Sunday, December 14


The Film Fatales visit Middle-Earth one last time...

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. 2014. 144 minutes. Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Evangeline Lily, Stephen Fry, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Manu Bennett, Aidan Turner, Dean O'Gorman. Directed by Peter Jackson.

Bilbo and Company are forced to engage in a war against an array of combatants and keep the terrifying Smaug from acquiring a kingdom of treasure and obliterating all of Middle-Earth. [IMDb]

Nicole: Well, it is true that all journeys must come to an end...and so must it be with the final installment of The Hobbit trilogy. Peter Jackson's epic trek through J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth has taken 17 years to complete (yes, you read that right), and thanks to his vision and dedication fans and film buffs now have six movies that stand together as the ultimate love letter to Tolkien geeks and devotees everywhere.  This self-described geek was lucky enough to attend an advance screening in NYC of The Battle of the Five Armies thanks to the LA Times HeroComplex event planners. The screening included a post-film Q&A with stars Richard Armitage and Lee Pace, who graciously and kindly answered interviewer and fan questions.

elizabeth:  I felt my heart just break ever so …who am I kidding? So the tale of the little men with big ears is over? Why don’t you all go out and visit a mall?

Thranduil and Bard make their bargain with the King Under the no avail.

Nicole: Ignoring you. I'm still trying to assess what I feel about this last film in the series, so I will try my best to express my thoughts without revealing too many spoilers. The film picks up right where The Desolation of Smaug left off, with Smaug wreaking havoc on Lake-town and the Erebor dwarves searching for the Arkenstone. Their leader, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), has succumbed to the dragon sickness, which spurns his blood lust for wealth, greed and hatred. Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), Elrond (Hugo Weaving) and Saruman (Christopher Lee) defend Gandalf (Ian McKellan) against the Necromancer (aka Sauron) at Dol Guldur. The Mirkwood elves, led by Thrandruil (Lee Pace), learn of the dwarves' success in taking back the Lonely Mountain and arrive in Erebor to reclaim the treasure that was taken from them generations prior. And, let's not forget, that an army of vicious Orcs, led by Azog (Manu Bennett) are preparing to end the line of Durin and take over Middle-Earth. Still with me? Elizabeth! Wake up!!!

elizabeth: I have an appointment with my doctor tomorrow. I have all the symptoms of that dragon sickness. Damnit, I just lost another scale.

Thorin Oakenshield asks his company of dwarves to follow him #onelasttime.

Nicole: I knew you had something; I just couldn't put my finger on it. While the name of the movie is The Hobbit, this installment very much belongs to one character: Thorin Oakenshield (played to perfection by Armitage -- if Viggo Mortensen managed to snag an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, I see no reason why Armitage shouldn't receive the same accolades. His performance was equally strong, and even more wrought with emotion). Martin Freeman's Bilbo, however, still does steal many a scene with his display of loyalty and bravery -- not to mention his endearing mannerisms. Luke Evans' Bard is also strong, rising from mere bargeman to dragon slayer to leader.

elizabeth:  I just saw Martin Freeman on Saturday Night Live. I have been under the false impression that those were his real ears. 

Bilbo realizes what he must do, despite the consequences.

Nicole: *rolling eyes* In many ways, The Battle of the Five Armies is reminiscent of The Two Towers. I had some flashbacks, in a good way, to Helm's Deep. But in no way is this film derivative. Alluding to its title, you can guess this movie is mostly about war. This film contains a sequence of battle scenes that lasts 45 minutes. Lest that scare anyone away, Jackson cleverly handles the staging of the battles by focusing on the main characters, switching between locations and introducing eye-popping visuals. Believe me, you won't be bored and it won't seem like, pardon the pun, overkill. And, while the conclusion is highly emotional, it's both fitting and satisfying.

elizabeth: Did you see bright colors and have the sensation of floating during your flashbacks?

Nicole: No, but I saw BOFTA in IMAX 3D, which I normally shy away from -- as I have a tendency to vomit from 3D-induced motion sickness (thanks James Cameron...I'm still waiting for my Avatar refund). A movie of this scope is incredible in SD, much less in IMAX 3D: Jackson's Weta team outdid themselves on the digital effects, as well as the standard special effects. It's utterly immersive and all-encompassing; rich with so much detail you won't want to blink. 

Galadriel uses her gifts to revive Gandalf at Dol Guldur.

elizabeth:  Might I make a  suggestion? If you suffer from motion sickness then maybe request that Jackson’s next movie have a cast of hand puppets.

Nicole: He's been there and done that. Ultimately, though, it's about the story and bringing it to a justifiable end. Purists will argue about the focus given to non-Hobbit characters like Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Tauriel (Evangeline Lily), but Jackson and his writers Philipa Boyens and Fran Walsh handle their inclusion creatively and with respect to the source material. With respect to Legolas, his presence ties nicely into The Lord of the Rings trilogy -- which future generations will watch in the correct sequence. For doubters, just trust Jackson -- he always  has the best intentions.

Tauriel and Legolas look on the refugees of Lake-town.

elizabeth: What the hell are you talking about? Seriously, I do think some of the 3D and digital special effects take away from us using our imagination. Don’t show me everything and please don’t put it in my face. I can imagine. I do have that power. Take that, Bilbo.

Nicole: *sigh* I almost don't want to end this post, because it will mean having to say goodbye to Middle-Earth...and frankly, I'll never be ready to do that. Instead, I will say adieu and happily await the extended edition of The Battle of Five Armies on DVD, which will include a rumored extra 30 minutes of screen time. But, rationally, I know that due to the rights issues over Tolkien's works, this is very likely the last time Jackson will visit, allow me a moment to thank him and his wonderful team for giving us a glimpse into a world that we'd never have known but for our own imaginations. And now, for #onelasttime, I'm off to the Shire for elevensies. 

Bilbo pleads to Thorin's better sense of judgment, as war looms.

elizabeth: Have we met? What have you done to Nicole? Oh, that’s right. You are now renting a 2 bedroom apartment.  42 Geek Ave., Apt. 3D, Middle-Earth. Can you get pizza delivered there?



No comments:

Post a Comment