Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - The Final Chapter Works

I have joked that if Peter Jackson wants to do more of Tolkien's work he should try doing The Hobbit.  There was also that joke that there would be a new release which edits all the films together, but eliminates all the scenes that are not in the book. This special edition movie will be about two hours long.  Despite all this, the movies all work and are a fun ride.  I have never been quite clear on why we need all the other stuff that Jackson included this second trilogy in the world of Tolkien.  There really is no purpose to the inclusion of Legolas, the Council of the White, the love story between the Tauriel - a purely Jackson created character- and Kili, or the starting of the return of Sauron.  For the movies to work these storylines and characters are actually extraneous distractions and filler for the return of the King under the Mountain story. It seems to me, sometimes, that Jackson has become a little too enamored with his special effects and battle scenes.

All this said, I liked  this movie.  No, it's not the Hobbit, I first read when I was in 7th grade.  It is a strong action, adventure fantasy.  I know many people who do not actually know the story of There and Back Again will be very disappointed that the book has no love story between an elf and a dwarf.  There are no orcs who are secretly driven by the spirit of Sauron.  I  must admit that the attack with dwarves on mountain goats was a bit silly.  Still, Jackson leaves the major story intact including all those who survive and do not survive as it occurred in the original story. The defeat of Smaug is spectacular.

The effects are still strong, although a few of the gags such as giant trolls knocking themselves out by running into walls or other objects got a bit repetitive.  The story is still strong enough to carry themes of the evils of greed and finding one's nobility and courage.  The characters are still clean and even serve well carry the themes.  There is still magic in Jackson's direction.  He carefully draws parallels between the Smaug the dragon and the greed of "dragon sick" Thorin Oakenshield. He doesn't  just mention the sickness that plagues Thorin's mind but introduces vocal similarities between the dragon and the dwarf king.  While the final descent into Thorin's battle between his honor and his greed on a lake of gold is a bit over-the-top, it is still visually masterful scene.  It is really the sort of scene that I wish had been included in the second movie when Bilbo should have found his courage in the Smaug's lair.

There should be enough in the third film for the purist of the novel to those who are experiencing The Hobbit solely as a movie to please all.  Original lines from the novel sparkle through including the final lines of Gandalf to Bilbo, "but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!” It is the inclusion that keeps the movie honest.  Even though Bilbo is just a Hobbit, he still has had a great impact.  The movie keeps us attached to the characters so that we feel loss and gain equally, even with characters and plotlines that didn't exist in the book.  I liked The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.  It is well worth your time, just try not to take the dwarves on goats too seriously.