Film Corner: Hobbit (Five Armies)

We've got one more of these 6 movies. Let's do this.

Actually first I'm gonna say something that's gonna piss some people off and instead of knee jerk defensiveness I want y'all to listen and sit with it ok. Please. I've been watching the DVD menu screen on a loop got about an hour now, and it is scenes of the dwarven fellowship--13 dwarves and Bilbo--going to war and doing badass things.

And they're cool scenes. But it's group shots of 13 white guys doing cool fantasy shit. And I keep trying to think of ANY movie that has 13 women doing this sort of thing. Suiting up, going to war. Army shots that's just women everywhere, no men. I can't think of one. Mad Max, but that's a different genre and there's still plenty of men in it, and it's not 12+ women until late in the movie anyway.

This is a TRILOGY, 10+ hours, of 14 men (dwarves, Bilbo, Gandalf) from start to finish. The two women who are in this movie--Galadriel and Tauriel--were awkwardly jammed in so it wouldn't be 100% male, just 99%. It's just....damn. And there was maybe 2 people of color in the Laketown crowd shots. I just. *flips table*

Anyway, when we last left this trilogy, Smaug was attacking Laketown because Smaug is a jerk. People are leaving by boat, which makes sense because when you're running from a dragon, boats are faster, more maneuverable, and offer more hiding places than ground travel. No wait they don't, so this is nonsense. And no, the lake water isn't protection against dragon fire; this is an ice lake so swimming in it would kill you.

The absolute best part of this movie is right at the beginning, when Bard and Bain kill Smaug. Hits me right in the feels. (Mad Max did it better, but still.) And now, even though the dwarves caused Smaug to rampage, Thorin won't pay for Laketown's rebuilding. It will be impossible to feel sympathy for Thorin's position after having seen a GIANT STATUE OF GOLD in the king's hall, so settle in for some sads.

Rather than stay and help the people who risked their lives to save them, the Laketown dwarves are just bailing on them in their hour of need. Jerks.

Kili: "Tauriel, come with us!"

It doesn't even make sense! Dwarves are so big on family they should've already fucking adopted those kids. Like the dwarves should be explaining that they're Lydia Durindottir now or whatever.

I will grant you that Kili's actor is unreasonably hot. Why do we even HAVE Chrises, why isn't this guy in everything instead. Legolas was last seen in pursuit of an orc so he now magically appears to cock-block.

I think the movie itself has forgotten that Bard had daughters.

I think people would mind love triangles less if the men more obviously loved the woman? Like, how can I root for Legolas when he's NOT saying shit like "look, I just want you to be happy and I'll support your decision." At least Twilight sustained the drama by having Edward run away from Bella because he was dangerous for her. Tauriel is crying, I think that's your answer, dude. Like, love triangles are about exploring the fact that, in spite of the patriarchy, women DO have a right to choose their mate. It's kinda ruined for me when the potential options are being extra patriarchal.

Nu-Wormtongue threatens to kill a woman so that Bard can save her because we can't have named women in our movie but we can still threaten them with violence.

OH GOOD, Bilbo is telling them that Thorin is sick because a sickness lies on this place and sickness is evil and greed. *groans in chronic ill*

It's a very weird story telling choice that we're robbed of Thorin's first look around the halls of his ancestors, and instead did this time skip where Bilbo filled us in. We waited SIX HOURS for the dwarves to come home and reclaim it, and that climactic emotional moment happened off screen. That's a really terrible choice, who made that choice, they should be fired. I'm offended as an ARTIST, there are some things you don't skip over.

I really wish that instead of going the sickness route they had played up the differences between Bilbo and Thorin. They have the capacity to be such interesting foils to each other. Bilbo is a fucking hobbit. He didn't come here to reclaim a kingdom. He came here to reclaim a HOME. This big place is just a huge hobbit hole to him. Thorin is a prince. An outcast exiled prince, yes, but one who remembers being a prince.

I would've played up Bilbo being upset, hurt, and annoyed that they finally got the HOME they wanted and here Thorin is only interested in what would be, to Bilbo, a piece of the silverware. Thorin is Lobelia Sacksville, counting the silver. Bilbo despises that. I would've had Bilbo keeping it from Thorin in a pique at how petty he is being, and perhaps in the hope that Thorin could eventually come to appreciate his GODDAMN HOME once he stops looking for the meaningless, valueless shiny.

Instead we have this thing where Thorin contracts Dragon Sickness and Bilbo keeps the stone from him in selfless piety even though NOT having the stone seems to be driving Thorin to self-harm and it's unclear how giving him the stone would make it worse?????? What is Bilbo's MOTIVE here besides vague "selfless love and compassion" and how is he able to selflessly watch Thorin ruin his health in a sleepless fruitless search? To let your friend hurt like that, you need a little pique to steel your resolve OR MAYBE THAT'S JUST ME.


Ok, that's all the seriousness I can do for one night, so I'm about to start up the Hobbit again. Mute

Oh yes, I'm still annoyed by the Bilbo characterization in this scene, THAT'S why I stormed off 20 minutes into a 2.5 hour movie. I feel that pique would also work better for why Bilbo tells no one? This whole compassionate thing doesn't really address why he doesn't go to Balin (the sweet older mentor) for advice about what Smaug told him re: the stone bringing illness.

Legolas is asking Bard where the humans are going and this is surprising because previously he didn't seem to give a damn about the humans. Idk, what is consistent characterization? It would make more sense for Tauriel to ask, since she saved Bard's daughters, but she's a woman and therefore only allowed to talk to her love interests.

Thranduil sends a messager to tell Legolas that HE is to come home and Tauriel is banished and I laughed out loud at what is probably not meant to be a comedic moment. "THRANDUIL, I THOUGHT ELVES WERE SUPPOSED TO BE SMART."

"My son left to collect the girl he's been crushing on for ages, I'd better send someone to inform them both that she's not allowed to come home, that will work."

Galadriel is doing.....something?? to an orc. I really don't have a clear grasp of her powers.

Sauron is quoting ring poetry at her, which....huh. I know ""one ring to rule them all"" is HIS words, it's baked into the ring after all, but I always thought the preceeding lines about the elves and dwarves and men were penned by other people. It's literally a poem about his own treachery and deceit, and it works best when explaining the situation to others, so it felt like bardic invention woven around the canon "one ring" stinger at the end.

If Sauron wrote the full thing while giggling "I'm so SNEAKY" to himself, it loses a little something for me, I must say. Plus, HE didn't make the 3 elven rings, right? So why would he include them in a poem about himself? It just makes more SENSE if someone else wrote the "full" version of the poem and he only wrote the "one ring" part as aspirational.

New head canon, suggested by Arthur, is that Sauron didn't write the full poem (yes good) but is reciting it to troll Galadriel (yes good). Give me more villains playfully using nursery rhymes to freak people out.

I hate this scene for reducing Galadriel to a quivering fear lump*, but I do love seeing her carry Gandalf like it's no big deal. (*There's nothing wrong with fear, and fear is a reasonable response to the ring wraiths! Not just for herself, but for what this means for Middle-Earth. HOWEVER, panicky about-to-cry sharp-breathing is not how the men in this 6-movie series react to the wraiths. So the contrast matters as much as the response.)

It's always kinda bugged me that everyone is like "the nine kings were too greedy to question why Sauron gave them rings" when making and giving away cool stuff is what elves DO. Should Sam have been suspicious of his leaf pin and elf dirt? (Actually I guess yes, since the elf dirt had eugenics magic on it. Huh.) But then Gimli is treated like a big jerk for not trusting elves when the REPEATED STORY OF MIDDLE EARTH is that elves are basically bad news.

Gimli in Fellowship: "Never trust an elf!!"
Me, six movies in: "actually he has a point."

Elrond shows up to save Galadriel which is....nice of him but....why didn't he just go in with her? Maybe he had to use the little elves room first? Now Galadriel is literally lying on the floor panting while Elrond and Sarumon do Cool Combat things. Peter Jackson, everyone.

Oh god she's turned green-skinned and wet dark hair. Now it's a different Ring movie.

Elrond was totally going to hunt down Sauron and kill him while weak, BUT Galadriel needs someone to carry her so he doesn't. So just so we're clear, this movie makes Kili's canon death the fault of an elf woman, and Sauron's second war the fault of ANOTHER elf woman.

I'm going to bed, y'all.

Another ridiculous thing about this scene is that Sarumon argues against killing Sauron while weak. It's supposed to be foreshadowing that he's evil, but it makes no sense! Sarumon isn't allied with Sauron because he's in love with him and draws hearts around little S&S doodles! He's allied with him because he thinks Sauron is too strong to directly oppose, so he wants to sneakily back stab him.

Telling Elrond not to hunt him down and finish him off while Sauron is weakened is just silly. Either way that conflict plays out, one or both of Sarumon's most powerful opponents dies. He wins no matter what happens!


This Bilbo cosplay. [Link:]

There is a WHOLE SERIES.


h e l P

While I have you here, I also still want this. [Link:]

But holy cram, that Princess Thorin is AMAZING. A female Thorin who is afraid of being "weak" and failing her line so she is hard and cold to everyone because society has taught her that masculinity and emotional distance are the only true paths to strength.

Ok, we left off after the "Galadriel has to be carried back to Lothlorien" scene.

Was there a great big massive orc war in The Hobbit books and I just forgot about it.

Ok, Bilbo is finally going to Balin for help. I asked for this and got it, so that's good. Good. More protagonists who seek the opinion of nice elderly mentors, yes please.

I like the sweet gentle scenes between Thorin and Bilbo. I wish there were more of those. They're good, and it helps develop the contrast between their positions. Bilbo just wants to go home. Thorin IS home, but isn't happy. It's....there's a lot there.

WHY is Bard keeping around this Wormtongue guy who has been bullying him for years?? Why does Bard know who Thranduil is?? He's just some GUY who lives in Laketown and Thranduil doesn't leave his forest.

Thorin rightfully points out that he only promised Laketown a share because the dwarves were being held prisoner. Thranduil's sarcasm is MASTERFUL.

Oh my god, seeing the dwarves deface all that beautiful artistry in order to take out the bridge...I literally gasped.

I really wish we could've just had a tragedy of Thorin making bad decision instead of...sibilant magic whispers and orgasm faces as The Dragon Sickness takes him. You don't need to make up a magical sickness to explain this!! He has plenty of reasons for holding onto the gold! It's going to take a LOT to rebuild Erebor! His pride, too, has been wounded! It is understandable that he'd feel pressured not to pay off a bunch of humans and start his reign looking like he's weak and scared. None of this is so weird it needs a magical explanation!

Ok, all I ask is that you people pronounce Gundabad CONSISTENTLY. I still think it looks like something Jar Jar Binks would say. Huge-sa gungabad wargs!!!

It's not even a GOOD love triangle. Like, Kili at least told her he loves her. Legolas doesn't do anything but stand around and cock-block.

lol, Gandalf just galloping through town yelling GET OUTTA MY WAY YOU DAMN KIDS and shaking his stick. 90% of these 6 movies is Gandalf on a horse, failing to yield right of way.

There are......sand worms. Why are there sand worms???????? I THOUGHT Vandroidhelsing WAS JOKING ABOUT THE SAND WORMS.

Oh oh oh oh oh Bilbo's speech when he gives the Arkenstone to Bard. About how he loves the dwarves and just wants to save them. *crying*

Everyone is so accepting of hobbits despite never seeing them before, this is something I feel the franchise kinda fell down on. Like, just because the AUDIENCE is accustomed to hobbits doesn't mean the people of Dale are.

The elf army is deliciously disciplined and I know this is supposed to be a matter of elves just being BETTER than you, but it says uncomfortable things about their society that they have this perfectly disciplined standing army.

My god, I bet Thranduil even orders breakfast sarcastically. I love him. Like, Thorin yells ""throw him [Bilbo] from the rampart!" Bard Will Turner looks sad-worried. Thranduil's entire face is all "ooh, I'm SO glad I got out of bed this morning to see this" and I just YES.

Every time Gandalf does his LOUD voice, I love him even more. "IF YOU DON'T LIKE MY BURGLAR, then please don't damage him. Return him to me."

I've given this movie a lot of shit and there are some QUESTIONABLE CHOICES I don't like, but overall I do like it. least for now. There are sand worms approaching.

A dwarf army has shown up and I have a lot of fucking questions. A looooot of questions. The Suspiciously Militaristic Elves are very cool with this. I thought you dwarf guys were broken and scattered in exile, WHY do you all have matching armor and perfect unison marching??




"Would ye consider....JUST SODDING OFF!!!?"

THEY'RE CALLED WERE-WORMS???!! WHY?????? THE FUCK?????? I fought one of those in a Final Fantasy game, my immersion has left the building.

There's a perfectly good defensive line, WHY are the elves leaping OVER it?


Gandalf is no longer using a sword and is just whacking people with his stick and I must say this bothers me a lot.

aww, goodbye elk.

Why were the sand worms even added, they didn't DO anything necessary!

And AGAIN, there were ways to justify Thorin staying in the keep without making it some kind of gold-madness. He could rightfully point out that 13 dwarves isn't going to make much difference in a war of thousands! That it's more important to keep the barriers up so Sauron can't claim the mountain! THERE WERE OPTIONS HERE. Hell, he could just be afraid. He's the last of his line. He's FINALLY king. He could be scared of losing that, of losing what his ancestors wanted him to regain.

Thorin defeated his illness in a dream sequence and now the named characters are going to join the battle! Those eight million orcs stand no chance! I have to dress for D&D.

I am pleased that Gandalf got the elves to fight, but it seems out of character when Thranduil was all "bitch do I LOOK like I care about what happens outside my forest" in the last movie??


I'm gonna try to finish this but I'm sick so I apology in advance if my commentary sucks.

I really do like how much of Gandalf's job as a wizard is just showing up and scolding people in power. It feels very old English, the job of the Fool. There's just something very profound in an old man in rough woolen robes yelling YOU'RE NOT MAKING A VERY GOOD KING UNDER THE MOUNTAIN, BUDDY up at Thorin.

Oh man I just realized I think it's the lembas bread that made me sick, because I've been sick twice this week and both times it was a few hours after eating those. I'm not used to eating that much honey. My stomach treats all but about 12 ingredients as "basically the same as drinking Draino." Thank you, stomach.

Anyway when I last left off, the named dwarves were joining the battle. It's funny that the LOTR games have introduced a concept of "inspiration" affecting battles because that's pretty much what's going on here. They're outnumbered 8 to 1 but they're happy, so they're fighting a million times better.

I can't see where the elves are. Did they retreat to Dale? There were a million of them and now they're just Sir Not Appearing. Oh, ok, the elves are booking it. Solid call. Legolas standing up for Tauriel even knowing she's made her decision and it isn't him: Good. The extended shitty cross-dressing sequence with Wormtongue: Bad.

I do like to think that if this MUST be canon, Legolas' experiences here opened him to, you know, falling in love with his own dwarf later.

ah, cool cool, let's make Kili's canon death the fault of Tauriel for suddenly being shit in a fight.

Legolas doesn't COUNT HIS ARROWS.

The Legolas fight scene is silly but it's the right kind of silly; if elves are going to be light-footed ninjas, then this is how they should fight. Dance and kick and twirl and head stab.

How is there still 30 minutes in this movie. Why is Agoz trying to kill Thorin with a Morningstar thingy when he has a BLADE ARM.

Why is Gandalf's answer to anything always eagles? I feel like the king of the eagles should feel very used and unappreciated. The entire time Gandalf was in Rivendell, he probably pushed eagle plans for the Fellowship and Elrond had to keep saying no.

Gandalf: ok we don't need many supplies because we'll be flying to mordor
Elrond: Gandalf we just talked about this

Thorin: Death by Genre Unsavvy.

So what happens with Erebor?

I don't like that they have Bilbo lie to Gandalf and say he lost the ring.

The ending with Gandalf's arrival is a nice touch.

Well. I did, in fact, like them more this time than in the theaters. There are MANY QUESTIONABLE DECISIONS, but the actors are amazing.


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