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Old 12-09-2014, 06:59 PM   #1
Aganzir
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Sting The Battle of the 5+ Armies

Legate and I are both writing a review so here's a placeholder. Spoilers ahead.

I counted at least eight different factions - Thorin & company, Dáin and his dwarves, Mirkwood elves, Laketown men, Dol Guldur orcs led by Azog, Gundabad orcs led by Bolg, the eagles, and Beorn (who got about 5 seconds of screentime).
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Old 12-09-2014, 08:05 PM   #2
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Old 12-09-2014, 08:31 PM   #3
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Sting

So. I think Hobbit III: The Battle of the Five Armies was a slightly better adaptation than the first two (mostly because it doesn't introduce as many new crackpot ideas which have no place there). As a film, it wasn't much better though, and I don't think I would've enjoyed it if I hadn't read the book.

I should mention it's 4.30 am and I have work tomorrow, so I haven't proofread this monster of a post. Expect stream of consciousness and bad grammar.

It starts with Smaug wreaking havoc in Laketown. This actually looks quite cool, especially from a distance - they did well with the visuals there. The Master was his lovely slimy self, sailing away with all the gold (even if Bard tried to hang him with an improvised noose) until the dragon got him. Us Song of Ice and Fire fans enjoyed the reference to "waking the dragon".

Bard then proceeded to climb a tower (where a bell was tolling with nobody ringing it) and shot - and missed three arrows and broke his bow, but fortunately his son Bain Dragonbane was at hand with the Black Arrow. This obviously angered the dragon who landed and started doing a monologue ("Who are you to think you can defeat me etc") and crawling gradually closer, which was a very smart thing to do. Bard though, the clever fellow, tied his bowstring to beams and rested the Black Arrow on his son's shoulder. I am amazed a) Bain's face wasn't torn in half by the feathers; b) he maintained his balance and wasn't thrown off by the string when Bard released the arrow straight into the dragon's hollow spot (which he found without the thrush, thank you very much).

And whooosh: the very moment the dragon crash lands in the lake, the ravens start returning to the mountain! Thank Durin!

I think Smaug's death was alright but what I don't understand is, why not do it in the second film rather than giving 10 minutes for it in this on?

We move to Dol Guldur where Gandalf is in a cage. Just when an orc is about to kill him, they zoom on bare female feet which I think we've seen a few times before. Galadriel picks Gandalf up and carries him some way until the Nine assault her, but lo! she is not alone! Elrond and Saruman join the fight and Galadriel brings our sleeping beauty Gandalf back to life with a kiss (a chaste one, on the forehead), and then Radagast rides in with the Rhogobel rabbits ("NO RABBITS NO!" said Nogrod, who was sitting next to me) and takes Gandalf to safety. The Nine reappear, accompanied by a fiery creature that looks very much like the outline of Sauron's armour and says that the time of the elves is over and the time of the orcs has come. Luckily we have Ring-a-dong-Galadriello! She banishes the Necromancer with very Tom Bombadilesque lines, and Saruman concludes that everything is well in the realm again. And here I thought the Three didn't reveal themselves to Sauron!

What I liked about this film was that the dialogue was more canonical than in the first two films. The book quotes were music to my ears. Not just because they were familiar but because they were vastly better than PJ's lines ("Is it peace you will have? Or war?"; "These bats were bred for one purpose - war" etc; for some reason the worst lines were in the trailer!) - we all know he's not at his best portraying anything that happens inside the brain, thinking included.

The dawn after the destruction of Laketown was also done beautifully, I think - the loss was visually there. I found the way Bard assumed command (or rather, was given it) a little awkward but then, you can't have all. Alfrid, the old Master's Mini-Gríma, obviously changed sides to bow to a new lord (and slept through an elf army marching in on his first watch). I liked Bard's talk with Thorin at the gates of Erebor.

Meanwhile (after a sad parting from Kili) Legolas and Tauriel ride double to Mount Gundabad (why?) to observe a gathering of orcs and the afore mentioned bats bred for one purpose. We learn that Legolas's mother died there and Thranduil never got over it! Exciting! We also learn that the orcs have employed "the great earth eaters" which I jokingly said must be were-worms and lo and behold if that isn't exactly what they were!

We hear that Sauron wants the Mountain for its strategic position. Can somebody better educated in the arts of war tell me what good is the Lonely Mountain to any strategy?

There's also this very weird thing going on between Thorin and Bilbo. We know Thorin makes love to everyone with his eyes so Bilbo isn't special (even if our friend said "There's more staring in this film than in the Bold and the Beautiful!"), but Bilbo, what's this? Here are some quotes:
Quote:
Thorin... I...
Quote:
To me, Thorin was... He was... Never mind.
Quote:
(in answer to "Who is this Thorin Oakenshield?" - He was.......... a friend.
Yes Bilbo, if I were in your shoes I'd also be confused about what Thorin meant to me, but what's this queer baiting?

I liked the scene where Bilbo takes the Arkenstone to Bard, Thranduil and Gandalf. The dialogue was fairly canonical, and there were some lovely facial expressions there. Similarly when Thorin hears of Bilbo's betrayal, that was nicely done. Also "Faithless woodland sprite!" is a funny line.

We're now about an hour and a half into the film, and Dáin arrives riding on a pig and the battle commences. He's portrayed as crazy ("crazier than Thorin") but I admit I quite liked the little we saw him (although I'm not sure "These bastards need a good hammering!" is something I expected to hear).

Then the orcs (Azog's forces, that is) arrive unannounced (having their way conveniently eaten for them by the wereworms). The dwarves, bless them, are the first to attack them, and I felt a little surge in my heart watching them get into battle formation. There is something very exhilarating about seeing this army of stout little killer tanks. Dwarves ♥
The elves join the battle - by jumping over the dwarves' backs!

Here it gets a little muddy. The orcs have something akin to siege towers and catapults and they're incredibly well trained and armed, much better than even the Uruk-hai! What I'm wondering though is, why didn't they have any of those mûmak sized trolls in the War of the Ring? Those giant kamikaze trolls that use their head as a battering ram even if it means their death, that is. Again, Bard is a doting father whose main aim is to save his children, to the extent that he rides a cart down very steep steps (causing an exasperated Nogrod to blurt out "Where do all these video game scenes come from!?")

I should mention that all this while, Thorin has been plagued by the dragon sickness and he has been quite mean and distrustful. This is shown in his voice starting to echo like Smaug's. Then good old Dwalin walks up to him and says a few well chosen words about his state of mind. Thorin walks on a golden floor and ponders all this until he realises what a fool he has been (complete with a very trippy scene where he imagines the floor melting and swallowing him up), and when the Company are about to lose their hope, he comes out of a bright light as a Messiah like figure and says they won't let others fight their battle for them.

This is when Bolg's army arrives unless I'm mistaken, and the dwarves charge them in a nice spearhead with Thorin & Company in the van. Dáin and Thorin meet briefly on the battlefield and that's nice. Then Thorin figures the way to end it is to kill Azog, who's positioned on Ravenhill. God knows where he, Dwalin, Fili and Kili find goats, but they do ride goats up the hill. Alas it's a trap, but Thorin doesn't realise it until he's sent Fili and Kili to scout a tower! Bolg(?) holds Fili up for Thorin to see and then stabs him and drops him down straight in front of Kili. Poor Kili. He gets very angry and goes on a killing spree. Now I don't know if this is Bolg or somebody else he's fighting, but Tauriel comes to his aid and then gets in trouble herself. Now Kili comes for her and they take turns in getting battered until the orc who may or may not be Bolg kills Kili. Now this is what I'm very upset about. Kili dies defending Tauriel shield and body. This is not okay (although not hard to guess).

Legolas then takes Bolg down in a prolonged fighting scene where he hitches a ride with a bat, uses pretty much all his weapons, and defies gravity by jumping up falling rocks as if they were stairs.

Back to Ravenhill. Bilbo has used the ring to get there, invisible, and is in fact knocked out by a rock. Meanwhile Thorin fights Azog on thin ice and eventually manages to push him into the icy water (mainly because he was distracted by the eagles who came without Mothrandir or the typical music and who brought Radagast, and Beorn who jumped down and transformed mid-flight only to be shown for two seconds). Here we get what's probably the dumbest scene in the entire film - the pale orc floating under the ice, pretending to die and then pinning Thorin's foot through the ice with his utensil which is now a knife instead of fork and (again defying gravity) jumping up through the ice to kill Thorin, who in turn pierces Azog with his sword. We get a very intimate scene with the two enemies lying on each other and staring at each other longingly (this was your last chance to say "I love you" but you didn't, too bad) until Azog dies and Thorin gets up and walks to the end of the precipice to look at the sun and the eagles before collapsing.
I was hoping against hope they'd retain a shred of canon and let Dáin kill Azog, but in vain.

Bilbo gets up and their last talk is beautiful and similar to the book.

The rest of the dwarves grieve over Thorin's body and Gandalf sits down with Bilbo and is unintentionally comical by consistently failing to light his pipe.

Okay I lied when I said the Floating Orc Under the Ice was the most ridiculous thing. It was this. After the battle Legolas says he can't go back (whatever that means). Thranduil tells him to go north and find the Dúnedain, find a young one they call Strider, whose father was Arathorn, and to find out his true name. Considering Aragorn is 10 years old at the time the Hobbit took place, I find it very curious indeed Thranduil would tell Legolas to seek him out. What's also curious is, he was given the name Strider by the people of Bree. I can but imagine what 10-year-old Aragorn must have done to earn that name, but I'm now sure the first thing he did after being crowned was appointing a Minister of Silly Walks.

Bilbo's departure was rushed and we see nothing about Thorin's burial (or the Arkenstone) or about Dáin becoming King under the Mountain. I expect it will all be in the extended edition because there really is a feeling of something being left out. Weird, considering the film was only two and a half hours. It was sad to see the Company gathered together at the end - my eyes went automatically searching for the hot dwarves before I realised they were dead. They were the main reason I went to see the film in the first place.

Bilbo's return to the Shire and the auction at Bag End was, however, included - even to the extent of him taking his silver spoons back from Lobelia! That was nice.

And then the film cuts straight into the Fellowship of the Ring.

All in all this film didn't disappoint me, mostly because I expected it to be worse and I'd already dealt with the major trauma of the crappiest fanfiction crap in the first two movies. It could've been a good film if PJ hadn't insisted on adding so much of his own stuff, but even as it is, I think it's definitely better than the Desolation and somewhat better than AUJ.

Not looking forward to the 21-hour marathons though, especially as all the more epic stuff happens during the first half.
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Old 12-09-2014, 08:33 PM   #4
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Shield A Legati-mate Walkthrough

So, where to start? I should probably start by confirming that my expectations for the film were very, very low. You could probably find my reviews of the earlier films somewhere around here, for comparison.

With this one, having seen the trailer before, I expected something very terrible. Generally speaking, it was what I had seen in the trailer, plus a few more things in the same tone. However, during and after the film, I found myself pretty indifferent to all the bad things PJ does and keeps doing all over and over again. If you know what PJ's films are like, you can just shrug off most of the bad things in The Battle of the Five Armies, because I haven't spotted anything unexpected (or even expected) which would be significantly worse than anything we'd seen before.

So with all that, I can quickly skim past: badly handled plot, zero dialogue (reduced to few one-liners, much like in the previous films), ridiculous wannabe-action scenes, and characters also reduced to more or less those one-liners they deliver. These are all PJ's classic fails and they were, of course, present. All the time.

What was surprising? That out of the things listed above, the ridiculous action scenes were actually far better than in the previous films (in the sense that they were less overused and less violent and less self-serving. Maybe that's one of the reasons why this film was so drastically shorter than the others).

Now for more general summary of the plot. I should probably just say first that overall, my image of this film has been quite positive. As in, positive in the context of PJ's creation. And skipping the things mentioned above, which of course form about 80% of the film. So with that said, feel free to read on.

The start and the Dragon. The film started really fast, and I think that was good. I had assumed they have to get rid of the dragon fairly early, but they did it soon and without too much unnecessary buzz, even though of course the obligatory "ha ha ha, you are dead, fool, you cannot kill me" and a bit pathetic family drama had to be present. What was nice was actually the inclusion of Bard's children into the plot, even though of course it's the cheapest thing in Hollywood to put in a cute little kid and a bit of family drama. Despite that I think this was done well.
So, unexpected surprise: Unnecessary filling 90% less than in usual Peter Jackson. Inclusion of minor characters actually doing something.

Then we follow with the somewhat chaotic heap of happenings aka the main plot pre-Battle, which essentially doesn't stop until the end of the film. "We must find the Arkenstone and Thorin is being weird." "The Orcs are coming and nobody knows about it." "The Men are coming." "Tauriel and Legolas are going somewhere for unknown reasons." "The Orcs are coming and somebody knows about it." "We still haven't found the Arkenstone, but Bilbo remembers he actually has it and reminds the audience why. Thorin is still weird." "Gandalf is still in Dol Guldur." "The Orcs are coming and for example Legolas knows about it, but he's in Angmar. Why?" "The Elves are coming." "The Dwarves are still looking for the Arkenstone and Thorin is probably evil." This goes mostly for the 80% of bad dialogue, bad plot etc. that I mentioned above.

The Arkenstone subplot (and, in fact, the whole "Thorin's greed" arc) was actually one of the worst things in the whole film, because it did not make any sense at all. Quite bad given that it was the main plot of the film.
Let's see: At first, Thorin wants the Arkenstone and Bilbo keeps it hidden because he's afraid it would make things only worse. Thorin's state keeps getting worse even without it, while Bilbo gets a confirmation that giving the Arkenstone to Thorin would really make things even worse. So what he does is to give the Arkenstone to Bard with the intent that he would give it back to Thorin. The funniest part is, that that is the last moment we see the Arkenstone. Why? I can understand, for example, at least adding final scene with Thorin's tomb and Arkenstone on it would prove confusing given how the Arkenstone was presented in the film, but still - the first half of the film is about the Arkenstone and then it just disappears? Especially since in the first film, we already had the flashback to Thrór/Thráin, which made it clear that the Arkenstone is important, and made it seem like that it's something akin to the Rings of Power in its both positive and negative influence.
It seems to me as if the creators couldn't decide whether the cause of the "Dragon-sickness" is actually the whole heap of gold or the Arkenstone (aka "small Ring"). It makes for a very illogical development of the whole issue of Thorin's downfall.

Then The Battle itself. There isn't so much to say. Seen that before, mostly in Helm's Deep (Elves, namely Wood-Elves, shouldn't fight like an army of robots, but we did see that coming, didn't we). But the battle scenes, despite some being silly and the battle being rather illogical, were decent. I would highlight the realistic "command post"-signaling of the Orcs. And I would highlight Fili's death, that was so horrible and sad (from the point of view of Bilbo and the rest of the Dwarves, especially his brother), that actually made me remain silent for a few minutes.
I would of course diss the nonsensical things. The reinforcements straight from Frank Herbert's Dune. Azog's impractical homemade flail. Building and breaking stone-bridges, ice-bridges, stone-barricades and other barricades.
One more honorable mention: Super Mario... I mean Legolas. I actually started to like his stunts. For pure amusement value, it's so absurd that you have to enjoy it. Before the film, we actually made predictions and I said: "Do you seriously think Legolas will trump his stunts from LotR? What can he possibly do better than surfing on a shield and climbing oliphaunts? Will he start climbing bats?" Bingo.

The closing had some of the best scenes in the whole film. Basically after the battle ended, except for the scenes with the Elves, everything was nice. Gandalf and Bilbo sharing a smoke, for example, I much prefer it to LotR's Hobbits jumping on beds. What also pleasantly surprised me was no "fake endings" akin to RotK, that's probably why this film was so short.

Things I should mention, but which don't really belong to any cathegory? Definitely Thorin's psychedelic vision of a golden trampoline, I seriously don't know what to think of it.
I am sure somebody else will mention this, but a big surprise was no more Bombur jokes in the whole film. So peculiar.

So what was unforgivable?
Mirroring Tauriel's tale to that of Arwen. Maybe I am too slow, I got it only in the last scene that it was probably meant to be all about that. One loved a mortal Man, another a mortal Dwarf, both shared this tragedy, oh how sad. Nothing against tragedy of the Elves, but loving a Dwarf... I don't feel I need to mention anything more about the whole "romantic subplot". I am sure others will do it for me. Sufficient to say, in the second film, I had hoped it was a semi-nonserious platonic nonsense. Apparently, not at all.
P.S. I am curious how many of the audience originally assumed Tauriel to have died in the battle. I did until I saw her alive and well all of a sudden.

And one more thing I had almost forgotten - what in the name of Arien happened to the well-known physical weakness of trolls, turning into stone in sunlight?

Things I liked which were faithful to the books? There were several (of course not too many), but I will point out those I liked the most:

Dáin's speech to the Elves was in spirit straight from the book, even though it had to be said aloud literally, in the book the narrator provides the ingenuity of Dwarven diplomacy. But I approved of handling that small bit that way.

The auction. 150% approval. Merely including it was really lovely, and including it on such a scale (a whole, quite long scene in terms of all) was even better, and incorporating Bilbo's rememberance of Thorin into it (an original input by the filmmakers) was really a good thing to do. (Incorporating Lobelia's spoons was a bit of the easy-to-do fan service, but appreciated nonetheless.)

And I will mention the White Council's appearance in Dol Guldur, despite... its visual... and other... sillyness, it's one of my favourite events in the Middle-Earth history, and I have deep personal liking of it and my own ideas of what might have happened there, which no visualisation can match, but I was nonetheless happy to see the White Councillors "in their full power". Despite the fact that I deeply dislike green Galadriel with computer-altered voice, but her epic appearance (as well as that of the other members) was not overshadowed even by the shadows in psychedelic shroud of the Eye.

Edit: This has been my 6,666th post. I wonder if that's supposed to stand for something.
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Old 12-09-2014, 09:10 PM   #5
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We move to Dol Guldur where Gandalf is in a cage. Just when an orc is about to kill him, they zoom on bare female feet which I think we've seen a few times before. Galadriel picks Gandalf up and carries him some way until the Nine assault her, but lo! she is not alone! Elrond and Saruman join the fight and Galadriel brings our sleeping beauty Gandalf back to life with a kiss (a chaste one, on the forehead), and then Radagast rides in with the Rhogobel rabbits ("NO RABBITS NO!" said Nogrod, who was sitting next to me) and takes Gandalf to safety. The Nine reappear, accompanied by a fiery creature that looks very much like the outline of Sauron's armour and says that the time of the elves is over and the time of the orcs has come. Luckily we have Ring-a-dong-Galadriello! She banishes the Necromancer with very Tom Bombadilesque lines, and Saruman concludes that everything is well in the realm again. And here I thought the Three didn't reveal themselves to Sauron!
This alone made me wish your review, Legate, was actually a wicked piece of satire. I do thank you for subjecting yourself to that, and sparing me from A. Having to watch it, and B. Having to contribute to Mr. Jackson's own dragon-pile of gold for the "experience".

All this, and two other films, to cover a book that in my paperback clocks in at a paltry 365 pages, and still manages to be a great story that has stood the test of time for well over half a century.
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Old 12-09-2014, 09:17 PM   #6
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What if instead of the White Council beating up the Necromancer, it was Tom Bombadil himself? That would be a great way to break the character and annoy the hell out of every fan. I can see PJ sitting on his golden throne, laughing at us.
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Old 12-09-2014, 09:23 PM   #7
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So Tauriel doesn't die? Will she be in a super extended edition of LotR?
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Old 12-09-2014, 09:27 PM   #8
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So Tauriel doesn't die? Will she be in a super extended edition of LotR?
Indeed she doesn't! The last we see of him is when she cries by Kili's corpse and says to Thranduil: "If this is love, I don't want it. Please, take it away from me!" He, having earlier questioned their love, tells her it hurts so badly because it was true love. No idea what happens to her afterwards, which I'm not very happy about because she had potential to be something else than a mere love interest.
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Old 12-09-2014, 10:35 PM   #9
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Yes Bilbo, if I were in your shoes I'd also be confused about what Thorin meant to me, but what's this queer baiting?
Martin Freeman is just a little bit confused:



Or, even better:



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Indeed she doesn't!
What! No way!
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:19 PM   #10
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Martin Freeman is just a little bit confused:
Ugh, that "I'm not gay," line in Sherlock Series 3 was ghastly. Subtlety is not those writers' forte in my opinion.

As usual here in Australia we have to wait until Boxing Day for Hobbit 3 so that the cinema companies can wring as much profit as possible out of the public.

I think it's baffling that so few commentators on these films have observed how severely the message of the film's own story completely contradicts and even attacks its form and manner of distribution. It should be in the same space as something like the film adaptation of The Day of the Locust - a Hollywood film attacking Hollywood and Hollywood culture for being shallow and frenzied. Here we have a story about the evils of greed presented in an extremely greedy fashion. Surely the sequences that have been mentioned in this film will bring that into sharper relief.
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Old 12-10-2014, 05:03 AM   #11
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On the up side:
- No Bombur falling over or Bombur eating
- Next to no funny violence; this was what upset me most about the first two films so I was very relieved to see so little of it
- Cute dwarf moments; we see more of Dwalin than in the previous ones and he is super epic, and Balin is lovely as always (and him kneeling by Thorin's body with a hand over his face was possibly the saddest thing in the whole film)
- Bard is nice and epic, although they overdid the whole "defending his family" thing a bit
- The scene where Bilbo delivers the Arkenstone to Thranduil and Bard was good overall, and Bard's facial expressions are hilarious.
- Bilbo in general. Martin Freeman does a really good job.
- White Council bonding. The Dol Guldur scene was rather weird, but Elrond supporting a collapsed Galadriel was super cute.
- Fili's death was really quite brutal, and Thorin's face when he watches it - oh dear.
- Thorin's death scene was also quite beautiful and sad, even if they had cut my favourite line in half.
- The very end, predictable but worked well.

On the down side -
- Broken spines. I was happy with the lack of funny violence, but I did get annoyed by people being thrown back first into stone walls or down stairs or down a cliff and just jumping to their feet unharmed. Tauriel alone would have died, like, seven times?
- Speaking of Tauriel, the whole Kili-Tauriel thing really got out of hand in this one, accounting for the most awkward scene I've seen in the cinema for a very long time.
- The women in general; there's one cool Laketown woman (although she never got the badass moment they were clearly building up), and Galadriel has a cool moment, but f. ex. the only role for Bard's daughters is to look scared and scream. Which would be fine for the smaller girl, but the older one is nearly an adult and still does nothing but whimpers while her little brother takes care of everything.
- The absurd animals that appear and disappear without explanation. Like the convenient rams Thorin & co ride that appear out of nowhere and then disappear just as mysteriously when they're no longer needed, or the Mongolian Death Worms that conveniently dig tunnels for Azog & co, or Dain's pig that looks exactly like a pig in an earlier Laketown scene (maybe he stole it), or the bats that are "bred for only one purpose... to be Legolas's ski lift".
- The Thorin-Bilbo-thing that went beyond bromance into something else.
- The script in general. There was no real sense of an intact plot that starts from one point and leads to another. Rather it was an assortment of scenes and epic moments and corny dialogue and absurd plot twists.
- Thorin's greed. It's not presented as Thorin being a good guy who happens to be also greedy - that would be too ambivalent for PJ I suppose - but rather OMG DRAGON SICKNESS!!!! so Thorin can still be a flawless hero who just spent a while in psychosis. Yawn.
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Old 12-10-2014, 05:09 AM   #12
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So Tauriel doesn't die? Will she be in a super extended edition of LotR?
Indeed she doesn't! The last we see of him is when she cries by Kili's corpse and says to Thranduil: "If this is love, I don't want it. Please, take it away from me!" He, having earlier questioned their love, tells her it hurts so badly because it was true love. No idea what happens to her afterwards, which I'm not very happy about because she had potential to be something else than a mere love interest.
She will be in a sequel: The Return of the Shadow.

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I think it's baffling that so few commentators on these films have observed how severely the message of the film's own story completely contradicts and even attacks its form and manner of distribution. It should be in the same space as something like the film adaptation of The Day of the Locust - a Hollywood film attacking Hollywood and Hollywood culture for being shallow and frenzied. Here we have a story about the evils of greed presented in an extremely greedy fashion. Surely the sequences that have been mentioned in this film will bring that into sharper relief.
I agree with that. I had already concluded a bit earlier that "if more filmmakers valued cheer and song above hoarded gold, the world would be a merrier place."
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:28 AM   #13
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Hang on a minute, PJ basically shoved that really important theme of greed off to the side?

What?

I can understand shoving off important scenes like Dain becoming king. That can be justified (barely). But greed was one of the most important themes of the whole story. Adding in random rubbish is bad enough, but making greed, a major theme, less important than Tauriel and Kili's disgusting romance is unforgivable.
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:49 AM   #14
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After having read a few other reviews that were quite favourable, I really needed the Downs' point-of-view to clear my palate before going to see the movie this evening! Thanks to the Finns for their wonderfully acerbic and humorous summaries! Where else can you find a thread that mentions Mariah Carey, Monty Python's MoSW, and - OK, I guess "Dune" and "Sherlock" are so obvious that others will probably mention them as well.

I love the Downs and the Downers!
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:12 AM   #15
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How did I like it?

As a film? Utter crap.

As a Tolkien adaptation? Zero (and a half, to be fair).

As entertainment? Thanks to Volo, Greenie, Agan, Nogrod, Legate and a non-downer friend (yes, we still have those) it was a spectacle of facepalms, laughter (often at inappropriate moments), very loud WTFs and some very snarky remarks. I loved every minute of it.

Honestly, I don't think we should judge these movies as Tolkien adaptations any more. The bad thing is that they suck as movies. Everything is so epic that it doesn't feel like anything, plus the plot and the dialogue make less sense than your average B class film. It's horrifying.

I will never understand why they didn't end movie 1 with the death of Azog and movie 2 with the death of Smaug but instead everything had to happen in the last film. That about summarizes how good screenplays all the three were.

Okay, now off to read what others wrote before me and add a couple of more detailed comments...
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:22 AM   #16
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I think Smaug's death was alright but what I don't understand is, why not do it in the second film rather than giving 10 minutes for it in this on?
Leaving the rest of the plot untouched, how much better would the second movie (and the third) have been if instead of the ridiculous dragon chasing scenes the second movie had just done the sequence as Tolkien wrote it and then they would have had time to include Smaug's death in the second film, providing a much more satisfying ending to the second movie and removing the need for an essentially wasted sequence at the beginning of the third.

Leaving aside everything else, the examples of bad film-making technique...it just revolts me that such shoddy work should be fabulously rewarded the way it is.

I guess if there is any sort of silver lining in all this (trying to be positive and all), the magic of Tolkien's name is so strong that one can literally just fling poop up on the screen and attach Tolkien's name and it will sell well.

Not that this is a desirable outcome.

edit

Quote:
I will never understand why they didn't end movie 1 with the death of Azog and movie 2 with the death of Smaug but instead everything had to happen in the last film. That about summarizes how good screenplays all the three were.
Basically, what Thinlómien says.

Last edited by Kuruharan; 12-10-2014 at 10:25 AM. Reason: added a bit
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Old 12-10-2014, 11:02 AM   #17
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Lommi, the entertainment value sounds like the annual tradition of watching the Eurovision Song Contest to bash most of the entries! I really wish I had someone like you guys to watch with - I'll be alone amongst strangers tonight...
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Old 12-10-2014, 11:18 AM   #18
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Seriously Legate and Greenie I laughed aloud at your reviews. Now here's my list of pluses and minuses:

+ the canon scenes: the Arkenstone/ bargaining business (including Bilbo's night visit), Thorin's death, the auction
+ the very ending: nice transition to the LotR movies, done more innovatively/subtly than I thought they would
+ sometimes the movie had some kind of psychotic charm to it and was very entertaining
+ some panoramas (dying Smaug falling, Laketown refugees the morning after, even some of the battle scenes) were very beautiful, basically like Alan Lee (or John Howe) paintings
+ sorry but I actually liked the Thorin/Bilbo romance, I dare argue it veered from the territory of queerbaiting to actual representation
+ Bilbo/ Martin Freeman in general
+ Balin made every scene he was in about 200% better
+ sad hot dad Bard and his epic moments
+ the little we saw of Dáin was much less of a joke than I dared hope
+ despite the ridiculous under ice floating and other length issues, I sort of liked Thorin vs Azog
+ Dáin calling Thranduil a sprite
+ cute Galadriel and Elrond!

- the cheap drug trip visuals (Sauron the Pyromancer, green Galadriel, Thorin's trip into the yellow abyss)
- the music (really boring apart from a couple of nice runs of the Laketown theme, I suspect they killed Howard Shore's inspiration)
- the generally stupid Grimafrid ruining what could've been a cool feminist moment, Bard's squeamish daughters vs his brave son
- the silly-looking monsters (including the massive wereworms who had about 30 seconds of screentime)
- the sheer volumes of the battles - did you know that there are about 200,000 golden-armoured Elf warriors lurking in Mirkwood? neither did I
- speaking of which, the scale of everything makes LotR seem like a joke
- both Smaug's death and the White Council stuff seemed really removed from everything else
- seriously they should have cut Beorn if they only wanted to give him 2min of screentime in DOS and 2s in BOTFA
- Tauriel and Kili (even though the actors did their best!)
- Thranduil (a really despicable guy, and not really even in the spirit of the books)
- Legolas's stunts - imo Legolas was much more fun in the previous movie
- Legolas's quest to find Aragorn (what the actual ???), oh and btw apparently his mother died in on a campaign against Gundabad???
- Thorin's dragooon sickneeessss ("GOLD!" - he was like the baddie in Disney's Pocahontas)
- Fili and Kili's deaths - seriously, how did they manage to botch the emotional impact of them so bad?? they didn't feel like anything to me

I'm pretty sure I forgot something but I'll tell you when I remember.

PS.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Esty
Lommi, the entertainment value sounds like the annual tradition of watching the Eurovision Song Contest to bash most of the entries! I really wish I had someone like you guys to watch with - I'll be alone amongst strangers tonight...
It was a very similar experience to be honest! I think the best part was Volo laughing uncontrollably when Kili died, but fortunately it sounded a lot like crying so he maybe didn't ruin any fangirl's evening. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the movie nonetheless!
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Old 12-10-2014, 03:53 PM   #19
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I just got back home from the theatre, and I'm not yet sure what to say. I found the impressions to be overwhelming in a negative way - too much food for the eyes, not enough time to digest it. A few first thoughts:

I saw the movie in my local theatre - the seaside resort town I live in is very small and sleepy during the winter months, so there were only five people viewing the film on this weekday evening! That doesn't make for much atmosphere, but it also doesn't make for distraction. Here in Germany, all movies are translated and dubbed, so I didn't hear the original voices and dialogues, which is always a loss.

There were too many things going on and I think there are a number of loose threads that need to be taken care of in the extended version. For example, what happens to Alfrid (and his golden bosom )?!

My supply of willing suspension of disbelief (of which I do have a considerable amount!) was completely used up: by the absolutely overwhelming number of enemies who were still kept in check by the good guys, for example; by Legolas' gravity-defying stunts; by Bard's leading his people from the mild lakeside to higher snowy ground looking for shelter from the cold - and why on earth is an old city called "Dale" on the mountainside?!

Some elements (like the Dwarven/Elven romance) I could have accepted in an original story by someone else, but not in an adaptation of Tolkien's book.

The drawn-out battle scenes - I found myself wishing I could be knocked out like Bilbo and wake up when it was all over! It was all just too much.

Thorin's characterisation I did not like.

Martin Freeman's Bilbo was very good.

Why did it take evil Galadriel to banish evil Sauron?

Would a good leader of his people like Bard allow himself to be constantly distracted by his concern for his own family?

What was it about the Eagles that turned the tide of battle?

So many questions, so few good answers...

One more thing: the ending with Bilbo coming back to his ravished home was very bittersweet. It felt like a substitute for the scouring which was not included in LotR - returning to the place you think
is safe, and finding it taken apart.
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Old 12-10-2014, 04:50 PM   #20
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Why did it take evil Galadriel to banish evil Sauron?
Well, you can't just have a good person be victorious! Evil people have to win!

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What was it about the Eagles that turned the tide of battle?
They didn't want to discourage all the memes popping up.
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Old 12-10-2014, 04:52 PM   #21
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One more detail occurs to me - the Arkenstone doesn't look like what was described in the book:
Quote:
It was like a globe with a thousand facets; it shone like silver in the firelight, like water in the sun, like snow under the stars, like rain upon the Moon!
The stone used in the movie looks like a rather flat, not quite regular shape, and it has the appearance of an opal, with various colours. No globe, no facets. Tolkien's description sounds like a diamond solitaire, albeit an unusually large one. There is no mention of intrinsic colour, just splintered light. The stone Bilbo finds in the book also seems to be larger than the one in the movie - Tolkien says his hand would not close around it. The film prop gem seems rather anticlimactic to me - I expected something more spectacular.

Edit to add one more question: Has anyone seen a PJ cameo in this movie?
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Old 12-10-2014, 05:24 PM   #22
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Would a good leader of his people like Bard allow himself to be constantly distracted by his concern for his own family?
That's a very good point I forgot to mention. That is the thing which very often happens in all kinds of films and does not really make much sense.

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What was it about the Eagles that turned the tide of battle?
Actually, I think that was shown. I believe there were a few shots of a single eagle landing in a row of cca 300 Orcs and killing half of them just by sweeping by.

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Edit to add one more question: Has anyone seen a PJ cameo in this movie?
I haven't and I had been expecting it there. I noticed, however, several peculiarly specific zooms at a couple of people - most of all (several times) some guy in a red hat (which I thought at first was just a modern-world winter hat and that's what puzzled me originally) being sort of second-next to Bard when leading the charage against the Orcs inside the city. Any ideas, might that be PJ's son, protegé, some other screenwriter, fan who got lucky, something?
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Old 12-10-2014, 05:32 PM   #23
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Ugh, that "I'm not gay," line in Sherlock Series 3 was ghastly. Subtlety is not those writers' forte in my opinion.
You know I sometimes kept forgetting Steven Moffat wasn't involved in writing this!

In any case, it's not necessarily uncanonical that Bilbo had feelings for Thorin - after all, he was referred to as queer more than once in the books! It's at least better justified than pairing Frodo/Sam, in my opinion.
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Old 12-10-2014, 08:26 PM   #24
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Meanwhile, over at ToRn, they are high-fiving each other joyously with happy Hobbit erections, fluffed, as it were, with Jacksonian enthusiasm.
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Old 12-11-2014, 05:38 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esty
Would a good leader of his people like Bard allow himself to be constantly distracted by his concern for his own family?
I'd say getting distracted despite trying not to would be humane (and therefore, risking your own life to save them even if the battle morale and thus the fate of your people depend on you personally), but I do remember my eyebrows moving quite high when he gives the order to go to the marketplace (where his children had reputedly last been seen) which is supposed to be swarming with the heavily armed orcs, thereby leading dozens of men on a suicide mission to rescue his children, who may or may not be there - and I didn't really hear him asking if the guys want to come along. Then again, maybe this is supposed to be a character flaw??

I feel like an averagely written blockbuster would have had him declare "I don't care the marketplace is full of orcs, I will go there and find my children!" and a bunch of foolhardy loyal guys be like "We will come with you, King Bard!" That way, it would have been at least their own decision to risk their lives for Bard's children, but I think PJ & co didn't give this a single thought.

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Originally Posted by Aganzir
In any case, it's not necessarily uncanonical that Bilbo had feelings for Thorin - after all, he was referred to as queer more than once in the books!
Thanks for making me crack up again! But yeah, honestly it did seem like a romance in this movie. Like, I don't think Thorin is like a hyper special person for Bilbo in the book, like obviously Bilbo is fond of him (and he displays no similar grief for Fili and Kili) but I feel like his heartbreak is also largely because of what Thorin symbolised, at a sad end for the adventure, as the King who never reclaimed his throne. As the leader, Thorin was some kind of personification of the adventure, too.

While in the movie, it is obviously Bilbo's personal feelings for Thorin as a person that motivate his actions (like giving the Arkenstone away so it couldn't corrupt Thorin) and his grief (don't tell me the "you can't be dead" stunt isn't something normally reserved for lovers and close family members). Not to mention that in the end of the movie it is Thorin as a person that Bilbo grieves, not all the dead dwarves and people nor the fact that the adventure ended in a bloodbath. They keep underlining Thorin's significance as a person to Bilbo way too much.

As for Thorin's feelings for Bilbo, seriously look at Richard Armitage's face in any scene they are in together. If he's not acting being in love, I don't know what he's doing. (His smile for Bilbo is like entirely different than the one he has for his dear nephews or Balin and Dwalin. He literally glows and looks like he might swoon any minute. Seriously.) Also, when Thorin is having his drug trippy dragon sickness episode, it's not his own words or Dwalin's (or his nephews' or Balin's) that make him struggle free from the all consuming greed, it's Bilbo's voice berating him.

This movie totally passes my gaydar test, which is basically: if the main characters were a male and a female, would the audience assume without a question that they were in love? Like totally yes in this case.
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Old 12-11-2014, 10:29 AM   #26
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Meanwhile, over at ToRn, they are high-fiving each other joyously with happy Hobbit erections, fluffed, as it were, with Jacksonian enthusiasm.
There's no accounting for coprophages' taste.
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Old 12-12-2014, 09:34 AM   #27
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Even dragons have their endings...

I tried to sum up my feelings about the Hobbit films as briefly as I could, and this is what I came up with;

If you watch the Hobbit films expecting the charming adventure story you read in the book, you'll be disappointed.
If you read the Hobbit book expecting the flashy nine hour war movie you watched at the cinema, you'll also be disappointed.


A lot of us rail against these films for their inaccuracies, misinterpretations, but all of this could be ignored if not for the massive popularity they incur. The Rankin/Bass musical cartoons may be whimsical and cringe-worthy, but are easily ignored. These films are not. They've entered the public conciousness and have, in effect, become how a lot of people view Tolkien's works. When I read the books they never came across as action thrillers, as war obsessed, or as ridiculous as the films would have us believe. Sure, there's ridiculousness in there, but it is of a different, more quaint quality.
Back when I was in high school and I mentioned to a teacher that I was reading (re-reading, more likely) The Lord of the Rings, she dismissed it, saying, "Oh it's just men with swords hitting each other for three hours." At the time I argued that the books were not like that, mentioning that Helm's Deep takes up about ten or so pages and is mostly talking. But that stuck with me as being poignant. That the films were affecting how people perceived Tolkien.

This was always my greatest fear for The Hobbit adaptations. That it would be more "men hitting each other with swords for three hours" and that would be how people would view it. Sales of the book might go up, we may even catch more new readers who take to the books. But we will all now struggle against the perception that The Hobbit is another generic war fantasy.

Perhaps that's another one of my gripes. The Lord of the Rings films, for all their faults, were still pretty revolutionary and affected films going forward. Much of the cinematography and special effects developed for those films has been copied and pasted non stop. I don't feel the same will be true of The Hobbit. Nothing blew me away, nothing surprised me. If anything, it was an extension and exaggeration of what Jackson has already done.

So, that's my preamble. What did I think of The Battle of the Five Armies?

I enjoyed the performances of most of the actors. Richard Armitage was brilliant, though the odd effects and slowness they put on his voice just made it seem ridiculous. Lee Pace was fabulous, even if his lines were mostly eye-roll worthy, his eyebrows made up for most of it. Cate Blanchett performed Galadriel very powerfully (literally and metaphorically), but again the voice distortion was a bit too much for me.

As many have said, when Tolkien's lines are used it is great, because you have brilliant actors reciting brilliant dialogue. But much of the script was innocuous at best and cringe inducing at worst.

The action was kind of boring mostly as we've seen it all before, or could have extrapolated much of it from previous films. Although some of it was just plain bonkers. There's a troll with maces for feet and hands, a troll with a battering ram for a head, trolls with catapults on their backs, and trolls with massive bellies who are just standing around waiting to get shot or stabbed. The ware-worms were kind of silly, vanishing as quickly as they had appeared.

Dain Ironfoot was really distracting as he was clearly CGI. I very nearly lost patience with the film at that point. Maybe they couldn't get Billy Conoly down to New Zealand to film his scenes, maybe he didn't look good in the make up. But that computer generated video game character was just unnecessary. I'd rather they'd recast, to be honest. Much as I enjoyed Billy's performance, it just irked me. Practical effects and make up almost always look better than CGI, and here was a perfect example. After two and a half films of proper dwarves we get a video game dwarf. Perhaps he fits in with the video game goblins, but not with his kin.

Not seeing Kili and Fili die defending Thorin with shield and body was a disappointment, but one I saw coming. Setting up Tauriel as a love interest gave Kili something to die for, which left Fili to be flung from the rooftops unceremoniously. Wasted opportunity, I suppose.

Bard was quite a nice character and I didn't have too many problems with him. The Grim Faced Man as he was in the book, had his grim moments. The killing of Smaug wasn't as bad as I had been expecting. Still very silly, still very ridiculous. But I'm glad he flew up into the sky and posed pretty much like one of Tolkien's illustrations.

The death scene of Thorin was nicely done, though. Not completely accurate, but hearing Tolkien's words (near enough) almost got me to tears. Richard Armitage played the part right I think and he gave Thorin a very Boromir-like farewell speech.

I have adored Balin in these films. He was always one of my favourite dwarves and was glad to see him still being the most reasonable one of the lot. Ken Stott plays him very well and I couldn't help feeling happy whenever he appeared on screen. But part of me wanted him to casually mention, at the end, "You know, I've been thinking about Moria recently... Ori, fancy a trip?"

Bag-End being auctioned off was a nice touch and I was glad to see Lobilia getting some screen time.

The last scene with old Bilbo recreating the meeting with Gandalf from Fellowship of the Ring was a nice touch. I did, however, notice they cut out the "you haven't aged a day" line. I wonder why?

Anyway, that's what I thought.
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Old 12-12-2014, 12:03 PM   #28
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Old 12-12-2014, 03:00 PM   #29
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You know that's exactly what we were planning!
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Old 12-12-2014, 04:42 PM   #30
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Coming Distractions

Here in Southern Taiwan, the local cable TV channels have started running promotional trailers and interviews with cast members touting the upcoming release of ... well ... you know ...

I'd better not say anything else for awhile.

But I do wish to thank everyone who sat through this thing and took the time to comment upon it. I appreciate and respect your intestinal fortitude.
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Old 12-12-2014, 06:27 PM   #31
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As time passes, I'm less and less impressed with the film. It was, very literally, fast food for thought (which is more than can be said of the Desolation, which can rather be compared to a lukewarm pint of low quality beer that leaves your head throbbing) - enjoyable for the most part while it lasted, but in the end I didn't get anything out of it.

The purpose of this trilogy is to be mindless action, marketed under the guise of a good and well-loved book.

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Especially since in the first film, we already had the flashback to Thrór/Thráin, which made it clear that the Arkenstone is important, and made it seem like that it's something akin to the Rings of Power in its both positive and negative influence.
I think this has a lot to do with PJ's decision to stretch the story into three films. FotR was his best Tolkien adaptation because it more or less followed the original script - after that he got carried away altering the scripts as he went, and it really shows in the lack of cohesion. In the Hobbit it seems he got so hung up on the details (many of which were only added after he decided to milk it out) he forgot all about the bigger picture.

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And I would highlight Fili's death, that was so horrible and sad (from the point of view of Bilbo and the rest of the Dwarves, especially his brother), that actually made me remain silent for a few minutes.
We obviously knew what was coming when the younger dwarves entered the tower, but I found myself very indifferent to his death (apart from the shock value of being the first to die). Did this character have more than one or two lines in the entire film? Why am I supposed to care about whether he lives or dies? Because he's good-looking, is the answer.

Now I liked Dean O'Gorman's performance well enough even though he had little to work with because he managed to give Fili an air of personality, even if he was mostly hanging in the back (yes, I was constantly checking out his facial expressions and posture because it's not often that I see somebody who has my looks and my swagger). But I think it's sad that the film makers didn't even make an effort to make us care about him as a person, especially if his death was meant to move us. They left it all to the actor (and his appearance). And instead of real emotions, real reactions to his death, we saw two shocked faces and then hey ho to the action scenes we go. You know, if somebody stabbed my brother to death and dropped him in front of me, I would beat bloody anything and everything that came between me and the killer, but if you made a film of that, you'd focus on my ravaged face in slow motion, not on the fight choreography. If you wanted to show that my brother and his death meant anything to me, that is.

I understand very well that you can't give in-depth screentime to all the 13 dwarves, but it would have taken so little to make us care even a bit, or show that somebody else within the story cared.

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One loved a mortal Man, another a mortal Dwarf, both shared this tragedy, oh how sad.
I actually didn't think about the Tauriel/Arwen parallel until I read your post! Very good point, and very annoying. The Hobbit is different from LOTR but good in its own right - why bring everything over and try to tell the same story twice? You know the way they've done it, they could actually market it as LOTR with new and improved recipe, now with a little less conversation, a little more action (and a lot more fanfiction)!

Tauriel and Kili's romance was made very shoddily and unrealistically, and the whole Hey I just met you and this is crazy drama seems like something that could only happen to, or be taken seriously by, indiscriminate teenagers. Then again they seem to be the target audience.

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She will be in a sequel: The Return of the Shadow.
I am very, very worried this will actually be the case. The film left way too many loose threads. There's still material they have the rights for, and the way it ended for Legolas, I think we'll be seeing an actual fanfiction film loosely based on the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen. And I'm willing to bet that despite a budget 50 times bigger, it won't come even close to Born of Hope.

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- the generally stupid Grimafrid ruining what could've been a cool feminist moment
I don't actually think it's very funny to do the old "Here's a man in women's clothes, now laugh" trick, even if "Not every man would wear a corset [to escape the battle]" is a good comeback to being accused of cowardice.
Alfrid was even more distinctly Gríma in this film though - and we get back to what I just said about recycling LOTR themes in the Hobbit films. It's lazy and boring. By this point it seems the biggest difference between Gríma and Alfrid is that one doesn't have eyebrows and the other has a lot.

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- Legolas's quest to find Aragorn (what the actual ???), oh and btw apparently his mother died in on a campaign against Gundabad???
Perhaps they're incorporating Elladan and Elrohir into Legolas, having him replace them as Aragorn's companions in the sequel.
To be honest I still don't see what Legolas's outpour about never knowing his mother was supposed to achieve, or how Thranduil's acknowledgement that "Your mother loved you very much" contributed to his character development.

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One more thing: the ending with Bilbo coming back to his ravished home was very bittersweet. It felt like a substitute for the scouring which was not included in LotR - returning to the place you think is safe, and finding it taken apart.
I completely agree here. Narrative-wise it makes sense to have it here because the transition to the beginning of FotR is so smooth - it reassures the audience that no matter what happened to your home, you can still make it safe and cosy. The Scouring obviously serves an entirely different purpose in LOTR and while I would have preferred to see it in the film, I understand why it was left out. I'm happy about this scene though.

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They didn't want to discourage all the memes popping up.
You know I actually think the fact that the eagles have become such a huge joke among the uneducated played a part in why their role was so small here! PJ can only blame himself though since he never bothered to explain a few elementary things about the eagles.
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Old 12-12-2014, 07:50 PM   #32
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I understand very well that you can't give in-depth screentime to all the 13 dwarves, but it would have taken so little to make us care even a bit, or show that somebody else within the story cared.
The thing is though, they've had three films to develop the Dwarves and have utterly failed to do so. Most of them have few or no lines, and only Thorin, Balin and Kíli have any substantial characterisation. Instead we've been given characters who weren't in the book, like Legolas and "Tauriel" as well as endless cutaways to Azog, Radagast and the like.

Of course the Dwarves other than Thorin really aren't developed in the book - even Balin is mostly just a cheery old lookout man overall - but that didn't matter because we were focused on Bilbo. In the film, however, they're trying to expand everything, and went to all this effort to given the Dwarves unique designs (and even invent backstories for them) which all amount to absolutely nothing. Why bother? Marketing, I suppose, but that's no excuse. I'd rather have characterisation over thirteen increasingly silly haircuts.
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Old 12-14-2014, 03:59 PM   #33
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I'm actually quite amazed that nobody has highlighted Alfrid's running around shouting "The children! Won't somebody please think of the children!" as a minus. Maybe it was so horrifying that you all blanked it out. But yes, that happened.

Anyway, I couldn't possibly even pretend to take the movie seriously after that. About the only real plus was that I noticed a resemblance in some of the Death of Smaug scenes to Tolkien's own painting of the same name.
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Old 12-14-2014, 07:37 PM   #34
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The thing is though, they've had three films to develop the Dwarves and have utterly failed to do so. Most of them have few or no lines, and only Thorin, Balin and Kíli have any substantial characterisation. Instead we've been given characters who weren't in the book, like Legolas and "Tauriel" as well as endless cutaways to Azog, Radagast and the like.

Of course the Dwarves other than Thorin really aren't developed in the book - even Balin is mostly just a cheery old lookout man overall - but that didn't matter because we were focused on Bilbo. In the film, however, they're trying to expand everything, and went to all this effort to given the Dwarves unique designs (and even invent backstories for them) which all amount to absolutely nothing. Why bother? Marketing, I suppose, but that's no excuse. I'd rather have characterisation over thirteen increasingly silly haircuts.
I don't even think half of them have been mentioned by name since the first movie. It seems ridiculous that they tried to characterise some of the dwarves, and leave the rest to rot. I understand trying to add some interest to Balin to make his 'appearance' in Lord of the Rings have more weight to it, but who the hell cares about Fili and Kili?

At least Bilbo is having some good character progression, but I have yet to see how he is done in the last movie.

Another sin that was committed was trying to explain Gandalf's absence for half the story. We didn't need to see what Gandalf was up to. We just needed him to tell us in a really vague manner what happened, and have a few 10-15 second flashes of what was going on. In the book, Gandalf told us that he was going to go to Dol Guldur because he had business there, and that was enough for us, as we had enough interest in the main plot to not wonder what was going on.

The lack of understanding of why things were happening in the book seems to be the cause of this mess, but similar to those mediocre Narnia movies, the director wanted to make it more exciting by changing stuff and adding their own substance to it which was completely unrelated to the story.
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Old 12-15-2014, 11:11 AM   #35
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The Hobbit is different from LOTR but good in its own right - why bring everything over and try to tell the same story twice?
PJ and Co are lazy and lacking in imagination.

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The thing is though, they've had three films to develop the Dwarves and have utterly failed to do so. Most of them have few or no lines, and only Thorin, Balin and Kíli have any substantial characterisation.
And Bombur fat jokes.
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Old 12-17-2014, 10:56 AM   #36
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I think there is more characterization of the dwarves than what's been given credit. I mean it is primarily an action flick and with the dwarves I think more imagination and invention was necessary. I haven't seen the last one yet but it's pretty much only Ori and Nori I couldn't tell you anything about.

Balin and Thorin are the most fleshed out and I've been pleased with both up to this point as one of the few bright spots to the films. Bofur had some moments in an AUJ (sort of just drops to the background in DoS)...in the dinner scene and the brief talk with Bilbo as he tries to slip away. Bofur was one of the few who accepted Bilbo rather quickly and is not as serious as some of the others. Dwalin I'm hoping there's more in the last movie, but he's portrayed as one of Thorins closest confidants and the dwarf that probably knows Thorin's mind the best (which I think is appropriate). Bifur can't talk brvause he has an axe in his forehead which is completely ridiculous. Oin and Gloin don't have much, but it does get established how they're related to Gimli and they seem fonder of wealth and treasures. Bombur is of course fat, but basically every mention of Bombur in the book is how ridiculously fat he I'd. DoS extended has the scene of Bombur falling in the enchanted river and the dwarves carrying his body. Fili and Kili are clearly meant to be eye candy but they get more characterization in AUJ than most as the youngest and most athletic of the group. And as annoying as the morgul wound part in DoS it's actually tuned into a nice moment when Fili stays with his brother and Thorin declared he wouldn't let one "dwarf" ruin his quest. (Then moments later Thorin saying he wouldn't let one "burglar" ruin the quest. Which Balin reminds him that he has a name, he is a person, it's "Bilbo")
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Old 12-17-2014, 02:58 PM   #37
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Well, I saw it...initial thoughts are it's a lot better as a film than DoS. I think the big part is because the storyline gets resolved where DoS just felt like it was 3 hours that solved nothing and nothing actually happened except stretching out the story as much as possible.

But I enjoyed most of the characters and even most of the action sequences. Anything with Legolas and Tauriel was terrible, not necessarily their faults though that their story and purpose in the movie stunk. The slow-mo voices was overdone and too much cheese for me taste.

The best parts are obviously with Bilbo and Gandalf and Bilbo and Thorin, which is a positive in my opinion that the movies didn't lose sight of The Hobbit being a tale about...erm the Hobbit who comes into his own while on a grand adventure. I also quite liked Elrond and Saruman showing up in Dol Guldur, as far as action sequences probably one of the best done in a film in recent memory. I just wish they didn't leave us with the cliffhanger of Saruman saying "Leave Sauron to me" and then the White Council drops out completely. Elrond in armor is a magnificent sight and overall I like The Hobbit Elrond much more than LOTR Elrond. It just proves Hugo Weaving can play the part, if the direction and writing was better in LOTR. I actually did not think of "Agent Smith" once during The Hobbit movies.

More to come later probably.
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Old 12-17-2014, 07:43 PM   #38
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Well, I saw it...initial thoughts are it's a lot better as a film than DoS. I think the big part is because the storyline gets resolved where DoS just felt like it was 3 hours that solved nothing and nothing actually happened except stretching out the story as much as possible.

But I enjoyed most of the characters and even most of the action sequences. Anything with Legolas and Tauriel was terrible, not necessarily their faults though that their story and purpose in the movie stunk. The slow-mo voices was overdone and too much cheese for me taste.

The best parts are obviously with Bilbo and Gandalf and Bilbo and Thorin, which is a positive in my opinion that the movies didn't lose sight of The Hobbit being a tale about...erm the Hobbit who comes into his own while on a grand adventure. I also quite liked Elrond and Saruman showing up in Dol Guldur, as far as action sequences probably one of the best done in a film in recent memory. I just wish they didn't leave us with the cliffhanger of Saruman saying "Leave Sauron to me" and then the White Council drops out completely. Elrond in armor is a magnificent sight and overall I like The Hobbit Elrond much more than LOTR Elrond. It just proves Hugo Weaving can play the part, if the direction and writing was better in LOTR. I actually did not think of "Agent Smith" once during The Hobbit movies.

More to come later probably.
But were the awesome fight scenes worth all of the other fails?
The 'leave Sauron to me' bit sounds like it's very misleading, as that is not how Saruman betrayed the White Council, nor when. His treachery was quite a while before that, and a lot of people are going to get confused, or mislead by such a thing.

I do like the sound of Elrond in armour, as I always wished that the defeat of Sauron at the beginning of the Fellowship was extended, and we got to see more.
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Old 12-18-2014, 04:43 PM   #39
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http://www.theatlantic.com/entertain...er-now/383876/

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Old 12-19-2014, 06:35 AM   #40
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You know what says the most about the value of the Hobbit movies? The lack of discussion. Obviously very few people are interested enough to post about them. Well do I remember the olden days of multiple LotR threads on this forum...

Despite all of the complaints we had, those look pretty good compared to the new "trilogy".
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