Wednesday, December 24, 2014

THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES, from the house of Beorn



Ok. NOW I've seen it twice, and can process the "epic-ness" even easier.
The film was very emotionally gripping, I have to say. There are a bunch of things that I could probably go on all day yammering about.

Should I start with the opening scene in Laketown? Bard shows a lot of guts running around on those rooftops with the place on fire, climbing up that tower and firing at Smaug until... one arrow left! It flies... NO! It didn't scratch him! Now what's he gonna do????
Bain showed a lot too, retrieving the huge black arrow from where he hid it and bringing it to Bard. I thought it was pretty crazy seeing the dragon talking to Bard and trying to discourage him where he stood. But I definitely did not expect that makeshift crossbow and using Bain's shoulder to mount the arrow. Now that moment was something else. It was very clever, and an interesting father/son thing in my eyes. Notice how afraid Bain is and Bard tries to sooth him until he shoots? And then what happens? I THINK YOU KNOW!

I cracked up seeing Alfrid, just SO quick to change sides, fleeing with gold and the master one minute and then yelling "All hail King Bard!" the next. "A born leader!"  HAHAH! Silly little weasel, Alfrid (I don't think I even need to describe how ridiculous he looks/acts when see him in his last portion of the movie).

Now onto the dwarves' side of the lake, in the mountain. The struggling conflict in Bilbo is clear when we see how the dragon sickness takes its toll on Thorin. I remember when I saw the second film I thought "He must have picked up the Arkenstone right after he put the ring on," and seeing that little flashback from Bilbo's perspective (as opposed to Smaug's in the last film) was literally showing the picture I'd made in my head. "I KNEW IT!" I thought as he took the glowing stone out of his pocket. That moment later when Thorin appears and demands what Bilbo has in his hand was intense and suspenseful itself, up until realizing with relief it was an acorn from [the other] Beorn's garden.
Seeing Thorin give Bilbo the mithril shirt was interesting. and I loved seeing that connection to Lord of the Rings fall into place perfectly.
But then came Thorin repeating Smaug's words "I will not part with a single coin..." Showing Bilbo just how far he was willing to go.

I've seen Open Season and Brave, so I was already way too familiar with Billy Connolly. I thought he was hilarious (the voice/accent alone!) calling Thranduil a sprite for example. Definitely tough, though, not one to be messed with. And I had barely seen any details of what Dain was going to look like, save a mane of red hair in a wide camera shot. So it was fun watching him fight and talk while riding on his giant pig (which I also found quite amusing).
Ok, Radagast and Beorn coming along with the eagles was epic! Changing into a bear and barreling through all those orcs? I kind of wish there was more of that to see, but still it was awesome.

I know a lot of purist fans don't like the addition of Tauriel. But I still do, and I find the subplot between her and Kili very touching. Much like the scene in the elf dungeons, I loved watching the part with them by the lake getting ready to leave. For those of you who don't know, the runes on Kili's stone say RETURN TO ME.
Seeing her upset over his demise may have tugged at the heartstrings even more than the fight scene itself.
Tauriel- "Why does it hurt so much?"
Thranduil- "Because it was real." That really hit home. And so did Thorin's last scene, no question. (It was adapted just right, Peter Jackson is a genius). That was such a sad one, seeing the hobbit cry over his friend after parting in friendship.

On a more positive note, the ending itself was great. It was crazy seeing that big auction outside Bilbo's house just like in the book, and then going back (or should I say forward?) to where we left off in present-day Hobbiton with old Bilbo. That scene made me smile, seeing The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings really weave together with that reunion of Gandalf and Bilbo.

It's a very, very bittersweet thing seeing the last Middle Earth movie there's ever going to be. But at least the entire six-film saga was no less than incredible, and the final film ended on a high note. I couldn't think of a better way to finish the film, or the series itself.
Thankfully, 'cause of the fans of the books and the films, and the people who brought the stories to life, the memory of Middle Earth isn't gonna die. I'll see to it, and do my part. Who's with me?