Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Movie Review: The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

Happy New Year! In 2015, I resolve to: Enjoy!

Here at the Fragrant Household, we ushered in the future by giving our money to Peter Jackson, his cast and crew, and the Showcase Superlux.

Without further ado, here is an opinion-sprinkled recap of:

The Setup
Smaug is burning up Lake Town because he thinks they helped Thorin and Co., who in the last movie poured piping hot gold on the greedy dragon. It did not work as intended.

As the townfolk flee, the Master and his awful assistant Alfred escape with the town's treasures. Bard uses his jail bedsheet and contrivance to escape and clamber to a high tower. He fires at Smaug and runs out of arrows, but his son is there with a giant javelin!

Bard uses Penetrate Weak Spot! It's super effective! Smaug is dead! Now everyone and their mother look toward the treasures Smaug had been hoarding.

Thandruil Wants His Shiny
The king of the forest elves is first on the scene, with his army. "The heirlooms of my people are not easily abandoned," he intones, when Bard asks him why he would risk war for a necklace.

Bard goes and tries to reason with Thorin. He fails because he opened with easily-countered arguments, e.g. "We don't have a home!" to which Thorin is like, "Did you not see the first movie?"

Thorin Wants All the Shinies
Bilbo is worried because Thorin has replaced sleeping and eating with salivating over his grandpa's treasure hoard and roaring about finding the Arkenstone. The other dwarves are too loyal to question him, leaving Bilbo to have tender conversations about acorns with the now-mad King Under the Mountain. Thorin is so far gone that he starts talking in slow motion and also walks around with Revlon winds blowing at him constantly. At one point, he has a bad acid trip where he sinks into the solid gold floor.

Gandalf gets beat up so it's up to Galadriel to save him! She uses Bright Light! It's not very effective! The Ringwraiths from The Lord of the Rings attack!

Saruman, Elrond, and their wigs come to the rescue! Suddenly, Sauron's figure appears within the Fiery Vajayjay of Mordor! This time, Galadriel goes all Zombie Elf Queen with Insane Ring of Power! It works, but she's exhausted!

"Leave Sauron to me," says Saruman. Foreshadowing for LOTR is 25% complete.

Bilbo Sneakily Sneaks
Bilbo leaves the mountain and gives the Arkenstone to Bard, Thandruil, and Gandalf, figuring Thorin would negotiate to get it back. The humans and elves march to the mountain to see if Thorin will see reason. When that fails, Bilbo 'fesses up, and Thorin orders him hurled from the parapet. Fortunately, Bilbo's karma credit score with the other dwarves is 750, so they let him rappel down the wall instead.

Tauriel and Legolas would like to remind you that they are in this movie! They find out about the vicious war-bats of a super sikrot orc army and race back to warn their allies.

The Battle Begins
Thorin's nutty cousin Dain appears with a dwarf army. As the elves prepare to fight, an orc army (the not-sikrot one) pours out of the hills. The dwarves race past the elves to engage the new foe. They slam down their shields into the ground to make a straight-line version of the Spartan's shield-and-spear porcupine formation at the end of 300. It looks like the elves are staying out of it...but no! They vault over the dwarves and go stabby-stabby at the bad guys!

While all this is going on, Azog the Defiler, the brains behind the operation, orders a second wave to attack the undefended city of Dale, where the human refugees fled. Bard and his men rush back to the city, where Bard makes sure to fulfill the movie's quota of at least one (1) High-Speed Attack Using Unlikely Item.

The Battle Turns
The dwarves are on the verge of being overwhelmed, Thandruil is pissed off because his Battle Elk got arrowed, and the humans are doing so badly that the women take up farm implements to join the fighting. In the midst of all this, Alfred and his monobrow still somehow do not get gruesomely killed, which would have led to audience cheers.

Thorin comes to his senses and leads his band on a roaring rampage straight to the orcs! Then he realizes that Azog, who killed his father, is calling the shots from a fortress on a mountaintop! Thorin takes a literal Battering Ram and his best warriors to confirm if Azog ordered an appetizer of icy plunge with a side order of sword to the chest, hold the fountain of blood.

Legolas and Tauriel arrive in Dale and announce the impending attack from the north, but Thandruil is all, "I'm too pretty to care." Bilbo volunteers to go warn Thorin, who would be stuck on the mountaintop when the new army comes. Legolas decides to also go help Thorin, using a war-bat to complete the first of the movie's three (3) required Scenes of Legolas Defying the Laws of Physics.

The Battle Peaks
Bilbo uses the Ring of Power to go invisible and successfully warn Thorin, who decides to leave the fortress. But Azog kills Fili and he must be aveeeeeeenged!!! Tauriel gets the snot beaten out of her by Azog's lieutenant. Kili comes to the rescue but gets Kili-ed instead. Dammit, that pun doesn't work.

Legolas sees Tauriel in peril and defies physics again to create a bridge out of a watchtower so he and whatsisface can duke it out. He takes a brief second to save Thorin from certain death via flying sword, then performs his final ridiculous act by running to safety using the crumbling tower blocks as stepping stones.

Azog uses a block on a chain to fight Thorin, who eventually figures out that the fastest way to win this boss battle is to let Azog break apart the ice under their feet and then unbalance him so he sinks to his watery, ice-cold death. Naturally, this does not quite work, and they end up stabbing each other in the chest. But Thorin is on top, so that means he wins! The war is over!

Oh yes, and the eagles swoop in to save the day. Bit too late for Thorin, though.

And So It Ends
Bilbo keens his anguish over Thorin's corpse in what is really a touching scene. Legolas sees Tauriel grieving over Kili and tells his daddy he can't come home anymore, can he please have his allowance via monthly wire transfers, and Thandruil says he should go to and check out this guy Strider. LOTR foreshadowing 50% complete. Then Thandruil and Tauriel resolve their differences because true love and also tragic loss.

Thorin's company bids farewell to Bilbo, reminding the audience that the only one they really knew was Balin, and maybe Bombur since he was The Fat One.

Bilbo and Gandalf part ways at the borders of the Shire. Gandalf reveals that he knew about Bilbo's magic ring all along. LOTR foreshadowing 75% complete.

Back home, Bilbo discovers he's been classified as deceased and interrupts the auction for his belongings. He goes into his now-empty hobbit hole and, in another great, wordless scene, radiates relief at being home at last.

Cut to: older Bilbo about to celebrate his birthday, Gandalf knocking on the door, and LOTR foreshadowing 100% complete. The end, and a new beginning.

TL; DR: The shortest Hobbit film. Now buy the complete Blu-ray collection!

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