Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

Yes, I know this is horrifyingly late. You are welcome.

I think this is a mediocre movie on its own, but it is a travesty as a Tolkien adaptation. The film is so hectic.  I think the film cut back and forth too much between its too many plot lines (Bard and his group plus their mini-plot lines, Dale, Gandalf and company, Legolas spying, the dwarves, the orcs, and etc.). The Laketown tragedy felt shortened, less severe, and the film did not show the trip to the mountain. That whole saga felt rushed. The battle itself felt unrealistically short (I know a movie cannot give justice to the length of battles with such weapons, but I know the directors could have done better than this . . . by cutting out some of the additional fluff such as the earth eaters and Legolas's spying trip and by leaving such things as the desolation of Smaug to the movie of that name).  In addition, this movie like the two before it, fell far, far short of the quality of The Lord of the Rings films even as they in turn fell far short of doing justice to Tolkien's work.

The first film had so little in it and the last so much (including as others have noted the actual desolation of Smaug). I understand that the filmmakers wanted to tie in the Hobbit with the rest of Tolkien's story. I think that one film would have made the story seem rushed, but cut out the orcs until they belonged and shorten the Necromancer section, and we would have enough to make two grand films.

The film also contained waaay too much melodrama. Actually, it was a melodrama. I think many of my family thought that the crowning absurdity was Legolas' falling rock hopping. But I thought also that the the earth eaters and the white orc under water (and the white orc period) beyond too much.  I thought the Necromancer scenes quite over the top as well.

Then there are some of the "smaller" issues. That Alfrid character received far too much screen time and his role was quite silly. Tauriel did not exist in the novels, and so I felt that she ought to have died along with Kili. Instead she had this weird interlude with Thranduil. I wonder if we are supposed to think this whole Tauriel drama is the reason why Legolas is so eager at the end of the Return of the King to go West; he was not one of the High Elves after all, he could not feel with the same intensity as they did the desire to West.

Legolas may not have been literally in the book, but he was alive in the Tolkien universe and so likely would have fought. Unless of course Thranduil grounded him and left him in Mirkwood smoulder-sulking, which is totally plausible.

Thraduil is so awesome.

But while we are on the topic of elves, why must the film makers put the elves in a negative light constantly? There is this absurd ignoring of roles and raising the lower people. If anything, the greed of all dwarves, should have been shown more. But since the elves are beautiful, they must also be selfish or somehow lesser. In Lord of the Rings the films omit to show THAT LOTH LORIEN WAS BESEIGED. Do you really think that somehow the elves are untouched? Of course Loth Lorien would be besieged; it was in a rather central location, and the elves there had harbored the Fellowship. Instead the elves come to help the Rohirrim (as if they would choose them over Gondor, the kings of which descended from the elves). In the same way, Theoden expects the king of the nation that bears the brunt of the problem and who is LIEGE LORD to the Rohirrim is somehow responsible to help fight his battles. Yeah, no, you live on land granted you by Gondor, you pay service to Gondor. 
I disliked the confrontation between Legolas, Tauriel, and Thranduil; it was ugly, tasteless, ill-bred (and therefore, un-elvish).



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