05 January 2015

Happy New Year! And: Battle of the Five Armies, Reviewed

Good Directions
I hope you had a nice Christmas or whatever. And also you were able to take a couple days off around the New Year. I was awake until midnight but not much later. I'm old and tire easily. Tried to talk The Girl into an East Coast New Year's but she wasn't having it. We compromised: went to a party for some food and company, were home before midnight.

Rounded out the new year by seeing Battle of the Five Armies, a long and boring movie about some dwarfs and elves and humans. And a hobbit. It was... not a good movie. Very predictable, with 'heroes in danger who will rescue them?!?' over and over again. Some stuff happened, and a breathtaking number of creatures were killed with no apparent loss of blood, because PG-13. But: not good.

Let's get this out of the way: the Lord of the Rings books are dated and racist. It's great that Tolkien came up with a fully realized fantasyland but the books have not held up well. If you want to read a fantasy classic that is still relevant then please read The Once and Future King by T.H. White. Heck even the later Harry Potter books are better than LotR.

LotR are part of the canon because it helped create a genre and set a very high standard for storytelling but the light/nature vs. dark/industrialism is too limited for modern (read: not overtly racist) tastes. That table-flat  / paper thin character structure leads to hundreds of thousands of orcs getting killed like cockroaches because they are evil and evil is bad and I'm six years old and can we get Liam Neeson in here I love when he kills things.

To be fair: nothing that Peter Jackson did to all the hundreds of thousands of dead orcs was as grotesque as the cash grab he executed when he stretched the Hobbit into three movies. You would think that Jackson would (eventually) run out of stuff to say. Well, you would think so until you remembered that his first three LotR movies were a marathon interminable slog. The advantage of those movies is that he had a lot more to work with than he did in the Hobbit.

Enjoy it on video at home. You can take snack breaks during the dull parts, which is most of them.

Point of interest: How do you stab someone and not get blood on your sword / knife / spear? If I cut myself shaving I bleed like a stuck pig for 20 minutes. If you get stabbed to death in the Hobbit movie you die from, ummm, something not blood loss. So that part was plain silly. Perfectly acceptable to decapitate any number of Orcs and also kill a huge dragon and burn up enormous numbers of villagers in fires and so forth. But no blood, because that would be scary. Censorship is real.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i agree: LOR is crap. the first was watchable but trite, the second I literally fell asleep in the theater, the third I turned off after 5 min at home. My wife loves them all..so there is not accounting for taste (question: her's or mine?).

another reason both HP and LOR have issues is that the protagonists are pathetic and unlikable dweebs.

also you might consider getting a coagulopathy workup if you bleed for 20 min after shaving.