Since seeing this in the theatre, I have read different reviews: ones that don't like the entire trilogy and Peter Jackson's execution of it, and other that love the trilogy. Now I have not read The Hobbit – I'm planning on reading it this year – and I'm honestly not really excited to because it is a children's story, whereas the LOTR is not. I know the plot, though, and I don't love the idea of a treasure hunt. I love the LOTR because it has a point – trying to save Middle Earth. So first off, I love that Peter Jackson adapted the story so that more is at stake. I love that these movies are not just about a dragon and treasure, but that there is an actual evil force that needs to be destroyed. There is a lot more danger, good vs. evil and bravery (which I was all over). With that, I loved. this. movie. I read a couple reviews that claimed that BOTFA didn't have a lot of Hobbit or Tolkien in it. I have to agree with that a little (there is a love story that is very un-Tolkien-ish, and I kind of loved it #noshame), but unlike those reviewers, I think the movie retained a lot of hobbit wisdom. Of course it's not going to be full of hobbits, because there is only one in the entire trilogy, but I feel like the spirit of the hobbits and their common sense was present throughout the final film. I'm gonna go through some of that real quick before I get into the other stuff I loved (oh, we are just getting started).
Bilbo is small, but he is brave. Like Frodo, he seems like the least likely person in the story to be brave. When he is faced with a mission, when he has a chance to do the right thing, bravery seems like second nature. Maybe, when a hobbit is faced with a situation in which his friends are in danger, his fear of danger is drowned by his fear for their safety. Which would mean that in addition to bravery, another attribute of hobbits is selflessness, or love. Bilbo's wisdom overwhelms his fear as well. In the film, when he keeps the Arkenstone from Thorin, he risks his life (Thorin would do anything to get that stone) to do what is better for Thorin in the end and keeps him from being completely overtaken by the Dragon sickness. Bilbo is also incredibly loyal. Not the sort of loyal that follows Thorin blindly in whatever he does, but the sort that inspires him to risk his life to do what is best for his friends, even if they don't see it that way. Finally, there's the plain old wisdom and common sense the hobbits became known for in the LOTR. The wisdom that comes from a simple people small of stature but great of heart – wisdom that is unclouded by the greed of dwarves and men, wisdom that is unblemished by pride. Tolkien's message has always been this: even the smallest person can change the course of the future. Bilbo's role in the BOTFA (Battle of the Five Armies) is simply another example of that message that has been central in LOTR and now in the Hobbit films.
Now I have no idea how this is all worked out in the book, but for me, the trilogy demonstrated an understanding of the principles that govern Tolkien's hobbits – I just listed a few that stood out to me.
Next, I want to talk about my favorite part of the film. The fighting was all amazing, Bard doing his thing in Laketown was awesome, Thorin's cousin dwarf was sweet, that time the elves jumped over the dwarves was the best, but my favorite part (and the first time I cried) was when the dwarves came charging out of the mountain, yelling at the top of their lungs and following their king. I kind of lost it. They were such a small group against such a huge enemy force, but their appearance changed the tide of the battle and revived their allies. I just loved that part. I would see the whole movie again just to see that one scene.
Finally, before I get onto the fun stuff, I want to talk about bravery (you knew it was coming). Sitting in the theater watching this movie, crying through the end and hoping my waterproof mascara was as waterproof as it claimed, one thought kept going through my head as I sat there. "There are so many brave people in this movie." I already talked about Bilbo, but there was Thorin towards the end (after the epic running out of the mountain part), Legolas and Tauriel (when the battle was really none of their business: T was chasing her man crush and Legolas was chasing his wom– whatever), Thranduil (even though he was a major jerk), and Kili (who basically sacrificed himself for Tauriel) (he rocks). So much bravery and sacrifice and even though the battle had begun over treasure, greed had awoke a greater evil in the Necromancer (which would later come to fruition in LOTR) and so the stakes seemed so much higher by the end of the film. Now, granted, it would have been better for Thorin to have shared with Bard/Laketown, buuuuut, he didn't. Anyway, there was so much bravery among the dwarves, certain elves, Bilbo and that was what stood out to me the most. And now, I'm going to run through the fun stuff I loved quick because I need to wrap this up. ASAP. I mean, look how long it is!?
First, the love story between Kili and Tauriel. Um. Yes. I have to say this one was better than the *thing* between Arwen and Aragorn in the LOTR. I never really liked Arwen. I think Aragorn should have gotten together with Eowyn, but that may just be because Aragorn is like my favorite fictional guy evah and I just think Eowyn rocks. K, done. Anyway, I really enjoyed that between Tauriel and Kili: I think Kili was nothing short of awesome and Tauriel was ahhh-mazing! I had always wanted a female version of Legolas, I just didn't know until now. Her red hair is so good and her fighting is seriously on point. And even though I know that such a thing would never happen between a dwarf and an elf, I think Peter Jackson really did a good job with it. The ending really couldn't have been better, because would they really have worked out if they had both made it? Not sure 'bout that. Also. Legolas. He is back, except in the past, and older than in LOTR, but not really. What? And yes, it's nearing that hour of the night where I am no longer coherent. He is back and maybe even better(?) than in LOTR, even though there was no sliding down stairs on an orc shield. His fighting is super awesome and it was fun seeing him get snubbed by Tauriel. Next, I really did not want that slimy sniveling dude who reminded me of Wormtongue and whose name I really forget to live. He was such a jerk. Although that one scene was pretty funny (you know the one).
Last but not least, the visuals in this film kind of blew me away. The Middle Earth films are by far my favorites when it comes to the all around visual amazing-ness. It's incredible.
And now I should probably wrap this up. I'm sure I left something out (the brain's not exactly functioning at its highest capacity at the moment), so I may have to write a follow-up post, but, let's hope not, because this was way too long. The Battle of the Five Armies has its faults, but it also has moments of endearing hobbit-ness, lots of bravery, and some scenes I will remember forever. It's really sad to think there won't be any more Middle Earth films for a while, but I plan on doing a major re-watch every six months or so (major marathon possibilities). Congratulations if you made it through this whole thing, and may the force be with you (oh, wrong franchise. oops)
(btw, what is with the parentheses?)