The Battle of the Five, or Was It Six, Armies

The_Hobbit-_The_Battle_of_the_Five_Armies_4Last night we made the trek to the small theater in Tioga North Dakota to see the final installment of The Hobbit. They usually run kid movies, family movies, the kind of fast-paced nonsense that is safe for families. I would say we see two or three movies a year there. Between Christmas and New Years they ran that Night at the Museum turd and then it was another poorly reviewed family movie after that. So it took almost a month for The Hobbit to show up on their screen. I can’t blame the theater. It’s a small town and family movies are their bread and butter. Still, it was agony waiting for it.

Beware, there are spoilers in the dark waters ahead:

Overall, I liked the movie. Carjo and I are such nerds that I am sure that we’ll be watching the DVD of this again and again. And again. That admitted, the film is by no means perfect.

For one thing, despite some reviews declaring it the leanest of the Hobbit movies, there’s a whole lot of padding. Scenes run too long or shouldn’t have happened at all. I’m just glad that Stephen Fry’s character didn’t make an appearance in the third act but we had more than enough of his one-dimensional second in command. Legolas’ prolonged battle with Bolg and the ridiculous acrobatics would have been better served with the elf just kicking his ass and taking his head. Or sticking to the book and just have Beorn take the damn orc’s head off in one bite. Beorn, who turns the tide of the battle in the book, is barely glimpsed being dropped into the fray by an eagle as he morphs into a great bear. That kinda ticked me off. Thorin’s madness at times seemed a bit much but at least he regains his sanity. The showdown between him and Azog was incredible.

I didn’t mind the relationship between Tauriel and Kili. Tolkien’s book is such a sausage fest that it needed at least one woman kicking ass. The love interest is a bit contrived but it doesn’t destroy the movie. Speaking of a woman kicking ass, Galadriel does get her moment as the White Council rescues Gandalf in Dol Goldur and fights the Nazgul and the Necromancer. Tolkien always hinted at what Galadriel was capable of and I’ll give Jackson credit for showing what devastation she can unleash.

So I guess despite all my reservations, it’s a thumbs up. This is definitely not on the level of Lord of the Rings but I think Jackson realizes that. This series is was it is. It takes a children’s book, mixes in the Untold Tales and LOTR appendices, adds unholy acrobatics and extra characters, and still manages to be a coherent tale. Much of the action is gripping and the acting is first rate. Yeah, I wish it had been different but I understand why it was made like this. Unlike some, I’d still rather watch this than that Rankin Bass abomination.

So thank you Peter Jackson. I have finally realized my teenage dream of seeing these books on the big screen and that’s no small thing. Now, there’s the matter of getting Neuromancer greenlit…

About jeroljohnson

I guess I'm the crying on the inside kind of clown
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