Monday, 22 December 2014

Farewell, Master Burglar.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

In this rather lacklustre films defense some of it's problems do come from having to follow the book. So the natural climax to the story, defeating the dragon, comes right at the start here and then there is an incredibly long, mostly dull battle between a bunch of non-entities some just suddenly introduced for the first time. However this adaptation compounds the books problems by it's desire to work as a gritty prequel to the LOTR films. Names get dropped (so, so much), and the reason for everyone fighting seems so nebulous and the battle itself so badly structured that the sudden appearance of 13 dwarves seems to swing the balance for no real reason except we've seen them for 2 and a half movies already so, yay?
Bilbo is once again sidelined in his own film, which would perhaps be fine if any of the other characters were particularly interesting (the 'romance' between a dwarf and elf once again the weakest plot point here, though some execrable comedy from cowardly humans, including Stephen Fry, comes a close second).
It does manage occasional moments of poetic grace. A combatant watching his downed foe float beneath the ice has a power none of the 'BIG' fight moments do (Billy Connelly's new Dwarf leader keeps smashing his head against helmeted orcs but there is no weight to it, he may as well be washing his hair). And Freeman, when actually called upon to do something, is solid - a sad reminder of what could have been with a more focused film.

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