Friday, December 19, 2014

A Very Fond But Heartbroken Farewell ~ The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

bilbo the battle of five armies
  The journey is over. My heart is broken. Today I saw The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies with the family finally, and it was well worth the wait. The movie was spectacular. The battle carries the whole story, the end leaving us sorrowful, with the feeling of having watched something that happened, not a just another typically structured movie that has its points. I was surprised at how little Smaug featured in it, that his fall would be so soon (or at least what felt so soon). It was somewhat anti-climatic, but I suspect that many scenes were cut from this movie and that more will be added to the attack of Smaug in the extended edition. However, I did love how there was a presence of Smaug throughout the movie, his words--his insights--that figured greatly in the thoughts and fears of the characters. It was as if he was still lurking in the shadows.

   I loved how in the moment and climatic the beginning was. It carried right over from Desolation of Smaug, the danger and fear palpable and immediate. It brought you in, to the level of those suffering the consequences of their actions, and those on the receiving end of the actions of others. The desolation and sadness is truly felt. That's what I loved about the last installment of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit. I'm just heartbroken that it's over, as I knew I would be. 

  What I've loved most in this story, (and in stories in general) was the story of the best sort of friendship. And the friendship of Thorin and Bilbo is the gold in this one. Throughout the trilogy, really--but it comes to a head here. It is what I'm most in love with, the thing I sorrow for most, and what my heart splits for. (Aside from the fact that the movies are done).

   I've never been much taken with the love story between Kili and Tauriel, but it turned out okay for me, in the end--in the end I felt for them. I was wrapped up enough in the story to forget that I'm not a fan of their love story. I liked them well enough. And at the end of that story arc, I love how well it served the characters involved. I cared for them, and what it meant when it came to it.

 I was also intrigued that you got more of glimpse into why Thranduil was such a strange, seemingly cold person. You get a look, however brief, into his history, his own loss. His own madness. It wasn't what I had expected, but something very similar. I loved that you got to know Bard and his strength better--his family is what makes him the man he is. Alfrid presents (in some ways he reminds one of Wormtongue) an interesting aspect to how Bard tries to do well by people, to try to see the possible change one might attain should they chose, and receive the chance. I thought him giving Alfrid a sort of second chance intriguing, though he does not trust him. Only enough to use him in moments of desperation--but even then, in the end, we see that Alfrid will always be a snake simply because he chooses to be--not because he wasn't given a second chance. That's what I appreciated of this aspect of the story. (Although I did expect him to give Alfrid a whack when yanking on the arm of his child, and he didn't--I found that really strange).

  I really enjoyed the storming of Dol Guldur--that was cool. The power of the White Council was stunning and beautiful. Although I didn't like the dark aspect they gave Galadriel, because that was used in Fellowship showing her temptation to the Ring, to something evil--here, in this instance, she is fighting the evil that is Sauron with Light. Yet they make her look like something dark and twisted. Powerful and fearsome, certainly. But her dark image really didn't make sense. But still, overall, very cool, loved it--but really of the opinion that they cut out a lot here as well.

  Over all, you see real people in this story. Pulling together, surviving--pulling away, turning mad, grasping at what pieces of themselves are left--trying to remember what you believe in. And trying to do the part of a friend. I found the movie incredibly real. In this one, it wasn't as much about spectacle and fun as the others were (in my opinion) it was about their relationships in the now. Their own stories, and the difference they can possibly make. The change that their choices will effect.

  You get to savor the sorrow and the joy, the gloried relief of the honorable choice in some instances, the fear of losing all that matters in life and possibly losing sight of yourself. The fear of the true enemy winning is real, even though we have a good idea of how the story ends, especially those of us who read the book. The core of the story is the power that we as individuals have in making our choices. It is simply will we or will we not fight to realize what is right, or possibly something in between. It is never so simple. Priorities are mixed, but in a way that still engages our love and respect.

  In the end, we have the bittersweet return home, remembering the good and the bad, left with the sorrow of loss, but with the blessing of friendships that have been forged. And the discovery of the type of person you yourself are. I love how the very end was, bleeding into the beginning of The Fellowship, leaving us with a taste of the joys that still come, that the story of our lives go on, and we carry our memories with us. The words of Billy Boyd in his Last Goodbye are very fitting.

 And, oh, where the road then takes me,
I cannot tell
We came all this way
But now comes the day
To bid you farewell

Many places I have been
Many sorrows I have seen
But don't regret
Nor will I forget
All who took that road with me

  I probably will be writing more on this, but I just needed to get this down. Can't keep it to myself right now. My heart is too broken! Would love to hear anything you have to share about what you think of the story.

And what a story. Thank you to Tolkien, Peter Jackson, and everyone involved with getting us to care enough to share in the sorrow and the joy. 

  Until next time and another tissue,

  Elora Carmen Shore


  1. My life is now over -- I have seen the last Hobbit film.

    Kidding. Mostly. ;)

    I loved everything about this installment... the insights into Thranduil's soul and depth of his own profound loss, his relationship with his son, his reconciliation with Tauriel (over shared loss), how the Bard handled his newfound leadership, Bilbo and the Arkenstone, and Thorin's "dragon fever." One especially cool moment was when his voice merged into that of Smaug, implying that in hording the dragon's gold he will become like a dragon himself. Nicely done, all of it.

    My only explanation for "Dark Galadriel" is that perhaps in using Nenya against Sauron, she was reflecting the evil of the force in front of her, because she was weak. But ... I'm not sure that is what they intended. I would like to hear the director's commentary explanation for that one.

    I do feel there are some holes that the EE will clear up. Like, there has to be pieces missing with Elrond, Saruman, Galadrie, Gandalf, and Radagast. I feel like there should be a funereal; proper ending for the dwarves (who inherits? they should tell us ... does Thranduil get his jewels and the humans their part of the bounty?). So I guess... there is still something to look forward to. :)

    1. I was reading your comment and I had to watch "The Last Goodbye" vid again, and now I'm all weepy.

      Yes, they did an incredible job. Like I said, they surprised me with Thranduil. It was a pleasant surprise. And Thorin's voice! Yes, that was awesome!! I really appreciated that they put that in there. I was hoping for it, because I knew it'd fit. Mean something.

      That is a fascinating theory about Galadriel--didn't even consider that possibility. That would make a lot of sense. I guess I was disappointed that I couldn't see her in all her "Light" and righteous anger. I wanted to see what that would look like. I too am looking forward to Jackson's commentary!

      Oh yes, even though I was carried along through the story, I definitely felt like there were holes too. It's like when you're traveling you know you hit a pothole, however minor. You feel it, even though you're rolling on. I DEFINITELY was disappointed that they didn't show a burial ceremony for Thorin! So missing! I have a feeling this last EE will be very beefy. ;)

  2. Smaug's death was a little anti-climactic, wasn't it? It was strange. I agree with everything you said about Thorin and Bilbo that was the best part of this movie! Thorin's death scene made me tear up because of their relationship.

    I felt kinda the opposite about Kili and Tauriel though -- I was pretty neutral until this movie where I thought it went a bit too far.

    That development of Thranduil actually surprised me it was so good! And Bard is great of course. I really wanted him to punch Alfrid too. Grr.

    I thought the way they ended it was good too. It makes me want to watch LotR now! :D I think you liked this more than I did, but I liked for a lot of the same reasons. :)

    Good review Elora! I'll be keeping an eye out for the more you promised.

    1. Definitely anti-climatic. They better fix that in EE for us. Honestly. ;)

      I guess I liked Kili and Tauriel enough individually that I just felt for them because of that, in the end. I sympathized with their pain, even though I didn't really "get" their relationship. I know...I think it was Howard Shore...who said they were trying to make it a friendship/soul kinship thing, not a big huge romantic thing, but I think that's half balogna. Obviously a romance for the girl fan value, (as in the typical teenagers who probably thought Twilight replaced Romeo and Juliet in romantic literature--although personally I'd go with P&P as top dog ;D )

      I KNOW about wanting to watch LOTR now! But I can't because my stupid dvd player on my computer doesn't want to play them anymore! The turd! I felt so wretched coming home from the movies, and I couldn't even have the comfort of the lotr films. I was so sad. I've been dying to see them. Saving up for a small tv and player. ;) I'm suffering from lotr withdrawal. I'm subsisting on gifs. ;)

      I promise to have further posts coming. I'm super busy, but I doubt my pain will allow me to keep silent.

  3. When we left the theater, my sister turned to me and said that she no longer liked Peter Jackson because of what he did with Fili and Kili. I couldn't help laughing because honestly I felt absolutely nothing. I liked the way he handled Kili and Tauriel because I was never keen on the idea of their romance.
    The scene I was looking forward to the most was Thorin and Bilbo's talk just before he died. That had always been my favorite scene in the book and it was just as good as I thought it would be in the movie.
    Galadriel's dark scene did take me by surprise, but in the end I thought it was kind of cool. It was like she had to tap into her inner darkness in order to defeat the Necromancer. If you think about it, The Hobbit and LOTR's is all about defeating your inner darkness. Thorin had to overcome his lust for wealth, Frodo had to overcome the power of the ring, and Aragorn had to reject the urge to use the ring and become the great man he was supposed be.

  4. Haha, I was singing a Christmas carol and I just stopped and laughed when I read what you said about your sister condemning Jackson over Kili and Fili. Fili's bit was sad in that there was no further mourning or attention after he was killed. There's just the reaction. No going back to it, seeing his body being carried by his family, etc. I fully expect Jackson to deliver something in this regard in the EE! (Demand might be a better word...).

    I really liked how they handled the "romance" in the end. It served a purpose for the characters that I could respect.

    Now that is an interesting theory for Galadriel as well...that's an interesting and plausible idea. Love how you can see so many possibilities in a piece of story, etc. Means it was good. ;) One's inner darkness is a theme that will never get old--it can only be done badly, to be bad.