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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

I think after viewing the conclusion to The Hobbit Trilogy, I can conclusively say Peter Jackson should never have been the one to direct it. The producers chose...poorly

As I said before, I'm a pretty huge Lotr fan and I've read the books before the movies came out. Like waaaay before the movies came out. Both the Hobbit and the LoTR books. With that being said, although the Lotr movies deviated quite a fair bit from the books, it was still better paced and directed than this trilogy.

From the start, so many things feel off about the film, from the dragon taking ages to destroy one little hamlet. Seriously, just breath fire on everything. Then it's talkativeness when dealing with Bard, instead of just frying him, and the utterly stupid way Bard shoots the dragon. I think the first 20 mins are very indicative of the entire film in general, being contrived and long-winded. 

The real problem is that the film requires a huge suspension of disbelief that really doesn't quite fit with the Lotr franchise. I'm not talking with regards to magic, elves, dragons but rather to the action that's found in the Hobbit Trilogy. Just like the barrel scene in Desolation of Smaug, The Battle of Five Armies is filled with implausible action scenes that leave the viewer going wtf. I mean, it looks cool on screen but it's also utterly retarded. Like Bard's shooting of the dragon, Legolas doing a matrix-like jump from stone to stone as he struggles to get to the edge of a crumbling stone bridge, Bard (again) fucking riding a fucking cart down a slope and then catapulting himself AND the fucking cart into a troll and killing it. Seriously, WTF?!? I mean, if you look at the original Lotr films, the action scenes were a lot more toned down and other than Legolas, most of the action was mostly humanely possible. This new Hobbit trilogy however pretty much takes reality and physics and then breaks it into little pieces. 

Then there's the sheer long-windedness of the film. If we cut away all the shitty slow-pause melodramatic shots and the stupid subplots (which I'll get into later), I think we could have cut the film down from 2hrs 25 mins to 1hr 35 mins. Which would have been a good length for the film. Instead, we get slow motion shots of every single moment that Peter Jackson thinks is important enough to warrant such a shot. Even when they make no fucking sense. Like at the battle of five armies, when the dwarves are being slaughtered outside the keep and Thorin is told Dain is surrounded. One would imagine that time is of the essence there but no, Peter Jackson has to drag the scene out, show Thorin walking to another totally different part of the keep from where he was told Dain is surrounded, have Thorin go through some melodramatic epiphany that takes ages and involves a lot of mushroom induced hallucinations, have Thorin strip off most his armor and THEN walk to the front where his companions are. How is Dain not dead by then? 

Then there are the stupid subplots, by which I mean Tauriel and Alfred. Alfred's the annoying assistant to the Master of Laketown, who somehow survives his master's death and then goes on to annoy everyone else throughout the rest of the film. Why is he even in the film? He contributes NOTHING to the story and yet, he has a fair amount of screen time. More than a lot of the dwarves. He doesn't even have a satisfying conclusion in the film. 

And then there's the Tauriel love triangle subplot, which makes no sense and basically I've griped about Tauriel before in my previous post on Desolation of Smaug. But at least in DoS, she was supposed to be a bad ass warrior and captain of the guard. In BoFA however, she turns into a useless damsel in distress who can only think with her feelz and not any sense of logic. Not only does she seem to be 'no, you all must save Kili no matter what', she pulls an arrow on her king and then when she finally meets Kili, she gets smacked around by an orc several times and has to have BOTH Kili and Legolas come in and save her. I'm not sure what they were thinking by adding her but considered she probably added like 45 minutes of pointless screentime to an already bloated film, I'm not thankful for her addition at all. 

Some of the action also just doesn't make sense. There's an instance in the film where Thorin is fighting Azog and Azog turns his back to Thorin to stare at the Great Eagles of Manwe who basically fly in to bitchslap his army around. At that point in the film, Thorin could just have easily have stabbed Azog and KILLED him. Instead, Thorin waits for Azog to turn around and then he throws Azogs mace back at Azog, causing him to slip and fall into the ice. Why?!?! Why not just stab the guy in the head and be done with it?!?  This allows Azog to later come back and stab Thorin in the chest (and seriously Thorin, wtf did you feel the need to take off your plate armor in the scenes before). So really, Thorin died because he was stupid. Also, for a dwarf who had no issues with just chopping and killing off every orc he saw before, he felt the need to get creative with Azog. 

On the other hand, we did have Galadriel in the film, which was cool. Mostly because she's the original Power Female in Tolkeins universe. But then, when she was surrounded by Ringwraiths, I didn't quite understand why she was scared. Considering who she was, she probably had more than enough power to bitchslap all of them at once. Which she kind of proved later on in the scene. One minor nitpick I have with that scene though is the fact that they reused the lighting effect from the original Lotr, where Frodo offered her the ring. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite work in the same context and I'm not sure Peter Jackson understands that. In Lotr, she was meant to seem menacing because as she said, if she took Frodos ring, she would become a great and dark mistress. In this, where she's clearly just banishing evil, there is no reason for her to be shown in a dark and menacing light. In case Jackson forgot, elves are pretty much good in Tolkeins universe. Misguided at times, but definitely on the side of the light. 

Overall, this is a much weaker film trilogy than the original Lotr ones. And while I wouldn't mind seeing more Tolkien films being made; like parts of the Silmarillion for one, I don't want Peter Jackson to come ANYWHERE near the film.