Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Last Goodbye


Two years ago I begin this blog with a post about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I was speculating on how the trilogy would progress considering The Hobbit was one book and it became three long movies. We of course know that many details have been filled in by appendicitis and written by Tolkien on all the events surrounding Bilbo and the dwarfs. And with the final film The Battle of the Five Armies finally hitting theaters, the story has come to an end.

SPOILERS to come

Story wise, The Battle of the Five Armies was not the strongest. It needed more story, really. It begins with Smaug's defeat at the hands of Bard the Bowman. And then we see what we also expected, the gold sickness invading Throin's mind, like it did his grandfather. Thorin turns his back on the promise to compensate the people of Laketown for their aid, even after Smaug destroyed their home. Then there was the King of the Woodland Elves, Thranduil. Envying the wealth of Erobor, he led his army to the Lonely Mountain to reclaim "elven property" after Smaug's death. Even before men and elves came calling, Thorin was determined to keep all his peoples wealth. Now with two armies (one was really just refugees from Laketown) at his door, Thorin chose war and sent for the aid of his cousin, Dain Ironfoot, lord of the Iron Hills.

That only bring us to three armies. Azog was still hinting Thorin and proved to be a skilled commander. He Ambushed the dwarfs, men, and elves between Erobor and the ruins of Dale, keeping their forces occupied while a second force of orcs was on it's way to complete the massacre. It was only the intervention by the fifth army of eagles that defeated the orcs. This all happens in the book, animated film, and here in the feature film.What lengthens the film and fills out the story is Gandalf's rescue from Dol Guldur. Galadriel, Elrond, and Saruman the White battled orcs, the Ring Wraiths, and a reforming Sauron while Radagast the Brown took Gandalf to safety. This begins the setup for the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

At about two and a half hours, there was a lot in this film. But it did feel a little rushed at the end and I was wanting some more details. An odd thing to ask for when a single book has been stretched into three movies. But after the battle, we don't really see or hear what happens to the dwarfs afterward. Bilbo says his goodbye and returns top the shire. Fans of the books know who became the lord of Erobor and who was crowned as the new king of Dale. Although watching the film, you would know who the new King would be. But I was craving a little more. There was not even a scene memorializing Thorin. Just the surviving members of his company and Bilbo crying over his body. Although I can only imagine some of these things might appear in the eventual extended addition. The final image is Bilbo answering his door to find Gandalf, who is in the shire to celebrate the Hobbit's 111th birthday.

Over all, it was still a great film. I enjoyed it a lot and so did the others in the theater. The deaths of some of the main characters brought people to tears, but the most saddening part is the knowledge of this franchises end. Oh, I'm sure at some point there will be a reboot of The Lord of the Rigs and The Hobbit. There is too much money to be made fore a studio to not try. Of course someone cold also try and adapt stories from the Silmarillion. But for now, this is all we have. And this is the final farewell for the franchise and these characters on screen.



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