I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

The Hobbit Presents The Battle of the Five Armies: a 3D Imax Obligation

tn_hobbit3I saw BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES about 5 weeks after it came out and finished this review a couple weeks later, so you can see I had higher movie-going-and-discussing priorities than the thrilling conclusion to the prequel to the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. But honestly I did go to it of my own accord. After somewhat enjoying part 2 as a dumb spectacle with some good sequences I was kind of in the mood for that again and wanted to be sure to catch it before it left 3D.

(technical notes: I avoided high frame rate so it wouldn’t look like somebody’s home wedding video. I ended up with digital 3D “Imax,” which is on the giant screen but noticeably lower resolution than standard digital projection. So it’s got pluses and minuses)

If you’re like me you have almost no memory of what happened in the other two installments or what the names of any of the characters are, but you do remember the setup for part 3: Smowg, the greedy capitalistic dragon of Desolation Mountain, was awoken from his treasure-slumber and raging toward the man-village, puking deadly flame breath every which way, getting ready to roast some fuckin humans and Godzilla some buildings. Just step on some guys and bite off their heads and all that kind of dragon shit. This is the big screen dragon attack we’ve been waiting for ever since Guillermo Del Toro signed onto THE HOBBIT six years ago, and especially since the cliffhanger ending of part 2 one year ago.

I mean I am shitting myself you guys because THIS IS GONNA BE FUCKIN CRAZY!  The Baggin’ and Toe-taggin’ of the Dragon. The Shakedown in Laketown. The motherfuckin climax of the greatest most epicest trilogy of all time, “THE END OF AN ERA” according to the ads and posters.

That’s the pre-credits sequence. The archery guy from FURIOUS 6 and his kid kill the dragon pretty easily at the very beginning of the movie. The end.

Except not so fast smart guy, I got two addendums to that. #1, the animation of the life going out of the dragon is very impressive. #2, he didn’t leave a will. Not to be racist, but you know how dragons are, they’re teenagers at heart, they think they’re invincible, and don’t prepare for these kind of eventualities. So the rest of the movie is about everybody fighting over his estate. The dwarves. The elves. The men. The one hobbit that is there. The giant birds. The guy that is half man half bear. The guy that talks to animals. The orcs. The goblins. The Baseball Furies. To their credit, the talking trees and the elephant guys stay out of it. Good for them.

mp_hobbit3Although it’s called The Hobbit he’s not the main character for most of it. In fact it takes so long for him to be in the story I thought when he showed up it was gonna be a passing of the torch kind of thing like Channing Tatum in STEP UP 2 THE STREETS or Vin Diesel in TOKYO DRIFT.

The Hobbit is really kind of more like the host than the star, like Snoop Dogg in SNOOP DOGG’S HOOD OF HORROR. Alot of the movie is fighting, which is not really Bilbo’s thing, so he either disappears backstage like an Oscar host or we check in with him occasionally to see that he is watching or commenting on the actual story and characters of the movie.

Storywise I believe this is easily the worst of however many movies are in the Hobbit trilogy. In the other ones at least there was a journey, so there was a specific goal in mind: go to the mountain, steal the treasure from the dragon or whatever. You remember how there was that one dwarf called Thorin Oakenshield, he was supposed to be the badass leader guy? Well he got some kind of dragon disease (I don’t think it means he fucked the dragon, let’s not get carried away there fellas although I haven’t seen the extended cut but considering the shorter one to be canon I would say he most likely did not fuck the dragon, but got it from kissing arguably) that makes him be a greedy asshole with a boner for treasure. So he wants to go to war to avoid sharing it with anybody. The Hobbit tries to tell him not to go to war and his most active thing in the movie is that he sneaks away from him and tries to conspire to stop the war.

But then some other armies show up so they have a war anyway. That’s the problem, we’re supposed to be against them fighting a war, but clearly the most interesting thing in the movie is that they are fighting a war. But then since we (or at least me) don’t really like most of the characters very much or care about any of their motivations, there’s nothing to root for.

But don’t worry, all your favorites from the trilogy come back. Gandalf Grey, the inventor of wizard gloves, is in a bunch of it. Christopher Lee’s character Sorcerer Dooku shows up and says some one-liner like “You needed assistance?” or “Did you miss me?” or “Catch you fuckers at a bad time?” or something like that. Then his stunt double spins around and does a bunch of shit like he would’ve done when he was young if he did that kind of stuff, which he didn’t. Hugo Weaving is in that scene too to model what he looks like in armor. Cate Blanchett turns into black magic elf lady and talks in a deep voice. Smowg has a brief blink and you missed it cameo as the dragon. The bear guy shows up to battle which was pretty exciting and then was never shown or mentioned again. And you’ll all be delighted to know that the greatest character Tolkien ever created, the Wizard of Bird Shit, rides in on his bunny sled and then must be in the crowd there or something but I’m not sure I saw him more than once or twice after that or what he was doing there.

still_wizardofbirdshit

Uh, you know you got some, uh, something on your cheek there. Some white stuff. You might wanna get a… No, wait! Don’t lick your finger to– well, too late. Yeah, it’s right there, you’re getting it. Well, no, now you’re just smearing it around. Well, anyway. I guess that’s a little better. I don’t know.

Legolas T. Elf (Orlando Bloom) was a favorite in the original trilogy. In the Hobbits though he fills the role of the douchebag possessive boyfriend bad guy in a romance movie. Dreamy Dwarf is trying to get it on with Evangeline Lily and Legolas is the uptight prick who keeps trying to stop it from happening. Weirdly, though, he’s also the guy who does all the coolest stuff in battle. In this one he flies by grabbing onto a giant bat, seems to sort of control it by yanking on its legs, then shoots an arrow straight through its head at just the right time to drop and land on top of a tower. In another scene he jumps on a troll’s back, stabs him in the brain, rides him into a tower knocking it over exactly in the right place to become wedged across a chasm like a stone bridge, then he duels an orc on top of the bridge until it gets smashed, at which point he defies gravity and parkours across the falling individual stones like he’s Super Mario. Eventually he beats that orc and we watch him plummet, smash against the ground, then get hit by more falling stones.

still_hobbit3bIt’s that type of shit that redeemed this movie for me. I can’t completely dismiss a movie that puts so much work into creating a fight like that, something we haven’t seen in fantasy movies before, but should’ve. I guess before computers got this good it was kind of a pain in the ass to film a guy riding around on a troll, so nobody bothered.

It’s a good movie for mounts in general, by the way. There’s the sled pulled by giant rabbits, there’s the giant eagles, the rams with giant horns, the moose thing with giant antlers, a big fat boar that a dwarf rides on and the trolls they ride on have catapults and shit attached to their backs. Pimped out trolls, I guess you could say.

I have to say again, I really like the animated characters they’ve created for these movies. Alot of people complain about the series expanding on the technology that was so groundbreaking with Gollum instead of just staying in the real world. I strongly disagree. They’ve done a great job of painting detailed fantasy imagery that we’ve never seen in motion before. These orcs are great. Some day maybe they’ll make a better movie with characters like this.

Another good scene is Thorin fighting the Orc guy on a frozen lake. This orc’s weapon is a big rock on the end of a chain, which he swings around. Thorin figures out how to use it against him.

Once the movie just turns into endless battle it gets alot more tolerable. Usually it’s the other way around. At its best this feels almost like a fantasy version of RED CLIFF. But it doesn’t reach those heights often enough.

As much as I liked the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy at the time, and I suspect they probly still hold up, they don’t really occupy an important space in my heart or nothin like that. So I don’t take the flaws of the epic HOBBIT mega-saga too personally. I just think the whole thing is kinda funny.

Of course the director who turns a short children’s story into a 9 hour movie trilogy event is also the creator of the most hilariously drawn out prequel nudge-nudge of all time. The Elf King tells Legolas as he’s leaving that he should go to some place to look for a certain ranger. Of course the audience is supposed to know what he’s referring to and cheer or whatever. But then he continues that this guy is the son of Arathorn. Yeah, we get it. Then Legolas asks “What is his name?” Then he says that they call him Strider, but he’ll have to find out the real name for himself. If the scene had continued a couple seconds longer I’m positive he would’ve muttered “You get who I’m talking about, right? Viggo Mortensen.”

But most of the problems with these movies are not sympomatic of prequelitis. They’re not too eager to set up what happens later. It seems more like mythology pocks. They’re trying to cram in every last Tolkien thing they can while they still have a chance. That overstuffed quality might’ve been fulfilling in one movie but after three you gotta either puke or take a big shit.

I enjoyed watching this one okay. But if there is a happy ending for this chapter, and maybe this whole trilogy, I think it’s as a cable TV staple. As a movie that you sit and watch from beginning to end it’s kind of a bust, but as a world full of detail and little things that happen it is very rich. Unlike JUPITER ASCENDING it really is a world where I’m interested in what the different guys are and what they’re up to, and it seems like they have some kind of sense to them. So I bet if it becomes a thing that kids watch random parts of repeatedly it will work pretty well. Hey, there is a giant troll guy, he head butted a rock and died. Oh there’s another troll guy, this guy has metal peglegs. Oh there are bats. etc.

Put that on the poster.

banner_hobbit3

P.S. I have heard some debate about who the five armies are. My guess is 1. Dwarves 2. the other dwarves led by his uncle or whatever 3. Humans 4. Orcs and Goblins 5. Giant birds

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 at 1:06 pm and is filed under Fantasy/Swords, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

39 Responses to “The Hobbit Presents The Battle of the Five Armies: a 3D Imax Obligation”

  1. I actually laughed out loud at the part about “the greates character Tolkien ever created, the wizard of bird shit.”

    Good one.

  2. PS I als don’t really remember much about the first two, but I will eventually see this, even if it’s just for Evangeline Lilly.

  3. I’m a Hobbit apologist, and I was surprised by how emotionally invested I had become in Bilbo and Thorin’s story. But the third Hobbit, even more than the other films, doesn’t work on its own. I rewatched the first two films in the weeks before I went to see Hobbit 3 in theaters, and I don’t think I would have enjoyed the film as much if the last time I saw the other films were in the theaters. Hobbit 3 is really just the climax of a larger story without the ups and downs required of a standalone film. Still, I totally dug it and felt like it had some of the best action I’ve seen in a big budget film in a long time.

  4. I made sure to catch this one in theaters so I could experience it in 3D. The spectacle and action is fun and enjoyable enough that I didn’t regret paying to see it in the theater but I wouldn’t call it a good movie.

  5. “But if there is a happy ending for this chapter, and maybe this whole trilogy, I think it’s as a cable TV staple. As a movie that you sit and watch from beginning to end it’s kind of a bust, but as a world full of detail and little things that happen it is very rich.”

    That’s kind of how I see Jackson’s KING KONG these days. I saw it all the way through once, when it first hit DVD, and didn’t think it really worked. But recently I keep catching random scenes of it on TV and find them very entertaining.

  6. It’s been awhile since I laughed out loud reading one of your reviews. I usually get a chuckle here and there, but I think I laughed – HARD – at least two or three times while reading this. Thanks for that!

  7. Oh, and this movie was OK. Speaking as a Tolkien agnostic, I went in to the first one expecting to be bored senseless, but ended up thinking it seemed like, well, like the first third of a really entertaining movie bloated to three hours. I never saw the second, and “caught up” by watching one of those “everything wrong with” videos about half an hour before seeing this one. I found this easier to sit through than any of the previous Tolkien adaptations I’ve seen, but with far lower highs than AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY. Also, I was a bit taken aback when what I assumed to be just another fight scene turned out to actually be the big action climax of an 8.5 hour trilogy. I feel like I skipped over the one I would have most enjoyed. Ah well. Still, this was more fun and certainly more satisfying than HUNGER GAMES TROIS.

  8. I thought it was all climax, with no build-up that somehow managed to be boring at the same time. Vern mentioned the only part that I found enjoyable – the final big battle, mostly due to Legolas and the fight on the ice between Thorin and the Orc.

    *SPOILERS*

    I also didn’t like that it had a double whammy with the sad ending with both Thorin and Dreamy Dwarf dying, leaving elf lady brokenhearted. I think one or the other would’ve been fine, but it didn’t need both.

  9. Hey Vern! Great review. I gotta agree that this one was laugh out loud fun to read and this from a guy who didn’t hate this flick. That said, it put me in a mood to watch Lee Pace movies since he had such a stellar year hiding behind makeup and crazy costumes with this and Guardians of the Galaxy (where he also plays a douchebag leader of a race of superior douchebags).

    So I watched a stripped down Lee Pace movie that reminds me he is one of the greats and why he isn’t a bigger star is beyond me. That said, I noted a lack of The Fall (movie by Tarsem and not the BBC crime series starring Agent Scully) on your list of reviews. Was that one ever on your list to write up? I think you might like it. It holds up for me and makes me want more Pace in my movies.

  10. So glad you enjoyed the ultra wacky Legolas moves. They seem to generate some kind of universal hate, but I think they’re amazing in how ridiculous they are. I gotta give props to the orc that he fought. That fight went on forever, that orc was definitely the toughest of them all, he deserves more respect.

  11. You didn’t even count the elves, Vern. Come on, man, get your shit together.

    I thought this one was easily the least interesting story in either of the two trilogies but as a collection of action vignettes and monster design, it’s aces. I’ve said it before, but I’m not usually into the wizards-and-shit genre but I think Middle-Earth is a swell place to spend a few hours once a year or so. Plus I still think Jackson puts out the best behind-the-scenes material in the business, so for me, that always comes coupled with spending a few additional hours with the genial cast and crew as they do a bunch of crazy shit with a wink and a smile. It’s all fun for me. I’m sad that they’re over. Didn’t Tolkien do any cocktail napkin doodles or anything?

    What can I say? I just like movies where people jump around and stab monsters.

  12. Mr. Majestyk, Tolkien wrote a 10-volume History of Middle-earth. 10 flipping volumes! That’s gotta be at least 45 Peter Jackson movies at the going rate these days, no??

  13. Yes, Majestyk is right:

    Army 1: Thorin’s Dwarves PLUS the other, NEW dwarves
    Army 2: Laketown Humans
    Army 3: Mirkwood Elves
    Army 4: Goblins (orcs) from the mountain riding on Wargs
    Army 5: The Eagles

    Not planning on seeing this movie anytime soon. Very dissatisfied with the 2nd one.

    …More of my thoughts, opinions, etc…

    Hope it ends for real and no Silmarillion stuff but if I had to place a Vegas bet I’d put a hundo on them making more within the next ten years.

  14. I forgot to mention, what was up with the giant worms? They’re like “Hey guys, we got giant worms! Look!” It shows them for a second, then they’re never seen or mentioned again. Do I need to watch the extended cut, or are they getting their own spin-off?

  15. …The guy that talks to animals. The orcs. The goblins. The Baseball Furies.

    Woah.

    Tolkien based his writings on ancient Europe stories.

    “The Warriors” is based on an ancient Greek story.

    “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” is based on an ancient Greek story.

    Walter Hill and the Coen Brothers both made a movie with Jeff Bridges.

    Jeff Bridges is in a movie out this very weekend about ancient shit.

    It all ties together.

    Like that rug, in that room.

    Deep.

  16. The Undefeated Gaul

    February 11th, 2015 at 1:33 am

    I thought the same thing about the worms, which were very Graboid-like. Maybe they’re like the eagles but on the evil side. They’ll help out but only for a bit and then they fuck right off again, even though they could probably end the battle by themselves in a couple minutes by digging a big hole underneath the other army.

  17. The Undefeated Gaul

    February 11th, 2015 at 1:38 am

    Also, pretty sure the five armies are 1) humans, 2) elves, 3) dwarves, 4) orcs led by Azog, 5) Gundabad orcs

    I think I read that somewhere.

  18. These HOBBIT movies should’ve been animated movies a la TINTIN. That way, there’d have been none of the awkward integration of live-action actors and such meddlesome things as location photography or physical sets. It would’ve looked less fake and would have saved them a whole lot of money, whilst being, essentially, the exact same thing.

    Oh and I know everybody’s like: “This is the end, farewell to Middle-Earth!”, but I’ll believe it when I see it. They’ve got the rights to the Appendices and, I assume, the Maps, so they could do anything from a prequel featuring Aragorn in Rohan or Harad (Arabia, essentially) to a sequel buddy-comedy following Gimli and Legolas as they travel round Middle Earth before paddling to elf-Elysium in a kayak at end.

    That SHADOWS OF MORDOR game already kinda went that way, with is bullshit-but-tied-to-the-Jacksonverse story featuring a dead Gondorian ranger possessed by an ancient elf-lord ghost who…thirsts for revenge? (Hell if know, I didn’t play the game)

    Yeah, I’m pretty positive they’re gonna try and make more of these films, produced by Jackson and directed by whatever tyro-filmmaker they can think of.

  19. The fifth army (in the book) is the bats.

    They’re more important there, and not just something for Legolas to talk about for a while, then for us to see for 20 seconds, and then forget about.

  20. I can’t tell if you guys are all doing this as a long-running joke, but just so we’re definitively clear on who the five armies are:

    1) humans, 2) elves, 3) dwarves, 4) orcs/goblins 5) eagles

    or, if you prefer

    1) humans 2) Republicans 3) gungans 4) shriners 5) people who have directed a James Bond seque;

  21. This review made me laugh man. My favorite was the head-butting dwarf. His forehead was both powerful and hilarious!

  22. 1. Younglings 2. Gremlins 3. Robocops 4. Killer Klowns From Outer Space 5. Bjorks

  23. I thought the five armies were 1. Sharks 2. Jets 3. Nuns 4. Kanye West 5. Twihards

  24. The Original Paul

    February 12th, 2015 at 5:25 am

    No no no no no. You guys have this all wrong. You gotta go to the source material to see what the REAL five armies are.

    So here, direct from J R R Tolkien’s book THE HOBBIT, is a definitive list of the Five Armies. Namely:

    1) The Army of One.
    2) The Army of Two.
    3) The Pink Army.
    4) The Salvation Army.
    5) The Barmy Army.

    I really really wanted there to be a Hacker Army in there (Razor and Blade!) but no dice. Tolkien had the bad manners to be born before HACKERS was released on film. Very inconsiderate of him.

  25. I always thought the audience was the fifth army? Like we are the magic that keeps Tinkerbell alive or the 6th player on the basketball court?

  26. I thought it was a Seven Nation Army?

  27. Ace — only in the extended version.

  28. Let’s not forget the most important character, the guy who seemed to occupy the most screentime and am pretty sure had the most dialogue – Alfrid the town mayor’s assistant or whatever. Dear Lord, I get we’re supposed to hate the guy. I get that you want to punch him in the face. Job well done, Jackson. But just as you can’t just simply have a guy fall off a cliff, he has to bounce off like 20 things to show off new prototype ragdoll effects (this happens even in The Lovely Bones!!), Alfrid can’t just be a simple asshole. He has to have a separate interaction with every single character in this entire goddamn movie and show what an asshole he is. And then they trust him to do something and SHOCKER he mucks it up. And then they do it again. And again. And again. And the worst part is he just disappears like those Dune worms – this guy doesn’t even get a comical comeuppance! You made me watch him act like a coward and screw over all the heroes for 3 hours, and he can’t even get accidentally squashed by a troll? And the worst part is I’m willing to bet he doesn’t die because somewhere in the back of his crazy head, Jackson has a 9 hour Alfrid trilogy all planned out.

    Actually, that’s taking it a bit too far as it seems Jackson kinda stopped giving a shit during this one. The manic energy and bad taste that made Hobbit II the Bad Boys II of Middle Earth (a gonzo director proudly indulging in his worst excesses) is all but gone – we’re stuck with a paper-thin story capped by a battle that should be the end-all be-all of the series but seems remarkably small and anticlimactic. Speaking of which, wow, I’m glad he added that whole Evangeline Lilly character – the way that entire subplot ends seems like such a shaggy dog story/middle finger to the audience.

  29. Thank you, neal2zod! I didn’t realize how much screen time that little shithead had and how much my subconscious was festering about it. Now I’m both relieved to have realized it and pissed off that he wasn’t squashed by a troll.

  30. I’m happy for that actor, though. From what I understand, that character is just inferred from a line of exposition in the book briefly mentioning the mayor guy’s entourage. If I recall correctly, the actor had no prior film experience and was mostly just supposed to be a weird-looking face for Stephen Frye to bounce lines off of. So for him to carve out a place for himself like that in such an overstuffed cast is a pretty big feat. That much Alfrid might be detrimental to the movie as a whole, but it’s kinda cool to see an underdog earn his big break like that.

  31. Bravo, Vern, bravo. And CEPE I’m with you. They’ll find a way around legalities and make another. Where there’s money, there’s a way.

  32. Alfrid may have taken up too much screen time, and his character isn’t as funny as Jackson seems to think, but I did like the fact that he survived the battle. The entire time I expected him to be crushed by an Orc or something, but he makes it through all the way to the end. I was at first disappointed by this, but the more I thought about it, I think this was the way to go. Alfrid may have been a greedy coward, but I don’t know if this means he should die. Hell, even Spielberg wasn’t able to resist killing off that lawyer in Jurassic Park (my least favorite part of that movie).

  33. The Original Paul

    February 16th, 2015 at 6:38 am

    Neal – you’ve just nailed what I both love and hate about Peter Jackson. The guy just cannot rein himself in. When it works, it’s spectacular. When it doesn’t work, it’s frustrating and annoying. And when it REALLY doesn’t work, it’s just plain hilarious. (Boromir’s death falls into that category for me – and I will once again point out how much I love that scene, for much the same reason as I love that scene in Raimi’s first SPIDERMAN movie where the Green Goblin forces Aunt May to recite the rest of her prayers. Those scenes just try so damn hard that you gotta respect the sincerity of what they’re trying to accomplish, even as you’re laughing in awestruck hilarity at how they turned out.)

    The BAD BOYS 2 comparison is… unfortunate, when it comes to me (I’m not exactly a fan of that movie) but I get what you’re saying. It kinda does more to put me off ever seeing the second HOBBIT movie (not that I had any plans to do so anyway) because I don’t think Peter Jackson going full-on unchained is something that I’d enjoy. Honestly I thought his excesses were mostly on display in the second LoTR film, in particular in the Helm’s Deep sequence, and I thought that was easily the worst of the film trilogy, so… yeah.

  34. Paul, yeah the weird thing is I didn’t appreciate Jackson UNTIL he went full-on unchained in this new Hobbit trilogy. I think alot of it was his ridiculous stuff like the “T. Rex swinging on the vines” scene in King Kong and all of The Lovely Bones still had this air of respectability, like he was hoping to get another Best Picture Oscar Nod. This Hobbit Trilogy seems to have abandoned all that and he’s now just going for LOLZ. If you think you’re going to hate Hobbit II (and you probably will), I’d still suggest finding the infamous “barrel” scene, it’s aggressively stupid but I still get a smile on my face everytime I think about it. (I think I mentioned it somewhere but Jackson has an in-your-face cameo right at the beginning of Hobbit II, as if he’s fully embracing the criticisms of him not being able to rein himself in – and this makes Hobbit III even more of a missed opportunity since it’s relatively restrained.)

    On another note, I don’t remember jack about the Hobbit story from when I had to see it as a kid, so to be honest, I was actually really digging the story during the first half. Having Thorin (and his backup gang of men-on-a-mission dwarves) go from rag-tag heroes to sort-of villains, was actually pretty fresh from a storytelling standpoint. (It’s like watching a sequel to Expendables where they’re the villains). Then of course, Jackson had to throw in about 35 scenes of Thorin staring maniacally into space and rambling on about gold or whatever and I was already tired of it.

  35. I used to believe Jackson still had the BAD TASTE/DEAD ALIVE spirit in him and might take a break from big budgets to do a goofy gore movie again but with Weta effects. I can’t really picture that anymore though.

  36. Neal, that’s kinda what I was saying about the Hobbit movies for years: They feel like the 1996 Peter Jackson tried to made an early 2000s Peter Jackson film and it’s awesome!
    (Disclaimer: I had no time to see part 3 yet.)

  37. Vern, I get the exact opposite impression. I see the last couple HOBBITs and I see a splatstick director struggling with all his might to break free from the gilded prestige pic cage he’s trapped in. You can’t watch that barrel sequence and tell me he wouldn’t rather spend all his time coming up with new ways to decapitate people rather than directing heartfelt pronouncements of love and duty and all that crap. This is the guy who used the latest in digital technology to put a scabby nutsac on a goblin’s chin, after all. All he needs is permission to follow his bliss down into the gutter where it belongs.

  38. Well, I finally saw the animated version of “The Hobbit”, and I can’t believe it but it pretty much tells the same story as this entire trilogy in ONE HOUR AND SEVENTEEN MINUTES. I mean, had they even left the shire yet at the 1:17 mark of The Hobbit 1? Or was that smack dab in the middle of the group dishwashing scene? Obviously the cartoon cuts out new stuff like Legolas and Evangeline Lilly, and they don’t really develop the dwarves, but as a whole it’s surprisingly coherent and almost identical in content. I mean, if I had to do a plot summary of both the cartoon and the trilogy, they would basically look the same. Gollum, the riddles, the spiders, the barrels, Smaug, and the battle of the five armies, it’s all there. By the way, this one makes clear the 5 armies are 1) dwarves, 2) men, 3) elves, 4) orks, 5) eagles.

    So yeah, nevermind about how Jackson should have kept this as two movies, I’m pretty convinced now this could have actually been one movie, maybe even one under 3 hours.

  39. Finally saw this one. Really didn’t care for the prior two and remembering how bored I was by RETURN OF THE KING (the movie not the website) and hearing that ARMIES was basically a never-ending battle like KING, I could never convince myself to go see it even though I did want to see the 3D. I even opted out when they played the Extended Editions theatrically.

    Well I must have softened up to these movies or my standards went downhill but I ended up really enjoyed this one. Blasphemy-time: yes, that means I preferred it to RETURN OF THE KING (only time I liked a HOBBIT more than a RING (LORD OF, not the J-Horror series). I felt no-fucks-to-give Jackson came up with way more fun variations of fantasy people killing each other than in KING. Note: KING is a MUCH better conclusion, but ARMIES is a much more fun movie (for me!) to watch and enjoy. Who knew as someone who felt they really let the book down, all they had to do to win me back was discard as notion of story and character and just focus crazy action scenes.

    I don’t feel it redeems the trilogy (still no desire to re-watch the other two (though I did give the first one another shot when the extended edition came out) but at least I had a good time at the very end.

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