Movie Review: The Hobbit, Battle of the Five Armies

Wow, was my last post really September? End of the year got crazy busy.

During the last two weeks Michelle and I got some time away from our kid (let’s hear it for grandparents with a good relationship with the grandkid) and so we did something we rarely get to do anymore and caught a movie. We chose The Hobbit, Battle of the Five Armies. What did I think about it?

The more I think about it, the more annoyed I get. That’s not to say that there aren’t things that are good about the movie but so much of Bot5A is extraneous crap. The bits with Tauriel, meh, I could take it or leave it (although I do talk about why, in a way, they are ok below), but the scenes between Bard and Alfred every ten minutes? Complete crap. And for what? We know Alfred’s a sycophantic, lazy asshole from the beginning, the worst kind of “YEAH!” guy, so what the hell is the point of all of these scenes? I mean, it’s not like he had some great turn of heart or noble sacrifice that would give him some kind of redemption.

Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that: there’s no *real* resolution to that whole plot arc. Are we really supposed to believe that Alfred steals some gold, manages to navigate a battlefield over-run with a variety of people who would like to kill him dead for a variety of reasons and successfully survives to live happily ever after? We saw the Master of Laketown get his comeuppance, I can’t imagine that they’d let good ol’ Alfred miss paying his karmic debt. So did they film it and then cut it without us ever getting to enjoy the fruits of him being a dirtbag? If so, I would’ve gladly taken one less “Oh, Thorin’s losing his mind” or “My, Legolas and his father don’t get along” scene to at least round out that particularly dull plot line. And if they didn’t film such an ending, again I ask, what’s the point? Those scenes added absolutely NOTHING to the over-arcing plot of the series or movie.

Then there’s things that are in the movie that just don’t make sense to me. Giant, war-trained bats? What? I mean, seriously, WHAT? What were they supposed to do, perpetuate the stereotype that bats are horrible, rabies-infested hell-mice with wings? Or giant Cthonians (seriously, those were Lovecraftian Cthonians) that they used to burrow a tunnel through the mountain range but, oh, I don’t know, NOT TO BURROW INTO THE GODS DAMNED MOUNTAIN OR UNDERMINE THE CITY WHERE THE HUMANS ARE HOLED UP?!

And what’s with the white-orc fighting with a bit of masonry with a chain sticking out of it at the end? He’s had a variety of other weapons throughout the movies, he’s the general of not one but TWO armies, and they couldn’t find an actual weapon for him?

White Orc: BRING ME MY DWARF-SLAYING AXE DWARF-SLAYER!
Goblin: Uh…it appears we left Dwarf-Slayer at Guldoldoon.
White Orc: Well then bring me the spear Elf-spitter!
Goblin: That too was left in Guldoldoon.
White Orc: Man-cleaver?
Goblin: Guldoldoon.
White Orc: Hobbit-poker?
Goblin: …
White Orc: Don’t tell me. Guldoldoon.
Goblin: *nods*
White Orc: The hell am I paying you for?
Goblin: You’re not.
White Orc: Fair point. Alright, what do you have?
Goblin: Spot of concrete with a chain innit.
White Orc: And what good is that going to do me?
Goblin: You can swing it around in huge, highly inaccurate arcs without hitting anything but turf.
White Orc: …
Goblin: You’ll look stupendously intimidating!
White Orc: …That will have to do. BRING ME SOD-CRUSHER!
Goblin: YES, SIR!

There were a few things that were good about it. The battle scenes were well done, which is good because the movie is primarily battle scenes. While I could’ve cared less about the Tauriel/Filli love-arc, watching him and his brother die on screen (when, if I remember correctly, they die off camera in the book) added a bit of gravitas to something I felt Tolkein kind of brushed over. Thorin’s death (it’s not a spoiler, the book’s been out longer than I’ve been alive) was equally heavy and I thought they did his reconciliation with Bilbo very, very well. And, as always it’s fun to see Billy Connolly.

All in all, unlike the LotR series, I’m happy this is over. LotR had a lot more heart and just…joy to it. There’s a bitter-sweetness knowing that such a group of friends as the Fellowship will never see each other again, knowing that Samwise has to let go of his Bilbo so that they can both finally really be free. There was no such bitter-sweetness here, only relief that the end had come.

If you really want to go see it in the theater feel free but…meh.

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