Monday, January 12, 2015
"Is this a good place to stand?" (a Battle of Five Armies review)
As a related example:
My oldest son (both of my boys) detests the Hobbit movies. Not in his exact words, but he described it like this: Imagine the most beautiful bathroom in the world. Gorgeous. Marble and gold and perfumed. And it has a heated golden throne of a toilet. But, when you sit down to take a dump, it is still just a dump, and, specifically, The Battle of Five Armies is a slow motion movie of Peter Jackson on that beautiful, golden toilet in that gilded bathroom, taking a long, excruciating dump.
But he has this friend who is always attacking his position that, compared to the book, the movies are horrible. She loves the movies and thinks they are better than the book. The problem? She hasn't read the book. But she believes that since the movies have made so much money and that she likes them that that is proof enough that the book must really not be that good. And why bother with it, anyway, when she loves the movie so much? [Which goes back to what I said in my review of Desolation about kids not wanting to bother with the book because of the movie.] Her opinion, though, is ill informed and without authority.
So I went to see the movie so that I could have the freedom to talk about how stupid it all is.
And, this time, I'm not even going to mention the deviations from the book; I'm just going to talk about the blatant stupid of the movie. Which started immediately, I might add. There was so much stupid, in fact, that I lost count of the stupid before Smaug was even dead. Let's look at the big two:
1. Bard is left locked in prison as the dragon is attacking. Naturally, he's in a ragestorm trying to break his way out. But it's a good, solid prison, and he's having no luck. But he ends up with a rope that he's able to grapple a boat with. A very slow-moving boat because the boat is loaded down with gold and on the verge of sinking. And let me be clear: This is a boat being paddled by just a couple of dudes. Against all odds (and physics (maybe Peter Jackson has never been in a boat that was still tied to a dock)), rather than the boat stopping, the boat rips the wall out of the prison! Without even slowing down!
And just to continue the stupid of that scene, rather than go out the hole in the wall, Bard suddenly is able to punch a whole in the ceiling and go out that way instead.
2. During the battle, Bard's bow gets broken in half. How is he supposed to shoot the dragon out of the sky with a broken bow? Answer: Jam the two halves of the bow into a crumbling structure (because the dragon smashed it and set it on fire) and proceed to pull the string back as if nothing happened. Oh, except, now, the string is like three times as long and he uses his son to steady the arrow. Which leads me to believe that Jackson has probably never even touched a bow, because what Bard does is the equivalent of trying to shoot down an airplane (that's crawling at you) with one of those toy bows with the suction cup arrows. And, yes, I'm saying this as someone who was at one time into archery and has experience with bows.
The worst part about the movie, though, is that I couldn't wait for Thorin to die. I wanted him to just get it over with. Between all the slow motion talking and the drug hallucinations, I was just through with him. Jackson managed to undermine the entire point of The Hobbit through what he did with Thorin and the Arkenstone. There was no power in Thorin's apology to Bilbo, because there was no understanding on the part of Thorin, just recovery.
Oh, and to go back to mere stupid: Azog blasting through the ice as if he was rocket-powered. Seriously, someone send Peter Jackson back to school so that he can learn things like physics. And to teach him some appreciation of literature. Jackson's Hobbit is the worst piece if fan fiction filth I've ever seen or heard about.
And, yes, that's how I really feel.