VIDEO: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

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It’s become a bit of tradition by now for Sofie to post early reviews of the Hobbit movies, so let’s look at the last one and finish this thing.

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  • Jonathan Campbell

    Literally just back from seeing this film (in IMAX, which somehow didn’t look quite as good as that trailer).
    I thought it was…okay.

    I actually thought it was the WEAKEST of the three Hobbit movies, and I think that if you cut out all the “unnecessary” parts of the first two, you’d actually harm this one, because a lot of the fluff from those films plays into what happens here and some of the stuff in this film wouldn’t make sense (eg. if you cut Tauriel or her relationship with Kili, you’d have to cut her out of this film too).

    I actually think it felt like there was a lot of stuff that was STILL cut out though, like what happened to Alfrid, or Saruman saying “I’ll take care of Sauron. Characters like Radagast are just…”there”, as well. And Billy Connolly was fun, but he wasn’t really in it much either.

    I thought the performances were good but the film was a bit too CGI heavy (though, all the films were, and I’ve seen worse). And I never really felt like there was that much danger either- probably because it doesn’t really work as a stand-alone film; it very much is a climatic battle, and if you haven’t seen the other films in a while, it kind of feels tacked on.

    I think it should have been two films too but…I don’t think this should have been on its own. It would be tricky to do, but I’d rather have them somehow make this the climax of the second movie; the second film should really have been everything from Laketown onwards, and characters like Tauriel, Azog and Balg and maybe even the whole Sauron subplot (which is resolved in 10 minutes) should have been cut, or at least been reduced. I get that they are in there for things like giving the Dwarves more character development and adding diversity, but when its all said and done, taking this as a trilogy, they weren’t necessary, or at least they should have been done differently.

    I agree that this is the most coherent and least wasteful of all three films, but it only works as well as that because its building on the fluff of the other two movies and when you factor that into account, there is a lot that can be cut from this one two.

    Not a bad movie, and I enjoyed it overall, but of the three- or even the six- its the one that least stands on its own two feet.

    Also, Frodo > Bilbo, Or, well, Frodo and Bilbo went on different adventures, so its not fair to compare them that way. Frodo might have managed to complete Bilbo’s quest, but Bilbo would have failed to complete Frodo’s.

    Anyway, happy birthday. Hope it was a good day.

    • Sofie Liv

      Frodo did fail his quest, Sam had to carrie him the last little bit and it was Gollum whom dropped the ring into the lava not Frodo. He had the chance but didn’t do it because at that point he had already failed.

      And it doesn’t change the fact that through out the entire triology i’ve seen far more brain activity going on with Bilbo than Frodo.
      Frodo was very much just a backseat adventurer, just going in what ever direction he was pointed towards doing what he was told to do.

      Bilbo how ever has always been thinking on his feet’s, from keeping the Trolls up with talk until the sun came out, till beating Gollumn in a riddle game, to sneak up and steel the needed keys from the wood elf and create an escape route for the dwarfs… by himself. No one told him how to do any of these things, he did it by himself and he figured out how to do it, by himself.

      And in this movie, he managed to stay compleately neutral in this conflict, even though he considered the dwarfs his close friends he owed so much to. He didn’t give into their stupidity and recognised it for what it was, never justyfing it and said. “No… You are acting like an idiot!”
      Not only that, he had the courage to stand up to Thorin, and tell him out straight what was wrong.
      Which was not something Bilbo concluded because he was being told… He concluded it because he had brain enough to figure it out himself and a ability to be objective to the situation, recognising it for what it is.

      I do miss the practical effects and practical make ups from the original LotR triology, that has been my main complaint most of the time and one of the first thing I spoke to my friends about.

      I do still think it’s the most cohesent movie though as the other two movies seemed to mostly be consisted of several sequences, which didn’t have much to do with each other but could be each their own little tely episode or what ever.
      This how ever, felt like A MOVIE, with a cohesent plot, where leaving stuff out would hurt the movie… Except the Tauriel stuff, yeah she wasn’t really needed persay, but eh, just one female actually doing shit, i’ll take it.

      • Jonathan Campbell

        “Frodo did fail his quest, Sam had to carrie him the last little bit and it was Gollum whom dropped the ring into the lava not Frodo. He had the chance but didn’t do it because at that point he had already failed.”

        Yes, but Bilbo would have failed FASTER. Bilbo probably wouldn’t have even made it to Rivendell if he knew that he was expected to give up the Ring at one time. And / or he would have been killed.

        “And it doesn’t change the fact that through out the entire triology i’ve seen far more brain activity going on with Bilbo than Frodo. ”

        Now that’s just mean.

        “Frodo was very much just a backseat adventurer, just going in what ever direction he was pointed towards doing what he was told to do.

        Bilbo how ever has always been thinking on his feet’s, from keeping the Trolls up with talk until the sun came out, till beating Gollumn in a riddle game, to sneak up and steel the needed keys from the wood elf and create an escape route for the dwarfs… by himself. No one told him how to do any of these things, he did it by himself and he figured out how to do it, by himself.”

        It was Frodo who decided to go off on his own after he saw that the Fellowship was falling apart (granted, with some prodding from Galadriel, but still); it was Frodo who had to tell off the other Hobbits for cooking while they were being hunted; it was Frodo who solved the riddle to open the door to Moria; it was Frodo who realized that Gollum has followed him and Sam and lay a trap for him….

        Frodo had a very specific quest that he had to do by himself; Bilbo had a different quest that he could only do with his teammates. On principle Bilbo is the “backseat adventurer” because he was there on someone else’s adventure (Thorin and the Dwarves) and most of his brainpower went into getting himself and them out of the sticky situations they kept finding themselves in. The Dwarves could feasibly have completed their quest without Bilbo, even if he turned out to be very helpful. Both Bilbo AND Frodo went in “whatever direction he was pointed towards” because both were on a quest in a big wide world they had never set foot into before.

        As for “doing what he was told to do”, Frodo did not- he spent most of the movies actually being the leader (even if it was only of the Hobbits, including Gollum), even if he was clearly the type of leader who was in over his head, knew it, and was smart enough to listen to advice, not least because the stakes for Frodo were much, much higher AND the Fellowship > Company of Dwarves anyday. Frodo didn’t have companions who kept getting themselves captured; that’s why he didn’t have to keep saving them. There, I said it.

        Bilbo survived because nobody paid attention to him- that’s one of the reasons Gandalf brought him along in the first place; the entirety of the Forces of Darkness were dedicated to hunting Frodo and kidnapping or killing him, so if it LOOKED like he was sticking to the plan more than Bilbo did, or trusting his (better) compatriots more, that’s only because it was the smart thing to do.

        “And in this movie, he managed to stay compleately neutral in this conflict, even though he considered the dwarfs his close friends he owed so much to. He didn’t give into their stupidity and recognised it for what it was, never justyfing it and said. “No… You are acting like an idiot!”
        Not only that, he had the courage to stand up to Thorin, and tell him out straight what was wrong.
        Which was not something Bilbo concluded because he was being told… He concluded it because he had brain enough to figure it out himself and a ability to be objective to the situation, recognising it for what it is.”

        Yes, I’m sorry Frodo wasn’t “neutral” in the battle between Middle-Earth and the forces of evil that wanted to conquer and kill everyone in it; how un-diplomatic of him (yes, I’m being sarcastic).

        Also Bilbo standing up to Thorin isn’t really “neutral”; that’s siding with the Men and the Elves because the Dwarves are in the wrong.

        Frodo stood up to Boromir when he went crazy, to Sam when he was mistreating Gollum, to Faramir when he attempted to kill Gollum, to Gollum when the little bugger tried to kill them…the movies did cut out the bit when he told all Nine Ringwraiths to go f*ck themselves, but he still did his bit. Beyond that, Frodo was simply never in a Thorin-like situation where the only problem was his friend going bonkers (but not yet trying to kill him for the Ring). Oh, and for that matter, Frodo carried the Ring all the way to Mordor, and got stabbed in the shoulder (instant BADASS points- yes, getting stabbed, even if it was only because of someone else’s stupidity, makes you a badass; Bilbo only got knocked out).

        Frodo might be a meeker and more easygoing fellow than his uncle, but the boy has steel in his heart.

        “I do still think it’s the most cohesent movie though as the other two movies seemed to mostly be consisted of several sequences, which didn’t have much to do with each other but could be each their own little tely episode or what ever.
        This how ever, felt like A MOVIE, with a cohesent plot, where leaving stuff out would hurt the movie… Except the Tauriel stuff, yeah she wasn’t really needed persay, but eh, just one female actually doing shit, i’ll take it.”

        Yes but, my point was, the only reason it was so cohesive is because of all the stuff the other two films had in it, and how they built up to this. This movie took all the episodic stuff from the first two and put it together, so if you cut that out from those two movies, you’ll harm this one.

        Partly its the nature of the quest they were on- since the point of the story is “how do we get to the Misty Mountain”, they have to fill that out with random events. LotR did it differently because while for Frodo it was “how to we get to Mount Doom”, in LotR you have the tension that comes with the fact that Sauron is a much bigger and more relevant threat than Azog and you could switch from what Frodo was doing to how everyone else was fighting Saruman and Sauron (plus, Frodo had Gollum to deal with).

        Basically, its just the type of story they were telling, along with the fact that the book simply has less in it; that’s why those two films felt the way they did. And The Battle of the Five Armies felt more cohesive because the plot was much, much more straightforward and everyone was in one location for most of the movie.

  • Jonathan Campbell

    Actually, you know what they should REALLY should have done? Ended The Desolation of Smaug with THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG.

    Have Smaug fly in and burn everything then Bard kill him just like the first ten minutes of Battle of the Five Armies, which wastes that moment by having it in the intro. End with something that teases the coming Battle or maybe something with Gandalf and there you go.

    Better ending to the second film, more natural beginning to the third.