The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition.

So nearly 1 month after I ordered the Bluray, with a many emails sent to track the package and requesting a lost shipment trace, the Bluray for  The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies finally got in on Wednesday and I finally got around to ripping to my computer and then watching it today.

Gotta say, despite all the nasty reviews and people claiming how bad it was, it was pretty fucking good. Easily the best of all 3. Now, whether it should have been 3 movies or 2 movies or even 1 movie is a different question.

Rant here inc…

I really don’t get the need for so many studios to break a book into 2 movies, and in this case 3, or make prequels/sequels based on a trilogy (HELLO HUNGER GAMES.) It happened with lolTwilight (never watched, never read), Harry Potter (watched and soon to be read within 2 months), and the Hunger Games (haven’t watching the Mockingjay part 2 yet, read the trilogy) and the breaking up of the last book seemed more like a cash grab than a decision to stay faithful or true to the spirit of the books. I’m sure its going to happen more with other series’ as well.  In an adaptation of a series/book/game/comic things are going to be lost in the translation to a movie or have things added to either fill out or add detail to and sometimes even both lost and added to. I’d much rather have something that is well-developed and cared for more than perfectly adapted. I look at the show version of A Song of Ice and Fire, known as Game of Thrones to many, as a good example of this. I’d add the Hunger Games too, it’s faithful to the books despite changing or adding things or omitting things and I felt it’s a fairly good adaptation of the books. Adding more sequels or prequels to the Hunger Games though is a straight up cash grab, no matter how good or bad they will be because you fucking know there are Lionsgate executives that want a franchise to attach themselves to like a tick to an unsuspecting host.

My Rant continues…

Also, books/games/comics/series don’t necessarily have to be exactly as the book states either for me considered a good adaptation. I’m speaking specifically here about Idris Elba being considered as being James Bond or Roland Deschain. The color of the skin of both characters matters very little to their characters. I know some people are up in arms about the dynamic between Roland and Susannah but in the end it’s a very small part of the books and matters even less as the books go on. It also a non issue for James Bond, as it is more expectation than anything else. James Bond does not have to be white. Casting a black dude for the role of a white dude is nowhere fucking near the same level as casting a white person as a person of color. Crying that is like it and it being a double standard is a losing argument because things are not equal and to use that argument of being unequal means you have no real notion of equality. Equality is not taking away from some others to add to others to balance things, it’s about having a fair go at life without your gender/culture/lifestyle choice negatively affecting your overall life experience. Meaning the color of your skin, your religion, your culture, your heritage, your choice of gender, your sexual preference does not limit what you can and can’t do in life. With that said, your expectation of the character should not automatically rule out anyone in that role.

Rant continues…

I’ve read some pretty fucking closet racist shit from people on reddit/twitter/facebook, basically anything online that has comments enabled, about this and the most typical response is the going overboard with casting ridiculous choices as whatever roles in whatever adaptation. It’s totally not worth arguing over because you are invariably arguing against a person unaware of their own bigotry/racism. You know it by most sentences beginning with  “I’m not a racist but.” The “but” part makes it totally okay for most people to spout the most bullshit possible.

Rant continues…

For most people racism is such a taboo subject and immediately makes people uncomfortable, awkward, and defensive. People also do not realize their own bias’ or personal racism no matter how subtle or inoffensive it is. It is there and everyone is to one degree or another because no one is perfect and there is no absolute truth or morality because culture differs so greatly, what is acceptable to others is not acceptable and repugnant even to others. I guess that makes me a sort of cultural relativist. It does not mean that I am opposed to things changing for the “better” or to stand and do nothing while people are discriminated or attacked based on gender/sexuality/culture or skin color though. In fact, it’s the opposite, I support the right for anyone to try to change things for the better but that has to come from within the group or culture not something forced upon them, that would a form of imperialism no matter the reason or “just” the cause is.

Ranting is about to end…

Back onto the original rant, there is a need for every studio to have some sort of money-making machine/franchise that nearly anything and everything is being considered to be made into a movie. And in that need is a desperate want to milk out every single option to make a movie. The Hobbit did not need to be made into a trilogy but there was just too much money to be had to do it. The Hunger Games do not need sequels or prequels, but there is too much money to be made to not do them.

HA, ranting continues but more on topic this time …

The Hobbit trilogy is okay, all the movies had a lot of thought and development put into them and are fine movies. However, it is a bad adaptation but decent movies. A good example to compare it to is the The Shining, a great movie but a pretty bad adaptation of the books (in Stephen King’s opinion on the of the worst of his works and that is saying a lot.) The Hobbit movies are entertaining and enjoyable, and a couple of them are pretty good (in my opinion 1 and 3.) However, as an adaptation it is pretty underwhelming. It probably would have been truly great as a single movie but it definitely made a lot more money as an okay trilogy Nothing in particular in terms of the story or characters or setting or dialogue made it particularly bad as an adaptation though, it just felt unnecessary to expand into a trilogy. As is the case, this is merely my opinion, your mileage may vary.

If you are curious about what I consider a “good adaptation” here a couple of movies I consider good adaptations:

  • Man on Fire
  • V for Vendetta
  • From Hell
  • Watchmen
  • The Godfather
  • The Hunger Games
  • The Mist
  • Sin City
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Horns

I’m gonna reserve judgement or opinion on the Harry Potter series until I finish up the series, which will probably be in late January.

RANT FINALLY ENDS…

Back on topic, I thoroughly enjoyed the fuck out of Battle of the Five Armies and consider easily my favorite of the 3. Over the next few days I will be watching the excellent special features, Peter Jackson really delivers on these extended editions, and I buy the blurays/dvds for them especially. The featurettes are longer and more detailed than the movies, both of them are around 4 hours and 50+minutes long, and I’m never disappointed watching them.

My absolute favorite part of the movie is the Dwarven arming marching up to the lonely mountain and the charge of the rams into the lines of Mirkwood Elves. Epic fantasy battles just press all the right buttons for me, I love watching the charge of the Rohirrim in Return of the King, and this battle is why I like the movie so much. The only weird part for me was the ending, the transition to the older Bilbo and the opening of the Fellowship of the Ring. It makes the “you haven’t aged a day” statement out-of-place because Bilbo in the hobbit was a lot younger looking. It’s more of nitpick really and doesn’t ruin anything for me, it just made it weird.

I prefer to watch movies on bluray at home now instead of theatres, I don’t know if that makes me anti-social or not, because I can sit and watch comfortably at my own leisure. It also has to do with me living in a near remote northern BC village with a shit local theatre that I’d have to drive 1 hour to see and the 1 hour to drive back from. Although, even if I did live in a city with multiple theatres, I’d still probably prefer to watch at home because of the hassle of traveling, picking available seats, and very expensive bags of popcorn and drinks.

So in summary, I like to rant a lot, you can freely disagree with me as to the content of my rants as well with no judgement from me, and The Battle of the Five Armies extended edition was worth waiting for. And over the weekend I will be watching the excellent special features. I will post on those after I watch them.

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