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19 December 2014 @ 02:23 pm
The Battle of the Five Armies: Review/Reaction Post  

To say that I was affected by The Battle of the Five Armies would be a severe understatement. It emotionally fucked me up, I was sobbing during the last thirty minutes, while with the rest of the film I felt like I was holding my breath, anticipating what was going to come next. Even though I had read the book and knew what was going to happen it still didn't prepare me for the outcome on the big screen. And it exceeded everything I was hoping for and then some, thus breaking my heart into thousands of little pieces before stomping on them repeatedly. This is vastly different to how it was for me last year with Desolation of Smaug, which I was really excited about and felt so elated with the film afterwards, that I wanted to go see it again immediately. The Battle of the Five Armies wasn't just an actiony battle movie, it was a deeply emotional film where you have to spend some time afterwards dealing with your emotions (picking up your shattered heart off the floor, basically) and absorbing what you had just watched before considering seeing it again. That is a high compliment, in my opinion.

I honestly want to write so much about this film, but honestly my brain too scattered and I'm still processing everything. But here are some key points that I want to mention:

** EVERYTHING IS BILBO/THORIN AND EVERYTHING HURTS. ;__; I'm actually planning a separate post for these two alone, because most of my commentary on the film has to do with them since they were all I thought about before, during and long afterwards, and quite frankly they deserve their own post after the heartache that happened and I can literally write several essays about them. But I will say this one thing: BOTFA pretty much solidified how canon they are. Just the fact that there are people who never once considered shipping them have admitted to now shipping them because of this film speaks for itself. All their scenes, which I'll talk about for their own post, broke me. In the best and worst possible way.

** RICHARD ARMITAGE, just, holy fuck. I cannot praise this man enough. His performance in this film was beyond phenomenal, and he deserves all the awards. Nobody else could ever portray this beautiful tragic character of Thorin Oakenshield like he does, and I'm hoping he gets all the proper recognition he rightly deserves. ♥ ♥ ♥

(And I have more to talk about Thorin too, which will be included in the Bilbo/Thorin post later on, because I also can go on forever.)

** I am super happy and relieved that the Bardlings survived, same with Tauriel. Those were the two biggest concerns that I, and many people, were having for the final film.

** The fact that the women of Laketown were fighting alongside the men made me really happy. This is something I had wanted to see ever since LOTR (with the women going into hiding while the men and young boys went to war), and something I really wanted to see happen anywhere in Middle-earth is more women picking up weapons and going to battle. And we finally got that, with them going "fuck that, we live with our men we will fight beside them!" The women of Laketown were proactive in this film and it came as such a pleasant surprise, it made me really happy, so so happy.

** GALADRIEL. KICKING ASS AND TAKING NAMES, MAINLY SAURON'S. I MEAN. HOLY SHIT. WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE HOW AMAZING THAT SCENE WAS.

** Dain was pretty damn awesome, not gonna lie. I also liked that little bit where the Mexican standoff between the Dwarves, Men and Elves was similar to a schoolyard squabble, especially with Dain insulting Thranduil and the dwarves laughing when he made an excellent burn. It makes all the bickering in fics more canon now, lol.

** I know some people are concerned about the way Thranduil has been portrayed in the films, but I quite like the way his character was presented. There's definitely more history with him that led him to become the way he was which is slightly revealed, and we got a little bit of that in BOTFA. The mentioning of his deceased wife, Legolas's mother, is something I was quite pleasantly shocked that was even mentioned, because I don't think Tolkien mentioned anything about her. So having some backstory on that was great, it gave some insight to who Thranduil was and the decisions he made, why he was so overly protective of his realm in Mirkwood which would seem rather cold or distant or unconcerned about other lands. In the end, I liked the way we saw bits and pieces of that guard dissolve, with him letting Legolas go and reconciling with Tauriel.

** That ending was so satisfying, with Bilbo returning to the Shire and seeing how much he changed from the simple respectable Hobbit before rushing out his front door (him picking up the handkerchief, the one he left behind, was such a touching moment because it really was symbolic for how such a simple thing he was so concerned about when he first went on the journey seems really small in comparison of everything he went through), and the transition of him fiddling with the ring in his pocket to older!Bilbo fiddling with the ring. And then going right into where FOTR begins with Gandalf appearing at his door! That was such a beautiful ending, and one that really feels like a completion.

There's definitely more I want to talk about, but I think I need several more rewatches before I can articulate more properly about my thoughts and opinions of everything else that happened.

In short, BOTFA was such an emotional movie for me that I cannot give a proper explanation on my feelings about it quite yet. But as I mentioned that's actually a compliment because it means that Peter Jackson did a good job at creating something I became so emotionally attached to that it resonated something within me that cannot form the right kind of words. As a whole, though, I have loved and enjoyed The Hobbit trilogy. People have complained about why there needed to be three films out of one book. Well, this is why. Had it only been one movie it wouldn't have had this kind of emotional impact. We needed to spend time with these characters, seeing their relationships with each other, their interactions with other characters, seeing the other things that happened that only were mentioned in passing in the book, in order to feel that personal connection, to immerse ourselves once again in the world of Middle-earth. I felt that Peter Jackson succeeded quite well in that department, in my opinion.


Please talk with me about it if you've seen BOTFA, we need to share in this pain together.

Also, what's interesting is how I didn't actually see the film at midnight, because our theater was showing it some hours earlier. I don't know if this is something new, but somehow they were showing it at 7:00pm, 10:30pm and then at midnight, and the day previously was of course the exclusive marathon event of all three films. I just found it rather strange that they would organize it like that, since I had gone to the DOS midnight premiere last year and other midnight premieres before that. There were still people that showed up obviously, but it wasn't as overly packed as before. So, I don't know.
 
 
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Bear McCreary - Kalagyi Anaila Kaziri
 
 
 
Alex Bostonparticle_man6 on December 20th, 2014 12:26 am (UTC)
Anyhow, I loved the movie too. That said, I wanna see the extended version when it comes out. I think there is more to the story of some of the more minor characters (like Alfred, the "Grima Wormtongue" of this trilogy - where does he go?).

I would also be curious to see the reaction of someone that first sees the hobbit trilogy and then watches the lotr trilogy, not having seen the movies or read the books previously.

Edited at 2014-12-20 12:27 am (UTC)
Renéerogueslayer452 on December 20th, 2014 08:10 am (UTC)
There were definitely more scenes that were shot that they unfortunately cut from the theatrical version. In the WETA Chronicles for BOTFA it is revealed that we will get to see Thorin, Fili and Kili's funeral, Dain's coronation, I remember Peter Jackson saying earlier this year that what happened in Laketown affected Bofur and there was going to be something involving that, as I'm pretty sure he wouldn't just stand around idly with having to comply to the demands that Thorin was making, and neither would the rest of the Company either. And re: Alfrid, I'm pretty sure he ends up dying somehow, as it seems that they switched the role of the Master as presented in the book and gave it to his henchman. So I'm almost positive that his cowardice and greed meets with the similar fate.

Also, some of the scenes they showed from the trailers/previews didn't seem to make it into the theatrical cut either, like Thorin saying, "everything I did, I did for them", Bilbo going "when faced with death what can anyone do?" and so on. So I'm really anticipating the extended edition, as I always am.

That would be interesting too, especially with how everything just connects together so wonderfully and beautifully. It's both satisfying for fans to see that circle completed, and it would be a lovely way of getting people into the films and into the story in order for the first time. :D
verdande_miverdande_mi on December 20th, 2014 12:27 pm (UTC)
You're not the only one who needs to see this film more times - I'm looking forward to being able to sit in peace and quiet and watch this film again, with the ability to pause and go back.

I loved Galadriel and I would love to see more of her in the exstended version. I thought she was just brilliant.

The ending was terrific; I think I smiled through it all and I loved how the bridged the gap between this and the fellowship such wonderfully with Bilbo, but also with Legolas.
Renée: Thorin. Smile.rogueslayer452 on December 20th, 2014 01:47 pm (UTC)
It was quite an overwhelming experience. There was so much happening that I think I missed many things, which is a perfect excuse to go see it many times and analyze it further. Once I've recovered from being emotionally traumatized, of course.

Galadriel was amazing. I loved seeing her in action, and I loved the way they did it, too.

The ending was a beautiful way of concluding the journey, not just with this trilogy but for the entire era of PJ's Middle-earth. It was a great way of coming full circle with everything and I loved it to bits. It was a heartfelt and bittersweet farewell, and I shall miss it so much. ♥
Profiterole_profiterole_ on December 20th, 2014 02:53 pm (UTC)
What were the concerns about Thranduil? I don't know the source material, but I thought he was fabulous and I especially loved his scene with Tauriel at the end where he finally recognised the validity of her love for Kili. I would just have liked some more interactions between him and Thorin for rival!slash purposes, even though Thilbo is way more obvious.

I also really loved how Legolas was pretty chill about Tauriel/Kili. I love it when there's no ugly jealousy going on. I would OT3 them but I'm not sure Tauriel has that kind of feelings for Legolas. The movie has a very monoamorous viewpoint, though. (Considering how long the elves live, it would make sense to me that, just like vampires, elves were bi and poly.)
Renéerogueslayer452 on December 20th, 2014 03:58 pm (UTC)
What were the concerns about Thranduil?

Mostly characterization, in the book he was more calm and collected, he didn't lust over any treasure and he helped the Laketown people out of generosity. There was also a lovely scene between him and Bilbo, too.

But I quite liked the way the film presented him, giving his character a bit more zest and personality and a bit more backstory to understand the way he ruled and his involvement, including the rivalry between himself and Thorin, which again wasn't really present in the book itself. I mean, the rivalry between dwarves and elves are much talked about in Tolkien's works, just not in The Hobbit, so Peter Jackson was kind of trying to convey much of what he could without much legal issues. He lived for so long, seen so much and lost so much, that he became quite isolated and only caring for his people. And Lee Pace portrayed him with such a flighty arrogance and pompousness that was brilliant. The way he talked to Bard and to Gandalf, it was really fascinating watching him throughout these films. And in the end you see a bit of his growth, so it was lovely to see.

I would just have liked some more interactions between him and Thorin

Agreed. Considering the rivalry between them I was hoping for just a little bit more. If we are definitely getting the funeral scene in the extended edition I'm thinking that he might be present there.

I also really loved how Legolas was pretty chill about Tauriel/Kili. I love it when there's no ugly jealousy going on.

I found that interesting because I thought that's what inevitably it would have turned out to be, since I read an interview with Evangeline about how she felt a bit disappointed that during reshoots they started making it seem like a love triangle when originally she signed on hoping there wouldn't be. But I never got that feeling from these movies at all. All I got was Tauriel being rather interested and curious about Kili, and Legolas not liking it because, well, because of the rift and rivalry between both races. He held an indifference from that kind of mindset and upbringing until much later when he meets and befriends Gimli during their Fellowship and journey in LOTR. And, well, their relationship too is quite beautiful because of what Tolkien wrote about what happens afterwards, there is no denying that they also were in love. So. :)

There's been much discussion about the state of romance and sexuality of Elves and Dwarves in Middle-earth, Tolkien does talk about it (Dwarves only marry once, if that; some choose not the marry at all, so asexual dwarves may very well be canon). There's also some about Elf sexuality too. Of course, this is a take what you will kind of discussion, because as we all know fandom is all about exploring all the different areas.
Profiterole: Naruto Shippuuden - Sasuke and Naruto_profiterole_ on December 20th, 2014 04:27 pm (UTC)
It's nice that he originally wasn't in it at all for the treasure, though the movie does show the elves bringing food, so the generosity aspect appears as well. :-)

But Legolas had feelings for Tauriel. At least that's what I got from the second movie, and also from the third movie, but in a distinctly selfless way as he knew at that point that she loved Kili.

Yes, I've been told that the books lean more towards Legolas/Gimli than Legolas/Aragorn, which I never really saw anyway as Aragorn/Arwen worked quite well for me and my slash ship was Sam/Frodo (but I get that, aesthetically speaking, Legolas/Aragorn had more appeal).

Points to Tolkien on the asexuality, but I must say that I do not expect a white cis het man from the early 20th century to have included LGBT and poly characters in his works, so that is left to the fandom. Now, if white cis het men from the early 21st century could get on to it, that would be great.