The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies
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The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies

If you examine the bookshelves of a teenager in the 60s and 70s inevitably find J. R. R. Tolkien, a set of four railroads use paperbacks consisting of the ‘Lord of the Rings Trilogy’ and Its whimsical prequel, ‘The Hobbit or There and Back Again’. While the exact number of pages used to tell this delightful little story changed in response to particular font the publisher used the book came in at about 300 pages and was generally considered a children’s book. This book became so popular among the youth culture of the time that it was a great influence on one of the pop rock major groups of the time, Led Zeppelin’. Direct references are made in several of the songs to people and places that were prominent in the universe of Middle Earth’. In 1977 and animated treatment of the book released by Rankin/Bass, and quickly gain cult acceptance. Just before the start of the 21st century, Peter Jackson native son of New Zealand would transform one corner of his homeland into Middle Earth. The assembled a veritable army the best cinematic artisans and craftsmen. Along with a group of highly talented actors they would spend nearly 18 months in that location will meet all three epic films back to back. Living onset like that created a bond comradery really see such a large assembly of such diverse people. In the wake of three films and millions of fans flooded the Internet demands for Peter Jackson to direct Hobbit. Unfortunately There Was an impediment that was nearly impossible to overcome. While New Line Cinema had obtained the rights to Lord of the Rings, the distribution rights for The Hobbit, resided with MGM. Considering the Lord of the Rings achieved the unprecedented box office returns to stratospheric heights of billions of dollars there was an immense incentive coming to a mutually beneficial agreement. The expectations of bigger profits may have had a lot to do with what has become a major complaint concerning this version of this beloved; it was turned into a trilogy.

After two ethical releases by five Blu-ray/3-D/DVD home releases real quietly coming towards the end. The final installment of the trilogy, ‘The Hobbit: Five Armies’ release from the theater and now home releases. That means according to the well-established format the only thing left to reserve a spot on your Peter Jackson section of your bookshelf is the inevitable Extended Edition of this film. It is not enough to take approximately 100 pages of the novel and transform it into a 2 ½ hour movie but we now have another cut that is going to be over three hours just on the horizon. If you do the math the body 300 pages and nine hours entire extended trilogy you are going to come to one inescapable, there is going to be an inordinate amount of padding to achieve the desired length and will such a commitment from the diehard fans. It was one thing to have marathons at the fantasy cons Lord of the Ring Films presented in a similar time period, something entirely different for single story to take such a lengthy telling.

As is typical for a trilogy, of any sort, the second installment is inevitably a very dark segment of the story, bordering on hopelessness. The fire breathing dragon, Smaug, is engaged in an all-out rampage against Laketown while one of the descendants of the town’s royalty Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) is breaking out of his imprisonment in order to take on the gold holding flying beast. In order to remind the fans of the obvious, Legolas (Orlando Bloom), in an off book appearance intended to make sure the fans remember this is the same Middle Earth that we all knew and loved before. This plot device is often used by also embedding a myriad of other characters, some of which were not featured in the book, either all or not in the extent shown here. Cate Blanchet reprises her role as Elven Queen, Galadriel, returns to hair and makeup to once again be fitted with prosthetic ears. Dressed in a flowing gown she is accompanied by the sullen elf Lord Elron once again played by Hugo Weaving. Representing the Council of Wizards is Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) Saruman the White (Christopher Lee). Among their functions here is the drop a few names such as a certain human ranger making a name for himself but a dark all Seeing Eye deep in Mordor. Okay, we understand this is a prequel to one of the most successful and influential cinematic trilogies ever and you really need every bit of padding you can come up

as the name implies the remainder of the film, at least the portion that somewhat relate to actually concluding this seemingly never ending story, has to rely on standard trope that was frequently employed during the sand and sandals craze in Hollywood. You have a number of factions, each with more grudges against one another that are forced by the contrivance of several factors and situations to gather together on immense battle scene. Back in the original trilogy some exceptionally imaginative and innovative techniques were developed by the CGI Masters employed by Peter Jackson. They were able to create huge armies of animated beings each programmed with the characteristics of their race and objective. The massive amount of programming power was driven by a substantial portion of a budget that could exceed the gross national product of a small country, bringing the animation virtually down to individual units. This translated to an incredible emulation of the classic Golden age films that most of the cast of thousands. The virtual cameras of the CGI master craftsman were able to treat the audience to an aerial view establishing the massive scope of the battles. Hordes of individual combatants swarmed together in something that seemed oddly familiar; swarms of ants amassing in the millions as seen on a natural National Geographic special. The computer vantage point and then swoop in for more intimate view of the combat until a few familiar faces can be seen. Scenes within this portion of the film contain something that has always bothered me. In the heat of battle, a deadly melee extending every direction, pair of principal characters takes the opportunity to exchange a few lines of dialogue. Even in the heat of battle director manages to get a few moments more of the requisite padding.

Despite all the comments regarding the flimsiness of the plot and the overly drawn out sequences, you have to consider this from a success, at least that’s how it’s going to be seen by the studio. All the legal bickering and maneuvering over distribution rights well rewarded. The theatrical release of the movie brought in nearly $1 billion setting it about the previous records set by ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ and ‘’ The Two Towers. The only movie that beat it out for financial success was ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’, which yielded well over that billion-dollar mark. Needless to say, the executives representing the film studio triumvirate of New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. and MGM, were hailed like a conquering hero returning to the gates of ancient Rome. To be fair, Peter Jackson did incorporate other material from Professor Tolkien of the works including the ‘Simerilian’ in the ample amount of annotations and appendixes found throughout his collective body. Ultimately there was the incredible detail that pervades the entire work of this author allowed even such an overly bloated trilogy of films to still provide a beautifully textured tapestry one of the most completely filled out and establish fantasy world ever, Middle Earth. As with the other instalments the use of 3-D by Mr. Jackson is faultless. He resides in the rarefied heights of filmmakers that truly understand the use of the illusion of depth as tool in relating a story. His use of this technique comes as naturally to him as color, wide screen scope of musical queues. Jackson has long since reached beyond the perceived need for gimmick shots and incorporates 3-D as a natural part of constructing a scene. The proof is not in the immense battles but most evident in the quiet two or three character shots.

 

bulletNew Zealand: Home of Middle Earth Part 3
bulletRecruiting the Five Armies
bulletCompleting Middle-earth
bulletA Six-Part Saga
bulletThe Last Goodbye
bulletBehind-The-Scenes Featurette
bulletMusic Video
bulletCredits
bulletTrailer 1
bulletTrailer 2
bullet"Legacy" Trailer
bulletThe Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

Posted 03/29/2015

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