The other day, I watched The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies. This was the first time I’d watched it since I saw it in theaters, and I watched the extended edition (of course, is there any other way to watch these movies?). I was surprised by how different it was than I remembered.
Firstly, apparently I didn’t remember a thing about the movie. I spent most of it going, “was this in here before?” Since I was watching the extended editions, I couldn’t even tell what had been added and what hadn’t simply because I didn’t remember. Even now, 15 years after, I can tell you what parts were added to Fellowship of the Ring, but I watched that movie every day the summer it came out (you think I’m exaggerating but I’m not. I was 15 and had a lot of free time).
So I’m giving Five Armies a second chance. Aside from not remembering a thing that happened besides the main plot (Whats-his-face kills dragon, everyone fights, Fili, Kili, and Thorin die, which I knew anyway because I’ve read the book multiple times), I didn’t remember very many specific scenes.
I had a lot of issues with this movie the first time I saw it. It felt like I was watching a CGI video game most of the time. I’m not sure if this had to do with the CGI itself or watching it in a theater that doesn’t have great clarity on screen or what. I also felt like a lot of the plot was extraneous (including that TERRIBLE Kili/Tauriel love plot. Ugh. Shoot me.), Legolas and Tauriel going to Gundabad for almost no reason at all, and let’s not mention the fact that in all the movies, the orcs move clearly in the daylight, which is a rather big plot point in all the books.
On second viewing of this movie, I’ve come to appreciate it slightly more if I overlook the problems. On my clearer, smaller screen at home, the CGI is not groan-inducing, which makes things a lot better. I now know that Manu Bennett played the White Orc which makes me like it even more (I didn’t know Manu when this first came out, but I grew to love him in Spartacus). I still hate the fact that Peter Jackson felt the need to include a stupid and pointless love story, and the fact that he injured Kili only to heal him and then kill him again. I mean, we all knew Kili was going to die, so why put him through all that? Was it for people who hadn’t read the book?
All in all, I think 2 movies would have been enough to get the book across and left out some of the stupider additions, but Five Armies isn’t as bad as I remember it being, but I’ll stick with the Lord of the Rings trilogy as my favorites. I just watched the Fellowship the other day, in fact, and quoted every word. No shame.