I finally convinced my wife to see one of “my movies” at the movie theaters!
My wife usually picks every movie we go out to see so it was exciting to finally see something that I wanted to see more than she did.
We saw The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, finally concluding Peter Jackson’s movies in Middle Earth and tying to the two trilogies together.
The movie contained a lot of the scenes I was waiting to see. Thorin’s last speech, Bard slaying Smaug with the black arrow, the arrival of the eagles once again. Awesome stuff!
The movie starts off with Smaug coming to burn Laketown. Everyone evacuates. Bard makes a last stand on the bell tower and shoots Smaug with the black arrow.
Smaug’s death is satisfying, but it feels like too big of a scene for the start of the movie. It would probably feel much better if the three movies were watched in sequence instead of just starting off with Part 3.
The next section of the movie concerns Thorin slipping into a greed-fueled madness called “dragon sickness” by the other characters.
The madness plays very similar to the corrupting power of the Ring in the Lord of the Rings movies. Thorin hears echoey voices, the camera rotates to oblique angles, and the soft whisper of Sauron can be heard just below the surface. It adds a supernatural element to Thorin’s madness and makes it more believable when he eventually shakes off the greed and returns to his former self.
The rest of the movie is almost exclusively what it says in the title, The Battle of the Five Armies. Tons of action scenes and no character development beyond some characters feeling sorry for the death of other characters.
But the action scenes! Woo! High notes include:
Bard riding a wagon down a flight of stairs into an ogre and stabbing the ogre with a spear.
Thorin and one of his dwarf buddies see a horde of goblins coming towards them and they say, “We can hold them off. There’s only about a hundred of them.”
Legolas fighting one of the orcs on a stone tower that has fallen over to construct a bridge between two cliffs. Every missed blow by the orc causes a chunk of the tower to collapse!
Thorin and Azog the White Orc’s final showdown on a frozen river.
The elf king riding on a elk mount that picks six orcs up by its antlers at once and tosses them all aside after the elf king decapitates them with one stroke.
The hilarity of the ogres in general. They’re used as battering rams by having them wear stone hats and then running into walls. They climb over shorter walls and the walls collapse under the ogres’ weight. I started to feel sorry for all the poor little ogres by the end.
Elrond, Saruman, and Galadriel take on the nine ring wraiths and win.
Dain, Thorin’s cousin, riding a pig and talking in an exaggerated accent while he headbutts orcs.
And so much more!
One of the more heartwarming parts is when Bilbo returns to the Shire. He hangs on to the Ring and within a few shots we see him slowly age until it’s his 111th birthday party and Gandalf is coming to see him once more.
Of course there are some things that the movie left out. Probably not necessary given how much time was devoted to action scenes, but it happened (or didn’t happen depending on your outlook).
The missing scene that I noted was how the eagles affected the battle. They showed up and that was about it. We still got to see Legolas and Thorin fighting the orc generals, but the actual soldiers were never seen again.
I also remember more of the 13 dwarves dying in the battle, but its been a long time since I’ve read the book. Perhaps my memory is just faulty.
Great action movie! Still felt true to the books as I remembered them. Almost a complete lack of character development and social drama though.
Thorin’s madness is supernatural and thus hard to sympathize with.
Bard slowly turns into a king, rejecting it at first, but accepting it later. Unfortunately this is a neglected side plot (accurately reflects its importance in the book though).
Bilbo’s desire for home is the only other social plot that had any realism in it. The other conflicts were predictable and bland.
But the epic fighting was why I went to the movie and it deliver on that count all the way!