The Bagg End

Well, it's over. Our last (first) adventure in Middle Earth now draws to a close as the story that began in 2001's Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring comes full circle. Does The Battle of the Five Armies send the series out on a high note? Or will fans be leaving the theater underwhelmed? I'm afraid the answer depends on how you manage your expectations. Yep, I went there again and said the E word because unfortunately they got in the way this time.

Very rarely do I see an adaptation of the film and truly regret that I hadn't read the book before. But in this case...I feel that if I had been aware of certain plot points from the get-go I wouldn't have felt like a victim of a bait and switch. To read my tiny spoiler-filled rant highlight the following in white. Look. I freaking loved Benedict Cumberbatch's Smaug. LOVED HIM. The best part of the series. Excuse me for being so stupid to expect he'd play a larger role in this one when it ended with the amazing "I am fire! I am death!" lines. To have him disposed of so quickly felt like a disservice to the character and the last entry he appeared in. Look okay, I just really liked that dragon. [/end of rant] Sorry book fans, I'm just not as smart as you. So some things I expect to happen that oh so obviously wouldn't have...make me feel a little cheated.

Now that I have that off my chest I'll discuss the greater majority of the film. We finally get the Lord of the Rings-esque battles we've been craving and they're incredibly fun to watch...if not filled with some outrageously over-the-top moments. For me the over-the-top moments were, unfortunately, a lot more than I wanted and kind of color the film as more of a popcorn film than a serious adaptation of a classic epic (not that The Hobbit is supposed to be on the same grandiose level as Lord of the Rings...I get that.) That said, the wonderful allegories and heartwarming speeches that have always been prevalent in the series (and one of my favorite aspects of it,) are still here. So it's not ALL jokey.

Now for more of the good. Can I tell you how much I love Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins? Here he's given several moments where his incredible courage can't help but endear you to him. For me, he's the star of the show and one of my favorite parts about these movies. It's an incredible help when you have a protagonist you can root for. Also giving it their all this time around would be Richard Armitage as Thorin. He plays the character shifts brilliantly and you truly never know what he's going to do next. And his storyline in this film is one of my favorite plot points. It's what I WISH Voyage of the Dawn Treader could have been. Hey, PJ if you've got nothing to do now there's a Narnia franchise you could reboot...

The movie also gets points with Lee Pace riding a battle moose/reindeer.

Ultimately The Battle of the Five Armies moves the chess pieces into place to where they need to be when we start Fellowship of the Ring...I just didn't leave the theater with the exhilarating feeling Return of the King left me with 11 years ago at the conclusion of its trilogy. Still...what can I say? I'm a sucker for middle earth under any occasion. EMILY RATING: 7.5


Johanna said...

He should do the Chronicles of Narnia. Tolkien and Lewis were friends. It would be good Karma.

Sarah said...

I agree that he would do Narnia justice.

They made a lot more out of the book than was there, but I have enjoyed the first two Hobbit films. However, I agree that they aren't the same as The Lord of the Rings.

Still, I am sure I will enjoy this movie quite a bit.