Sunday, 14 December 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Review

This scene ain't in the movie.
I watched The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies today. Fantastic movie in so many ways. If there was a cinematic effect created since the beginning of filmmaking that was missing from this movie, I would be surprised. It had all the high-powered wizardry Weta digital has at its fingertips, brought to bear on an original interpretation of Tolkien's works. Epic. Nothing like the book really. 

At times I wondered whether the video game elements were necessary but at the same time, those moments were superbly rendered and incredibly (often eye-poppingly so) imaginative. Of course, I would give away too much to provide further details. Suffice to say, I got my 3D ticket worth. Then again, it may be fun to write some of this down while I'm still recovering from the heavy retina burn of final installment of The Hobbit.

Now there is bound to be some criticism of this movie. Especially when comparing it to the other two in this trilogy, or the Lord of the Rings trilogy, or the books which I'm sure weren't read by most of the folks commenting on the movies anyway. I read the book when I was a kid. I've read it to my kids. Now I've taken my kids to the movies. They like Tauriel and I'm glad she's in there. With that in mind, here is my review.

Gandalf admonishes Elric... Er, the Elf King, Dad of Legolas.
Does anybody bother with SPOILER alerts? I'm sure you'll read on anyway, like those players who read the Dungeon Masters Only section of a D&D module.

So, here is the DM section of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. 

Gold, Gold, Gold!
Thorin II Oakenshield, son of Thráin, son of Thrór, King under the Mountain has a problem. A bad case of Dragon Sickness. Characters may get this when spending too much time searching the treasure hoard for a heart stone. Make sure your players roll for their character every 10 minute turn to see if they finally hit rock bottom and snap out of it.

Love Triangle
Two elves, one dwarf. You know it will end in tears. Surprisingly, this helps keep this film from being all about Thorin. I'd say every D&D game has had players that have experimented beyond this mild level of awkwardness. One of them will die but it won't be Legolas. He's the DM's pet.

Purple Worms
Did you read Dune? Or see the movie? Or any other movie with big worms in it, like Beetlejuice? Well, there are some huge worms in this one. They make an entrance like giant alien earth diggers and leave just as quickly, supplying the film with an hommage to the Keep of the Borderlands jacket cover, allowing the goblins and orcs spew forth from these newly made caves of chaos.

Scottish Dwarves
Dain turns up on a Kune Kune, which kiwi's may also know as a Captain Cooker. This character is played by Billy Connolly, to drive home the gaming stereotype of dwarves with scottish accents. He looks somewhat like a Trollslayer from the Warhammer universe. Ironically, he also wields a warhammer. Dain has the Hard To Kill advantage from GURPS. He also has a lot of Billy Connolly comic one liners, like "Come on!" and "Bugger!".

Use The Force Luke
In a reworking of William Tell, the currently more famous (and fabulous) Bard the Bowman uses his son to take down the Death Star Smaug in a rather interesting fashion. The black arrow is literally the chip on his shoulder. One of the many times I thought "Hey, who cares if this is realistic. That's cool!"

Hats off to you, Sir Peter Jackson!
Elves Kick Ass
Whether they're decapitating four orcs in one blow (to clear the windscreen wipers of their battle-moose), or banishing Sauron with a bottle of perfume, the elves kick ass. They leap from falling debris, stone by stone, and kill, kill, kill. Mario has nothing on these guys and girls. Cheat Mode On.

Orcs Rock
Let's face it. These guys get the raw end of the deal. They are in the movie to die, sooner or later. Despite this, they're still the reason the fight scenes are great. I mean, you end up rooting for them. Is he dead yet? No! Ha! 

Gandalf and Bilbo Save This Film
I will watch this again and again, no doubt, as part of future movie watching marathons. It will be because of Ian and Martin. Even with all the special computer graphics and super resolution unreal action, it's these two actors that make my favourite characters real. Oh, yes, they both survive to play in the previous trilogy. Hoorah!

I could write more. Then again, I'll save my breath weapon for the comments that may follow this post.


  1. It's fine. Just like the rest of the trilogy. As unnecessary as it may have been. Good review Darcy.

    1. I have a brother called Dan and have just spent the last half hour reading movie reviews on your website with his voice in my head. Thanks for your praise. You write very well yourself!