Sunday, 22 March 2015

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Lowdown: Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy ends with a big battle putting leaders to the test.
So we’ve laboured through the first two Hobbit movies from Peter Jackson’s arsenal, An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug, and now – having found ourselves held for ransom by a dragon of a cliff hanger at the end of episode two – we finally get to the conclusion of this movie trilogy that’s based on a single children’s book. In other words, enter The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
It might therefore strike you as particularly awful to find that the dragon, and thus the ending of the book this movie is based on, is dispensed with rather quickly in the beginning. From that point onwards Jackson takes us through realms previously uncharted. You see, the hobbit Bilbo (Martin Freeman) part of this The Hobbit movie is but minor, a token supporting role at best; the real hero is Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), king of the newly resurrected, ultra rich dwarf kingdom.
This king of ours is under stress. On one hand, he is obviously corrupted by the power of the treasure mountain now under his control. On the other, he is constantly harassed by parties claiming their share of the treasure: the humans who paid the price for the dwarves’ awakening the dragon, as well as the elves coming to stake their claim with an entire army to make their claim with. On the other hand, the baddies’ end, they are coming over with their huge army to take over the minimally populated dwarf realm and its treasure. The result? A battle of five armies, duh.
Yes, this has nothing to do with the original book. More importantly, this is a badly told and unoriginal story featuring too many not so well developed characters. Think hard: when was the last time you watched a Peter Jackson movie where the heroes are facing the exact same challenge, threatened by the exact same baddies, to the point of losing all hope? Dead easy answer: last time you watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Specifically, The Two Towers.
My recommendation to you is therefore simple. Unless you’re truly fascinated by scenes of natural New Zealand beauty, for which I cannot blame you, avoid this butchering of The Hobbit story. Go and watch the real thing, the original thing, The Lord of the Rings, once again. Now, that was a good trilogy!
As for those of us who did suffer through The Hobbit trilogy, we can only lament how the prospect of another trilogy’s milking cow twisted the creative minds behind one of the best series of movies ever to create such an abomination.
Worst scene: As the baddie armies converge on the battlefield, one of their secret weapons is exposed – Dune like giant earth worms burst out of the ground roaring. And then we cut into something else, never to see the Dune like giant earth worms again. WTF?
Worst dialog: Two dwarf characters going through a crisis look one another in the eye as they try to resolve their issues using deeply meaningful dialog. You expect the next line to carry weight; you expect something like "I have a dream" or "to be or not to be". Instead of immortal words, though, we receive the completely meaningless: “We are sons of Durin”. Not that the audience knows who this Durin dude is, other than him being the father of his sons.
Worst solution: Those of us who criticised the whole Lord of the Rings, pointing out the entire affair could have been solved by single eagle’s sortie, will be ashamed to find The Hobbit trilogy proves they were damn right all along.
Worst mystery: How come everybody knows everybody’s name in this movie? As in, the baddies know who the goodies are to great detail (as in, not just the kings). Even more interestingly, the goodies know the names of the head honcho baddies even though their arrival to the battlefield was a complete surprise and those baddie forces were mysteriously spawned in a galaxy far far away. Clearly, both sides are tapping in to their adversaries mobile phone calls, NSA style.
I do not like what Peter Jackson did to The Hobbit book in his latest trilogy. That could be forgiven if the result was a good trilogy and a good movie, but it’s not.
2 out of 5 extremely disappointed crabs for Five Armies, and the same goes for The Hobbit trilogy as a whole. Completely and utterly redundant.
Who knows, maybe in a century or two somebody would actually make a good movie out of Tolkien’s excellent book.  [Note the use of singular rather than plural form.]

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