Film falls flat with Tolkien fans: Final installment fails to fascinate

Jesse Baxter

My hopes were low for the final movie in the Hobbit series, The Hobbit: the Battle of Five Armies, as the other two movies had let me down in story, characters, and believable action. I am sad to say that the third did not break this trend, but it wasn’t horrible.

The movie did several things well which the previous ones failed to. A lot of the dialogue and events were more accurate, disregarding the added events that were not in the book. Some of the additions were interesting, particularly the Council of White’s assault on the Necromancer. I wish they had portrayed it differently, but it was interesting seeing the movie expand on this. In addition, the special effects were well done and made the film look incredible. I especially liked Smaugh and his design in general.

However, there were many times I felt the movie tried too hard to create drama and emotion to tie into Lord of the Rings. For example, in the opening scene, Smaugh talks to Bard before he shoots him, goading him for what seems like minutes. In addition, Bard’s bow broke and he had to use his son’s (who wasn’t there in the book) to aim the arrow and use Macgyver logic to kill Smaugh. This should have been a normal shot from a rooftop, with Smaugh flying around which could have been just as good, or even better, if the director didn’t make this seem so unrealistic.

Another concept the movie failed to capture was time, as it seems everything happens within three days or less, when it should take a month or more for everything to occur. I can forgive the movie for this, but realistically it should take more time for Thorin to send a message to Dain of the iron hills and for him to mobilize a force to go to the mountain. The same can be said for the siege on the mountain as it should have been weeks, as in the book. However, I can understand the writers wanting to put more action in to appeal to their audience., but they strayed drastically from the book.

One plot point that annoyed me greatly was when the Council of White was driving the necromancer out. The nazgul or ringwraiths were not present at all, and I had a problem with how the movie portrayed them without cloaks, which were essential for containing their essence or spirit. This leads to my next complaint, which is that Sauron was far more powerful at this stage than in the book. He is essentially a spirit, a powerful one, but without form. To add to this, the Council of White thought he was just a spirit, not Sauron. Driving him out gave Gandalf a suspicion that he may have been Sauron, but no one knew for certain. This is important because it gave Sauron more time to amass power for the Lord of the Rings, which if they knew earlier would have been harder for him to do.

Another thing that bothered me about the Hobbit trilogy is the love between Tauriel and Kili. It seemed forced and unrealistic, especially when considering the creation stories in Tolkien’s universe. Dwarves were made from Earth by a Valar (godlike being) whereas elves were created by Eru, the main creator and deity. They are completely different and it is infeasible that love would develop between them, particularly in such a short time. Adding this was probably to try to increase the target audience of the movie, but I feel it hurt more than it helped in the long run.

While the action is decent, some scenes and actions made no sense to me. This began, when Bard was shooting the dragon, he took all of his arrows out of his quiver and tossed it aside. This may seem like a small issue, but no archer would ever do that. This occurs again when an orc is swinging a huge rock on a chain on ice, which should not be possible due to the lack of traction. Small things like this annoyed me and took away from from my enjoyment of the film.

Besides the love story, I also feel that the director failed to capture the elves essence. This isn’t just in The Hobbit trilogy but in all the Lord of the Rings movies as well. They are always portrayed as cold and unemotional, like Vulcans, but in the books they are merry and happy. Some elves do have a tint of sorrow around them because they came back from Valinor (a paradise to the west), but they were still joyful people. Seeing how they made elves armies seem robotic is unrealistic, they may be more disciplined from being alive longer, but not to that degree. This is enforced by the elf king and his actions, yes he wanted the jewels but they were not the main agenda. In the book the dwarves give Bilbo the gems and he then gives them to the elf king who was pleasantly surprised and happy. This, contrasted to the cold and unemotional king in the movies made me sad.

That being said, the world was atmospheric and contained beautiful scenery and landscapes, just like all of The Hobbit movies and Lord of the Rings. Although in the final battle the troop movements were wrong, I can assume this was due to geography as getting the perfect location to exactly match the book would be absurd.

Overall I would recommend the movie if you like fantasy action, and even if you don’t, it is still an enjoyable film. However if deviations from the book bother you to no end, it may not be worth your time.