Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, 2001

Fellowship of the Ring.jpg

December 19, 2001
Dir. Peter Jackson
Prod. Barrie M. Osborne, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Tim Sanders
Genre: Epic High Fantasy
Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Sean Bean, Ian Holm, Andy Serkis

I love Lord of the Rings. The whole series is amazing and it’s definitely what kicked off my love for New Zealand.

I’ve seen the first film in the trilogy more times than I can count and think it’s absolutely brilliant. I recently bought the extended edition (finally) and have really enjoyed seeing all the behind the scenes stuff that went into making the film.

If I were to ask you to name a film (or several) that you thought was truly great I’m sure everyone would have a different answer. However, I don’t think anyone can deny that Fellowship of the Ring is definitely on that list.

Fellowship brings together an intriguing plot, fascinating characters, and a beautiful landscape and creates what is probably one of the best films of all time.

The film follows Frodo Baggins, a hobbit from The Shire, as he embarks on a quest to destroy an all powerful ring. A ring that could bring an end to Middle Earth if it fell into the wrong hands. With the help of several companies along the way, Frodo takes great steps on his journey to saving all of Middle Earth.

Now, as I mentioned before Lord of the Rings is full of interesting characters and in this first film we meet the original ‘fellowship’: Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Gandalf, Aragorn, Boromir, Legolas, and Gimli.

All of these characters are very different and not only do they each bring something unique to the fellowship, but they bring something unique to the screen that makes the film all the more enjoyable.

On the surface each character appears very simple, Frodo is the hero, Sam the loyal companion, Merry and Pippin the comic relief, Aragorn the warrior, and Boromir the traitor. But they are all so much more than that. Each character, from Gimli to Gandalf, offers comedic moments and heart wrenching moments; moments where you admire their bravery and moments where you want to slap them for their stupidity (you know who I’m talking about).

However, even at their lowest moments you can’t help wanting these characters to succeed. Maybe not at everything they attempt to do (like, you know, stealing the ring from Frodo), but at most things. You want to see what happens next, where these characters are going, what they’re going to encounter.

And what they encounter is a whole lot of adventure and a whole lot of beauty as they travel across Middle Earth aka New Zealand.

Over the years my dream destination has changed drastically. As a child of course I wanted to go to Disney World. Then as I got older I wanted to go to England and Scotland, two places my family comes from.

Well now I’ve been to Disney World and I’d still love to go to England Scotland one day, for many years now I’ve wanted nothing more than to go to New Zealand. And Lord of the Rings played a big part in that.

Fellowship was my first memorable view of New Zealand and every time I watch the film and the ones that follow I desperately want to walk the same paths the fellowship follows over mountains and trails.

 New Zealand is Middle Earth, it is magical and mysterious and full of creatures that don’t exist anywhere else.

Kiwi 2.jpg

Fellowship of the Ring is a cinematic masterpiece. Not only does it contain all the things required to make a good film (interesting plot, characters, etc.), but it also contains something that keeps the audience completely entranced. I don’t quite know how to describe it, but anyone who has watched Lord of the Rings will know what I’m talking about.

There’s just something about these films, and Fellowship in particular, that keeps you watching over and over again.

Near the start of this review I called this film one of the best films of all time and I stand by that statement. There are many films that could fall into that category, but for all the reasons stated above and many more, I think you can see why Fellowship belongs there.

What do you think of Fellowship of the Ring? Which character is your favourite?

Facebook | Twitter


Goodnight Mommy (Ich Seh Ich Seh), 2015

Goodnight Mommy.jpg

January 8, 2015
Dir. Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala
Prod. Ulrich Seidl
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Starring: Susanne Wuest, Elias Schwarz, Lukas Schwarz

****WARNING: Major spoilers for Goodnight Mommy, if you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want to know what happens, STOP READING!****

When I first saw the trailer for this movie I thought it looked creepy, but not terrifying. That was definitely part of the reason I was willing to watch it. While it wasn’t terrifying (at least I didn’t think so, thankfully), it definitely messed with my head and had some majorly scary bits.

Goodnight Mommy (original title: Ich Seh Ich Seh) is a psychological thriller from Austria. Starring Susanne Wuest, Elias Schwarz, and Lukas Schwarz, this film does a lot with very little. You will be cringing at certain points all while marvelling at how beautiful the overall film is.

After returning home from getting cosmetic surgery, Lukas and Elias’s mother is different. They’re not sure how or why, but they’re convinced she’s not really their mother. Now the boys must work together to figure out the truth and what the truth is is a twist you won’t see coming.

This was a great film. I’m not one for scary movies, but like I said before, this one didn’t look too bad. It looked creepy, but not like it would have me cowering in the corner of the room with all the lights on. I definitely jumped at a few points, cringed at several more. There were a few times I had to close my eyes and mute the film because it was either gross or super uncomfortable (I’ll explain why in a minute).

Overall though I really enjoyed it. The acting was great, I know some people said they called the ending, but I definitely wasn’t expecting it, and it was really just a beautiful film. Not everything, obviously, as there were cockroaches and gross things involved, but the house was beautiful, the entire setting was just amazing to look at.

This film doesn’t have a lot of dialogue and there are many scenes where it’s completely silent, but it’s not an awkward or uncomfortable silence like what you might get in some films, Goodnight Mommy is just… quiet. And it’s nice. It gives you a chance to take in the scene.

You know how with some films there’s so much going on that you can watch it 100 times and still notice new things by the 101 time you watch it? Goodnight Mommy has three main actors and the silence allows you to take in everything. It’s definitely a film you’d need to see more than once to fully understand it, but your eyes aren’t darting back and forth trying to see everything.

I think the worst (best) part of the film is that it relaxes you with how beautiful it all is and then swoops in to mess with your head.

I have to give seriously high praise to Elias and Lukas Schwarz who play the boys in the film. They had to do some seriously messed up stuff and they played their characters so perfectly. Elias at the end was just breaking my heart and the way they interacted with each other and their mother through the whole film was perfect.

Some of the things they had to do, well, let’s just say there’s no way I could ever have done that. These boys will have you questioning their sanity and your own until the credits roll. And if I’m being totally honest, you’ll still be questioning even after.

I’ve never been a huge fan of foreign films before simply because I don’t want to have to sit and read subtitles for the whole thing. The only thing I normally will sit and read subtitles for is anime and even then the episodes are only a half hour.

However, as soon as I saw the preview for Goodnight Mommy I knew I had to see this film and I’m so glad I did. It’s such a great movie and it’s definitely turned me on to seeing more foreign films, especially creepy ones.

Goodnight Mommy is the perfect film for all horror movie fans, but may not be great for those with weak stomachs. I seriously recommend seeing this movie, I can assure you that you won’t regret it.

Have you seen Goodnight Mommy? If so let me know what you thought!

Facebook | Twitter

Mamma Mia, 2008

Mamma MiaJuly 18, 2008
Dir. Phyllida Lloyd
Prod. Judy Craymer, Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks
Genre: Musical Romantic Comedy
Based On: Music by ABBA
Starring: Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, Julie Walters, Dominic Cooper, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski

I’ve been watching this movie a lot lately. It’s just one of those films that I can watch over and over and a lot of the time I’ll have it on in the background while I’m working. Maybe it’s because it just feels like I’m listening to music.

Mamma Mia was originally a musical based on the music of ABBA and was adapted into a film in 2008.

Meryl Streep stars as Donna Sheridan, single mother to Sophie (played by Amanda Seyfried) who sets out to find out who her father is before she gets married. The catch? There are three possible men who may be her father, but she doesn’t know which one it is and nether does her mother.

I love this film! I went and saw it when it was in theatres and it was so great because everyone in the theatre was jamming along to the music.

It was pretty obvious from the start that this film would be a huge success, a big reason for that being the all-star cast.

When you have Meryl Streep as the leading lady and acting opposite actors Stellan Skarsgard, Pierce Brosnan, and Julie Walters, to name a few, you know the bar is going to be set high.

Everyone is so recognizable which I love. You see an actor or actress in this film and it’s pretty likely that you’ve seen them somewhere else. And everyone can sing! I know that should seem obvious since Mamma Mia is a musical, but I wasn’t expecting it from some people!

I wasn’t expecting Karen from Mean Girls or Mrs. Weasley to be able to sing. Not only that, but now every time I watch Captain America I can’t stop laughing because before he was Howard Stark, many people saw Dominic Cooper dancing in sparkly spandex while singing “Waterloo”.

It truly is one of the best things I have ever seen in my life.

Mamma Mia is, of course, all about the music. Some of the songs will have you laughing, some of them will have you crying, but all of them will have you dancing.

I can’t really choose a favourite song in the film because they’re all so good, but “Dancing Queen”, “Does Your Mother Know”, and “Slipping Through My Fingers” are three in particular that I listen to over and over. “Slipping Through My Fingers” is the one that really gets the emotions going so be warned, but “Dancing Queen” is definitely one that will have you on your feet.

Of course, the music wouldn’t make us feel any of these things if it weren’t for the cast and crew. Obviously people feel something beforehand because some people have seen the musical or many people (I’m assuming) listen to ABBA.

But in the case of a movie, the challenge is making the audience feel something right off the bat, a connection to these characters they’re seeing. Because if the audience doesn’t care, then what?

But from the opening scene you can’t help it, immediately there is a love and connection for these characters. They’re all just so much fun! There isn’t one character in this film where you go, “ugh, I can’t stand them!” That feeling doesn’t exist in this movie!

Maybe it’s down to the writing, the directing, the actors, or the music. Whatever it is, that connection is there right off the bat and you can’t help but like them and want to know more.

The scenery helps too. Even if you didn’t like the characters, I’d keep watching just for the scenery because the settings in this movie is truly a sight to see.

Mamma Mia was filmed in various locations with majority of the outdoor scenes being filmed on location on a small island in Greece and oh my goodness this movie makes me want to up and move to Greece. It’s so gorgeous!

I feel like I should have known it was filmed on location because there’s no way you could manufacture water that blue, but at the same time it doesn’t seem possible for water to be that blue in nature without anyone doing anything.

God the wanderlust is strong with this film. You’re going to want to pack your bags and move to Greece, signing “Dancing Queen” all the way.

The last thing I really want to talk about for this film is the costumes. The costume department did a top notch job with this one because each character is so distinct in how they dress. From Harry’s (Firth) business suits to Tanya’s (Baranski) expensive dressed to Sky (Cooper) constantly wearing swim shorts, each character is so individual and unique that it just makes this film even more special.

It gives them all personality and really shows that you what kind of lives they live whether it be single and structured or on the island swimming every day. The costumes tell a story in themselves so kudos to the costume department.

Mamma Mia is a spectacular film and musical. The cast do an amazing job bringing these characters to life and the music is something I listen to over and over again.

If you haven’t seen this film I highly recommend it. Even if you’re not typically a fan of musicals, if you like music and top quality acting, you’ll like Mamma Mia.

Order Mamma Mia on Amazon

Follow me on Twitter | Like me on Facebook

Frozen, 2013

frozenNovember 27, 2013
Dir. Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Prod. Peter Del Vecho
Genre: Computer-Animated Musical Fantasy
Based On: The Snow Queen, Hans Christian Andersen
Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana

Alright, so I’m going to bet that when you saw the title of this review you either went, “Yes! Frozen!” or, “Oh no, not Frozen…” Me? I’m the first one, I love Frozen. A little relative of mine also loves Frozen which is why I’m reviewing it today.

Even if you haven’t seen this movie I’m going to assume you’ve heard of it since it was pretty much the biggest thing since sliced bread for pretty much all of last year and a good portion of this year. the hype seems to have died down a bit, but with Halloween and Christmas coming up I’m betting Olaf will be rising from the dead.

There are so many things about this film that make it amazing. The animation is brilliant, the music is wonderful, and it’s absolutely hilarious. That’s not to say I liked everything about the film, there’s one thing in particular that sticks out in my mind that I wasn’t crazy about, but I’ll get to that in just a minute.

Let’s start with the music which is probably the thing everyone knows best from this Disney movie.

The Frozen soundtrack is everywhere. Seriously, there are conspiracies about the government trying to brainwash people with radio waves, even the government couldn’t do as good a job as Frozen did with “Let It Go”.

I was working at a summer camp the summer after Frozen was released and every child ages four and five knew the words to “Let It Go”. Some of them even knew the words to the other songs! The music is just so catchy.

I will admit that when I walked out of the theatre after seeing Frozen I was humming the music and I immediately went home and looked up the songs on Youtube because they’re just really good. I don’t know what it is. Disney movies always have great music, but for some reason this soundtrack is just in everyone’s heads.

I heard “Let It Go” on the radio the other day as I was driving to a friend’s house and I turned it up and I was just jamming along and it was great. Whether it’s the amazing lyrics or the breathtaking voice of Idina Menzel, I’m not sure, but it’s a great song.

But of course, it’s not the only song in the movie so let’s move on to the others shall we? There are eight other main songs (meaning not the instrumental songs) on the soundtrack.

“Frozen Heart”
“Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”
“For the First Time in Forever”
“Love is an Open Door”
“Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People”
“In Summer”
“For the First Time in Forever (Reprise)”
“Fixer Upper”

I love all these songs and I don’t think I could pick a favourite. They’re fun, they’re catchy, the singers are brilliant, and they’re just so memorable. Seriously, go listen to one of these songs and tell me it doesn’t get stuck in your head.

Now, I did actually have an issue with the music in this film and that issue is that the music pretty much takes place only in the first half of the film. Seven of the songs and “Let It Go” take place in the first half and then the only song that really happens during the second half of the film is “Fixer Upper”. I love the music, but I wish it had been a bit more spread out through the film.

Honestly though, this is only a tiny thing in a film that is absolutely brilliant. The animation is great. The characters have individual little stray hairs and the snowflakes looked so real. I will never stop being impressed with the technology and the artists who create these things.

Not only that, but the writers did an amazing job. This humour in this film is non-stop, especially with Olaf.

Olaf is my absolute favourite character in this film. I even created a life size cut out of him when I was at uni as a decoration for my dorm’s lounge.

 Decorating for Christmas 20

He’s funny and sarcastic and his lines were the best in the whole film.

The worst character was definitely Hans. I saw someone on Tumblr once describe him as being like a villain out of Game of Thrones and I’d say this is a pretty accurate description. He was going to slice Elsa with a sword! If Anna hadn’t got in the way and turned to ice when she did she’d be dead or Elsa would be dead and it would’ve been a whole different kind of movie.

They would’ve needed a higher rating for that.

Frozen is great. I know a lot of people are sick of it, but it is genuinely a great film. If you have little relatives watch it with them. The songs may annoy you and you may be sick of hearing about Frozen, but their excitement is so adorable.

Or, if you’re really sick Frozen, go look up some of the parodies on “Let It Go”. There are so many out there, I’ve heard a ton and they’re all hilarious.

The Hillywood Show did one based on Lord of the Rings and you can watch the video below.

There’s also this one which is called the ‘Honest Exams Version’ and I don’t recommend it for small children as it does contain lots of cursing, but hey, it’s about exams so what do you expect?

If you haven’t seen Frozen yet I seriously recommend watching it. It’s a brilliant film and it isn’t nearly as annoying as all the merchandise makes it seem.

If you have seen Frozen let me know what you thought!

Follow me on Twitter | Like me on Facebook

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, 2013

Hansel and GretelJanuary 25, 2013
Dir. Tommy Wirkola
Prod. Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Kevin Messick, Beau Flynn
Genre: Action Horror Neo-Noir
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Peter Stormare, Thomas Mann, Derek Mears, Pihla Viitala, Robert Atkin Downes (Voice)

When I first heard of this movie it sounded really interesting. The preview kind of turned me off because of how gory it looked, but I figured since Hawkeye was in it, it would probably be a good film.

It is a very gory film, but surprisingly I wasn’t as grossed out as I thought I would be. I blame The Walking Dead for desensitizing me to blood and guts.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters takes the classic childhood fairytale and turns it on it’s head. Or rather, cuts off it’s head and burns it which is something you’ll see happen a lot in this movie.

The story starts off the same as it does in the original. After being abandoned in the forest by their father, Hansel (Renner) and Gretel (Arterton) find a house made of candy and the witch tricks them into coming inside before locking them up with the intent of eating them. However, that’s where the similarities stop.

Hansel and Gretel manage to escape their cage and kill the witch, thus taking on their official new roles as Witch Hunters. They spend their lives traveling all over killing witches and rescuing the children they kidnap.

This is how they end up in Augsburg. An incredibly powerful witch named Muriel (Janssen) is kidnapped children to use in a ritual that will help them become immune to fire, their one great weakness.

With the help of Ben (Mann) and Edward the Troll (Mears), Hansel and Gretel manage to stop the witches and discover something surprising about their own family along the way.

I really love this film. I’m a big fan of the grittier versions of fairytales and this is definitely one of those versions. The acting was brilliant, Renner and Arterton did an amazing job and Thomas Mann and Derek Mears play two characters you will absolutely love.

It’s gross and gritty, but also manages to be incredibly funny and I guarantee you will enjoy every minute.

Now, of course, we can’t have a Hansel and Gretel film with a Hansel and a Gretel. Jeremy Renner as Hansel was so perfect in this role. It’s so different from other stuff I’ve seen him in, but he still has the same sarcasm I’ve come to enjoy in his previous roles.

I hadn’t seen too much of Arterton’s work before this. I knew who she was, but I hadn’t watched too many of the things she had been in. However, anything she’s in now I look forward to as she was absolutely brilliant in this. There are some actors I find who are very expressive and she’s definitely one of them.

There were some scenes between her and Renner and even if she wasn’t saying anything out loud it was like she had just said an entire monologue with her expression.

She and Renner were absolutely amazing acting opposite each other. They conveyed the sibling dynamic perfectly. From the way they tease each other to the way they protect each other, Renner and Arterton did a phenomenal job.

Famke Janssen was great. I’ve seen her a couple things, but the main thing I really know her from is her role as Jean Grey in X-Men. While she was technically a bad guy in the third film in that series, it was nothing to her character in this one. I mean, Jean Grey didn’t eat children so there’s that. It was pretty great seeing her a role so vastly different from the others I’ve seen her in and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this other side to an actress I really like.

I mentioned before that Thomas Mann and Derek Mears play two characters who you will love and I say this because they are funny and adorable and perfectly round out the main cast on the good guy’s side.

Thomas Mann plays Ben, a teenager who is a major (and I mean major) fan of Hansel and Gretel. From the first moment we really meet him with his book of Hansel and Gretel articles (he was the original fanboy), Ben is a character you can’t help liking.

Mears was a bit of a different case. Starting out working for the wrong side, Mears plays Edward, a troll who eventually rescues Gretel and befriends her. He’s big and grunts a lot and kind of reminds me of a really strong guard dog. While I was a bit iffy about him at first, by the end of the film I was rooting for him and so glad he made it out okay.

I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be the costume and makeup departments. Or the special effects people for that matter. The witches faces were disgusting and I didn’t recognize any of the actresses when their faces changed. The body suit Mears had to wear to play Edward almost had me believing in trolls. It looked so real!

Each scene was done so flawlessly it looks like they actually changed their faces from looking normal to being gross and terrifying. However, you know that obviously didn’t happen, and I have to give kudos to the people who sat for hours applying makeup and prosthetics. And to the actors for sitting still long enough to do that.

I made a paper mache mask in eighth grade and had to sit still with it for twenty minutes and barely managed that so I can’t imagine being on either side of the makeup for hours.

And can I just say, the amount of fake blood they used in this film must have been ridiculous. There was so many splatter and burning bodies and exploding bodies and just so many bodies. Bodies, blood, and fire. I’m assuming there was a medical team on standby.

One thing I really loved about this film was something they added in that I never would have thought of. Hansel has diabetes. After being forced to eat all that candy as a child in the witch’s house, he developed “Sugar Sickness” and needs to inject himself with medicine at certain times otherwise he gets sick. This is brilliant. I never would have thought of it, but it makes so much sense. He even created his own special watch that goes off when he needs an injection and I thought this whole thing was so smart and such a good idea on the writer’s part. Amazing.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters takes a beloved fairytale and adds gore, dark humour, and lots of cursing. And you know what? It’s absolutely brilliant. The actors are great, the special effects are disgusting (so something obviously went right there), and I watch it all the time.

If you have a weak stomach or don’t like cursing this film might not be for you, but if that sort of stuff just rolls off your back then I highly recommend watching Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters immediately. Seriously. Stop reading this and go watch the movie. You won’t regret it.

Follow me on Twitter | Like me on Facebook

Fantastic Four, 2015

Fantastic FourAugust 7, 2015
Dir. Josh Trank
Prod. Simon Kinberg, Matthew Vaughn, Hutch Parker, Robert Kulzar, Gregory Goodman
Genre: Superhero
Based On: Fantastic Four by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Starring: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey, Tim Blake Nelson

I thought remaking a film was meant to make the film better. Apparently that’s not the case with Fantastic Four. I saw this film yesterday and it was honestly a huge disappointment. My friend described it as ‘50% poorly reworked back-story and 50% bad CGI’. This is a pretty accurate description.

Now don’t get me wrong. It definitely wasn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen, that spot is still held by Cloverfield, but this one is definitely up there.

I know a lot of people didn’t like the other film version of Fantastic Four (2005). Personally, I didn’t mind it or it’s sequel, The Silver Surfer (2007). They weren’t cinematic masterpieces, but I actually did enjoy them. I think that fact just made the new movie even worse.

It’s been ten years since the first FF so theoretically they should’ve improved greatly when creating the new one. In ten years they could’ve figured out what it was about the original that everyone hated so much. They have access to better technology so this movie should’ve looked great!

Instead, I spent two hours bored and unimpressed. I’ve seen some of the actors in other projects and they’re great, but none of them really seemed believable in their roles. I spent a good portion of the film trying to figure out how old each of the characters were supposed to be and what their relationships were to each other. They just all seemed really awkward, but I think this had more to do with the super corny and awkward dialogue.

Seriously, the line at the end, when Ben says “fantastic” and that’s how Reed comes up with the name ‘Fantastic Four’. Oh. My. God. I cringed so hard it was ridiculous. That’s so cheesy! Like, in the 2005 version, Johnny comes up with their superhero names and that’s super cheesy, but it’s funny. It’s supposed to be funny and kind of dumb because Johnny’s doing it deliberately. This was just bad.

Something else about this film I was disappointed with was the CGI. It wasn’t terrible, I’ve seen some really poorly done CGI babies, so to create an entire planet with computers they did alright. But it is 2015 and while my hopes weren’t high, I don’t think they could’ve done any worse.

I also spent quite a lot of time trying to figure out if Doom’s beam was a rip off of the beam in “Mass Effect” or if it was just a coincidence.

Overall, the new Fantastic Four isn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen. It’s not even the worst remake I’ve seen. however, it’s not a movie I’ll voluntarily watch again. I’m hopeful that if they decide to do a sequel they’ll take everything they did wrong here and do the opposite.

They had the chance to make a great film and, unfortunately, it flopped. However, since it’s Fantastic Four I’m hopeful that they’ll redeem themselves. One day. Maybe in another ten years. After they sell back the rights to Marvel.

Have you seen Fantastic Four? What did you think?

Follow me on Twitter | Like me on Facebook

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, 2014

Battle of the Five ArmiesDecember 17, 2014
Dir. Peter Jackson
Prod. Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner, Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson
Genre: Epic Fantasy Adventure
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Lee Pace, Graham Mctavish, Ken Stott, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, William Kercher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Sylvester McCoy, Manu Bennett, John Tui, Billy Connolly, Mikael Persbrandt, Stephen Fry, John Bell, Peggy Nesbitt, Mary Nesbitt

****Warning: This post contains MAJOR spoilers for The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies and The Hobbit book****

This is it. The final Hobbit film. Probably the last film to ever be based on any work by the brilliant J.R.R. Tolkien. The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies.

In this final installment of The Hobbit trilogy, loyalties are tested, families divided, and battle fought. We see death, love, and a war of epic proportions, pretty much everything that makes a good Tolkien/Jackson film.

And let me tell you, this was a good film. I actually think of all three films, Battle of the Five Armies might have been my favorite. It’s pretty close with the first one, some days it’s one and some days it’s three, but it’s definitely up there.

This is because of many reasons, the first of which is the special effects. It’s kind of funny because I know special effects (at least in regard to CGI) was something a lot of people hated about it this film, but personally it didn’t bother me.

I really can’t tell the difference between an army made up of thousands of CGI soldiers and an army of thousands of real soldiers. You know, since I’m typically more focused on the main characters and not the extras in the background. But I mean, if the CGI were really bad you would notice so I think it probably says a lot that I pay about as much attention to the armies in The Hobbit as I did in Lord of the Rings.

Besides, I think any displeasure over the use of CGI can pretty much be annihilated over the glorious being called Smaug.

I’ll admit I was kind of disappointed at how little Smaug there actually was in this film. I thought Desolation of Smaug ended in a great place, but it left so much hype for Smaug that the scene in BotFA just didn’t quite meet the mark.

However, the lack of Smaug in film three was not down to Peter Jackson and the rest of the crew, but rather the plot of the book which is something they followed very closely.

This is something I’ve always loved about Jackson’s adaptations. He sticks to, and honours, Tolkien’s story. If you look at other film adaptation like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson the story is there, the ideas are there, but there are so many changes that the emotions readers got from the book isn’t the same.

This is the total opposite of what The Hobbit does. Even when they have to cut scenes for time, Tolkien’s world and voice still shines through.

Of course, not everything is the same. Several characters were added into the films who either weren’t in the book at all or only had small roles. The most notable of these was probably Tauriel, who Jackson added because he said it didn’t feel right to have this huge film come out with now strong females characters in this day and age.

Now I did already talk about Tauriel in my review of Desolation of Smaug and I stand by what I said there, but I did a difference between films two and three that I quite liked. Tauriel is such a badass. Her character is spectacular and Evangeline Lilly did a phenomenal job bringing her to life. But in the second film, this badassery is overshadowed a bit by the love triangle she was thrust into with Kili and Legolas.

While the love triangle is still there, it didn’t feel stifling in the third film. It didn’t overpower or overshadow any of the characters and didn’t stop them from fighting or their lives when the time came. I loved what they did with Tauriel in the third film because she felt much more like the badass female character Jackson had been aiming for and less like an object of desire.

A character I wish we could have seen more of though was Fili. This was actually probably the thing that bugged me the most. They added in a love story, but Fili really didn’t get very much screen time.

Dean O’Gorman is a phenomenal actor (seriously, check out The Almighty Johnsons, it’s great) and we didn’t get to see that much in this film. But only that, but (*Spoiler Alert*) they totally changed his death scene which, in turn, changed Kili’s and Thorin’s.

In the book Kili and Fili die defending their uncle. In BotFA they die totally separately and, while both death scenes were incredibly sad (I cried), I feel like it would have been a lot more powerful if the brother had died together.

That being said, I thought Thorin’s death scene was pretty good. I thought at first it was really lame when Azog just slips off the ice and into the water. First time I saw it I was like, “Are you kidding? All that build up and… what? He just drowns?” But no, it was fine. They brought it back and Thorin’s death ended up being even more emotional than I’d thought it would be.

Overall I felt like Battle of the Five Armies was a great film, but I was a little disappointed (confused) by the ending. I feel like they really left things handing, especially if you haven’t read the book.

Like, now that Thorin, Fili, and Kili are gone, who will rule The Lonely Mountain? What happens to Bard and his children? What about Thranduil? I’ve read the book so I know all these answers, but it just really felt like their were a lot of loose ends when the credits rolled. It just didn’t feel finished.

Honestly though, I did love the film. For all the things I think could’ve been improved, Battle of the Five Armies really was a great movie and I will be watching it over and over and over again.

Have you seen Battle of the Five Armies? What did you think?

Which is your favourite out of the three?

Are you ready to say goodbye to Middle Earth?


Follow me on Twitter | Like me on Facebook