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the hobbit: the battle of the five armies


Movie review: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition

I am quite behind on doing this, but I’ve finally gotten a chance to watch all of the Extended Edition of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. And I can report with distinct satisfaction that it is definitely a more coherent cut of the movie than the one which was released in the theaters, which makes a clean sweep of my preferring the Extended Edition of all six of Jackson’s Middle-Earth movies.

As a general reminder my review posts for the theatrical cut are here and here, two posts since I saw it twice in the theaters. And by and large my overall opinion of the movie hasn’t changed much. So I’m going to focus instead on what the EE version brings to the table in this post.

Obviously, there are spoilers in this post for both versions of the movie, so if you haven’t seen Five Armies at all and you think you might want to, you might want to hold off reading this until then. Spoilers behind the fold!

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Movie review: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Second Viewing

Dara and I went out last night with friends for her first viewing of Five Armies and my second one. My overall reaction to the movie remains pretty close to my initial one, i.e., I’m clocking it in at a B-.

I’m overall still pretty happy with the movies we got; as I said in my initial post, I’d rather spend time talking about what I love about these movies rather than lambasting Mr. Jackson for the movies he didn’t make. And with that in mind, I wanted to address a couple of things from Dara’s reactions that actually make me feel better about certain things I talked about in the first post.

Everyone to the gate for SPOILERS!

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Movie review: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

I have seen Five Armies! All hail Paul who got invited to a private early showing courtesy of his brand new workplace, and since he was able to bring a guest, I came with him. So we just got home from seeing the movie!

First, the spoiler-free picoreview: if you didn’t like Unexpected Journey or Desolation of Smaug, you probably won’t like Five Armies either. But I for one enjoyed myself immensely, and as I told folks at work today, I was already a hundred percent on board with Jackson’s story. This movie didn’t do anything to shake me off of that.

Parts of the movie played kind of weirdly shakily to me. Parts were played out in ways I was not expecting at all. One side character was entirely unnecessary. But Mr. Freeman and Mr. Armitage were every bit as spectacular as expected, and all the parts that I expected to make me go *WAUGH* did in fact do so. My only regret is that we had to leave the theater before I could give a full proper listen to Mr. Boyd’s song over the closing credits. I will be making a point of listening to that properly on my second viewing.

Full commentary, with spoilers, is behind the fold (or over on, if you’re seeing this on LJ or Dreamwidth). If you’re reading this on LJ or Dreamwidth, come on over to’s master post to comment. Ditto if you clicked in from Facebook or Twitter or G+ or Tumblr–I ask that you leave spoiler commentary on this post in order to keep it away from folks who haven’t seen the movie yet.

(And one other thing: with all due respect, please don’t rant at me about how much you’re hating Jackson’s movies on my post. I don’t need to hear you ranting about how it should have been just one movie or two. I PARTICULARLY don’t need to hear it if you hate Tauriel and everything her character stands for.

Believe me, The Hobbit is a critical, formative part of my childhood, too. And I get the feeling of betrayal if a screen adaptation of a movie actively breaks part of your childhood for you. But I don’t subscribe to that myself. My childhood is not broken because Jackson’s movies don’t line up with the story in my head when I read the book. Because look, people, we still have the book. Tolkien’s immortal words are not damaged or erased from history because Jackson chose to implement a different version of the story. The original still exists and we can read it as often as we like.

I’m not saying these movies are perfect, and I certainly don’t think they quite measure up to The Lord of the Rings movies. But I do actively enjoy them. Ranting at me about how much you hate them will only make us both sad. For all the flaws I find in this trilogy, I do still actively love it, and I much prefer to celebrate what I love about the movies we got rather than wasting my time ranting about the movies we didn’t get. I will acknowledge their flaws, yes, but I will also take great pleasure in the things I love about them.

If the second movie actively pissed you off, just save yourself time and trouble and don’t go see the third one. Nobody needs to hit themselves over the head with a hammer like that. Hitting yourself over the head with a hammer hurts. So don’t do that, okay? Okay.)

And now at last: to the gates! For SPOILERS!

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All hands, brace for *WAAAAAAUGH*

I’m starting to see my fellow Tolkien fans ramping up the discussion and pre-commiseration about how we’re all expecting The Battle of the Five Armies to turn us into blubbering messes, ’cause yeah, we know who’s going to not be surviving the battle. Because AUGH.

I have every expectation that I’ll be an absolute wreck by the time the credits roll on this new film. How do I know? Not only because I’ve read the book repeatedly and know what’s coming, but ALSO because I’ve seen Richard Armitage bring such gravitas and nobility to the role of Thorin that I just KNOW I’m going to sob at Thorin’s eventual fate. And now that Fili and Kili have won my heart, ditto. The Battle of Five Armies in the book, short as it is (all the action takes place over a scant small number of pages), really has only enough time to pack a general punch. And since the dwarves in the book are all very broadly sketched characters anyway, it’s harder to have more than a general ‘well, that’s sad’ reaction to their deaths. The dwarves in the book are pretty interchangeable and mostly distinguishable by the colors of their hoods and what instruments they play (details which mostly evaporate once you’re past the first chapter, too).

But in the movies, now, we’ve had time to bond with these characters. And when you throw this together with Howard Shore’s musical direction AND the previous track record that the Lord of the Rings movies established with me–yeah. I’ll be bawling by the time the credits roll on this.

Here now, in honor of that, is a roundup of the moments in the Lord of the Rings trilogy that move me to tears, even now, a decade after those movies came out.

Fellowship of the Ring:

  • Gandalf falling into the abyss in Moria–and the anguished reactions from the rest of the Fellowship as they flee, particularly Frodo’s scream.
  • Boromir to Aragorn in Lothlorien: “Have you ever been called home by the clear ringing of silver trumpets?”
  • Boromir’s entire death scene, from the point where he roars into battle with the stream of oncoming orcs to where he gasps his last words to Aragorn: “My brother… my captain… my king.”
  • Sam wading out after Frodo even though he can’t fucking swim: “I made a promise, Mr. Frodo! A promise! ‘Don’t you leave him, Samwise Gamgee!’ And I don’t mean to!”

The Two Towers:

  • Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas reuniting with Gandalf.
  • Gandalf breaking the spell on Théoden, and the look of joy on the king’s face as he sees Éowyn beside him.
  • When Haldir dies at the Battle of Helm’s Deep.
  • Smeagol’s temporary victory over Gollum in Gollum’s pointy little head. Makes you want to hug him. ALSO, Gollum’s reaction to Faramir’s men catching him at the pool, and how his realizing Frodo has betrayed him shatters that temporary Smeagol victory.
  • Théoden at the battle: “Where is the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing? They have passed like rain on the mountain, like wind in the meadow. The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow. How did it come to this?”
  • More Théoden at the battle: “Let this be the hour when we draw swords together. Fell deeds awake. Now for wrath, now for ruin, and the red dawn. Forth, Eorlingas!”
  • The shining, radiant glory of Gandalf leading Éomer and the Rohirrim down the hill to save the day.

Return of the King:

  • Faramir’s last desperate assault on Osgiliath, trying to win it back for Gondor and do SOMETHING to make his father love him, while Billy Boyd sings over the action.
  • Théoden’s death at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
  • Again, Sam: “I can’t carry it for you, Mr. Frodo–but I can carry you!”
  • And Sam and Frodo, on the burning slopes of Mount Doom: “If ever I were to marry someone, Mr. Frodo, it would have been her!” And, “I’m glad to be with you, Samwise Gamgee, here at the end of all things.”

    (And oh hell, Elijah Wood’s FACE through pretty much this entire movie. The man is a master of the You Have Not Only Run Over My Puppy, You Have Dismembered It AND Set It on Fire face.)

  • Frodo: “We set out to save the Shire, Sam. And it has been saved… but not for me.”
  • The entire scene with Frodo and Bilbo departing on the ship for the West.
  • And “Into the West”. OH GOD. Really, this whole movie starts me crying about halfway through, and by the time Annie Lennox starts singing over the credits, I’m wrecked. Lennox is just there to finish me off. But OH GOD that song. It’s why I can’t listen to the Return of the King soundtrack very often.

How about you, my fellow Tolkien nerds? What are the bits of these movies that slay you?