; as though you were standing there amidst the fog and cold winter breeze, while the ruins of Dale, and the damaged walls of Erebor reminded us of past glories – soon to be reclaimed. The actors did an excellent job on-screen as well; though with the Dwarven characters, their beards got in the way of some of their facial expressions – this is expected of course, so no complaints there.
The part where Lauriel felt sorrow, and asked her King to take this sensation of love away from her really stood out. Indeed true love is feeling pain when someone dies, and it is very difficult to bear initially – Lauriel felt that, and the actress who portrays her does a wonderful job.
Now the rescue of Gandalf was “lacking,” if I may be allowed the phrase, largely because I was expecting more than just Elrond of Rivendell, Saruman, and Lady Galadriel. Yet their power was awe-inspiring, and it did the job – though I still wish there was more “meat” per se, than just the three council members.
Finally there was the coward advisor to the Master of Laketown – his actor did one hell of a job as the audience just hated the freak right up to the very end when he dresses as a woman, and stuffs the dress with coins (conveniently near where the breasts would normally be positioned). That bit was humorous, and it adds the needed laughter to an otherwise rather depressing sequence of death and chaos.
The film does a good job in explaining just how Legolas and Aragorn became friends, as it was his father who suggested he go north to the people where Aragorn was, and spend some time with them. Whether Legolas felt ashamed to return to his privileged position, or he simply wanted to find purpose in his life, it was nice to see his father finally open up to his son and to tell him that his mother loved him before the two men parted ways on good terms. The ending however sort of disappointed me; I wanted to see Thorin’s funeral, and also the funeral for Lauriel’s beloved. Instead, we saw Bilbo walk off with his sack and return to the shire – it felt rushed, and it certainly did not help that it was supposed to be the: “Super fantastic ending to the three-film saga.”
Why did Bilbo not remain with the group and see Thorin off like the friend that he claims to be, why did he have to go so soon? Sure this may be in the books, but good lord does it ever feel lackluster – almost as if Peter Jackson just said: “Right, we’re done here – everyone this is it, we got it finished.” No mister Jackson, no you have not – there was a final scene in Return of the King where Aragorn was crowned, and as such I expected to see Thorin buried and celebrated – then Bilbo can have his cameo: “walk off stage” moment; hat waving, pipe ablaze, and so on.
Yet I still cannot hate the film enough to not recommend it; it is the ending we need (not want, but need). The film concludes the trilogy, and ends yet another amazing chapter in Jackson’s books as he moves on to explore other projects. Though I wish Jackson would explore the other story arcs by Tolkien, I doubt he will for the immediate future (the time between the Lord of the Rings films and the Hobbit films was about five to seven years, approximately). Still, I want to go see it again, so I might – I want to watch the film and have the moments etched into my memory so that it may last a lifetime (and you people can read all about it until your heart stops (humor intended)). Anyways folks, this concludes my thoughts on the Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – stay safe out there, and I shall see you all next time.