It feels a bit weird, writing this post. Back when I first started this blog, we were just getting ready for the release of An Unexpected Journey, and I’ve written quite a bit about the Hobbit movies in general. They’ve been a big part of my blog from its very inception. To know that this is likely the last Hobbit post I will ever write…well, it’s sad. But as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have shown us, stories must end, and journeys must reach their destinations. So follow me one last time, dear readers, as we return to Erebor and fight in The Battle of the Five Armies.
Smaug is offed fairly early, which I was expecting since he wasn’t around for very long in the book (one of the rare things Peter Jackson didn’t fiddle with). Although the Bard vs. Smaug showdown didn’t transpire quite the way it did in the book, it was still awesome. I may not be happy with most of what Jackson has done to The Hobbit, but I will praise him for how he wrote Bard. I will give him that. It almost makes up for his character assassination of Faramir in The Two Towers–almost.
The White Council vs. the Necromancer was a little disappointing for me. Don’t get me wrong; it was very impressive…I guess I just always envisioned it going down a little differently. It seemed kind of short, and I thought there were more people on the White Council (I’m pretty sure Celeborn was supposed to be there, for one thing). Personally, I think it should have been longer. Yes, the movie was already long, but there were certain things that weren’t in the book that could have been left out and left plenty of room for an extended White Council scene.
The titular battle was everything we were promised–extravagant, impressive, full of awesome people doing awesome things. It impressed upon me the realization that I need my own personal Elf army and a war goat. And a curious thing happened to me during the battle–I found myself wishing that Thorin, Fili, and Kili would survive. I knew they had to die; I didn’t think Jackson would deviate that wildly from the book, but at the same time I didn’t want to see them go. Granted, their deaths didn’t transpire quite the way they did in the book, but I was still genuinely sad when they died.
And they included the auction scene at the end! After Jackson cut the Scouring of the Shire from The Return of the King, I thought the auction of Bag End might suffer a similar fate.
Those were the things I loved about the movie. But, of course, there were some changes I didn’t really like.
- As impressive as the battle was, it felt as though the battle was 90% of the movie and that we didn’t have much of a plot because of that. I think the battle had a total of one chapter in the book; did it really need to be 90% of the movie? The lack of a more well-developed plot made parts of the movie feel disjointed.
- I kind of wish they had shown Thorin’s funeral and Dain’s coronation as King under the Mountain. Ah, well, that’s what extended editions are for.
- Kili/Tauriel: Because Kili is going to die, we’re going to make this as disgustingly mushy as possible!
- Would it have killed Jackson to provide us with a decent resolution to Tauriel’s story line? Not that open-ended, “If this is love, I do not want it. Take it from me.” What the heck happened next!? Is this your way of trying to make another movie!?
- What the–why is Legolas going off on his own little journey? That never happened! And why are you sending him after Aragorn; that never happened, either! You didn’t even get his name right; he was known as Strider only to the people of Bree! Among the Elves, he was known as Estel!
- Bonus (this wasn’t annoying so much as something that struck me as amusing): Legolas is telling Tauriel how his mother died at Gundabar. Let’s see…she doesn’t have a grave…his father doesn’t like to talk about it…are we taking any bets she was turned into an Orc? It’s certainly the kind of thing Jackson would do, and after that exchange, I half-expected either Thranduil or Legolas to come face-to-face with an Orc during the battle and somehow discover the Orc used to be their wife/mother. Of course, if Legolas had discovered that, say, Bolg used to be his mother, he probably would have ridden off in search of therapy instead of Aragorn.
As the concluding leg of a film trilogy, The Return of the King is better by far. Out of all of the Hobbit films, I would say An Unexpected Journey is probably the best because it deviates the least from the book (there are embellishments, yes, but at least you can still recognize it as The Hobbit). But The Battle of the Five Armies is still enjoyable on its own account, and I’m glad I got the chance to see it in the theater. I’m also glad that I’ve had the chance to share it with others, and this journey of Hobbit posts and reviews is one I will never forget.
And we can all breathe a sigh of relief that the madness is over, and Peter Jackson can never, ever touch The Silmarillion.