By Fred Arnold
Contains Spoilers– The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has breathtaking scenes, cinematic action that rivals its predecessors, and a slice of back story that adds to the broader part of The Lord of the Rings universe. With all that cinematic gold though, Peter Jackson fell short with sloppy over dramatizations that seemed forced.
In the book Tauriel does not exist, and this simple fact made her character seem out of place within the movie. The Hobbit had no love story to it, and the book does not suffer. The story is about Bilbo and the company of dwarves, not a half-muddled romance that goes against the demographics of Tolkien’s three races. In addition, the wide arcs in story line Jackson took from the appendices of The Lord of the Rings left audiences dripping with questions. A cliff-hanger within a plot is a fine way to end the first and second movie within a trilogy, but the audience expects no questions left after a finale. Obviously the movie continues with The Lord of the Rings, but fans will be left with a lopsided notion of the lore behind the universe. Angmar, Tauriel, Legolas, Saruman, Sauron and Erebor are all left in shadow as the end credits roll and a confused audience cannot make heads or tales of a Middle-Earth timeline.
One of the issues in this Trilogy would be the fact that the Middle-Earth universe extends years and years and years. Tolkien, in his appendices, papers, and other stories, devised his world with many layers that are hard to capture on screen. Since Jackson wished to make The Hobbit into three movies, Jackson added a lot of back story that can be lost on the audience. Do not be fooled: Legolas does not exist in The Hobbit, Kili does not fall for an elf, and Galadriel does not fight off Sauron. The list of adaptation from canon to movie can extend pages upon pages – and it actually does right here: http://www.theonering.com/complete-list-of-film-changes – but one must always remember that a movie is not a book. The problem with Jackson’s rendition, however, is that he included so much back story and adaptation that it takes away from the main character, Bilbo, and this sad truth is no different for The Battle of the Five Armies.
Another downfall of the film finds its way in the form of depressing one-liners that seem to break the ambience of action and adventure. The scenes of Tauriel and Kili always have awkwardness to them, while Thranduil’s last line about true love will make most gag, which just proves that The Hobbit does not make a love story.
Despite the forced loved story, the inconsistent back story that strays from canon by leaps and bounds and the glancing over of the main character, the acting and effects are stunningly done. The action is fast paced and plentiful. One thing the trilogy did well was make the audience feel as if they went on the adventure with Bilbo and that effect is carried on in the last installment of The Hobbit. Also, the first fight between Smaug and Bard was one of the best beginnings to a movie since Jurassic Park.
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