The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Film Review, Part 4

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Film Review, Part 4

Good morning, Rebels, and welcome back to my life.

Spoiler warning right up front for The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies film.

So today let’s talk about the role of Thorin in the movie, and most importantly, what happens to him at the end.

You already left for the spoiler warning, right?

Okay, good. I’m talking about his death, and also the deaths of Fili and Kili.

Now THIS was actually one of THE most problematic parts of the movie for me, and it’s not only how he died, but everything leading up to it.

Now let’s get this out of the way up front: in the film he died fighting Azog, when in the book he died fighting Bolg, Azog’s son, because Thorin’s cousin Dain killed Azog back in the Battle of Moria after Azog killed Thorin’s father.

This is a break from canon, but I can respect it as a filmmaking decision, because who is Thorin going to have a bigger grudge against? The goblin who killed his father, or the son of the goblin who killed his father?

Although I think that as long as they’re changing things, they missed a HUUUGE opportunity to have Thorin kill Bolg in front of Azog, which just would have been such a great FU to him.

With some really awesome one-liner like, “My father died at your hand—and now your son has died at mine,” or “If my line ends here, then so does yours.”

*FANGIRLING*

And yes, it was super annoying when he stood on the ice looking down at Azog’s “dead” face and we all knew Azog was going to burst impossibly through the ice to kill him.

But at the same time, Richard Armitage was so good in that scene that I totally believed his desire to watch his enemy float away to his death.

But in the film Thorin dies after seeing Azog and Bolg kill Fili and Kili, whereas in the book he dies, and then Fili and Kili die protecting his body.

This is a HUGE thematic element in The Hobbit and stems from the Anglo-Saxon tradition of strong love between an uncle and his sister’s sons, which they hold as one of the strongest familial bonds there is.

Now they still could have had Fili and Kili die before Thorin, and that could have been incredibly intense…I just don’t think they pulled it off.

Their deaths were given very little weight—especially Kili’s death, which was given a huge amount of importance to Tauriel but none to Thorin, because HE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW ABOUT IT.

So that’s problematic, but I take bigger issue with the fact that Thorin left the battle itself to go confront Azog on top of a mountain, far removed from all the rest of the conflict.

First of all, I think EVERY one of the company of thirteen would have gone with him to confront Azog. It doesn’t make sense to me that any one of them would be willing to stay behind at that point.

But far more importantly is what it signified for Thorin’s character, and how it robbed him of the actual resolution of his storyline.

In the book, like the film, Thorin comes bursting out of the mountain with all thirteen of his dwarves.

They charge the goblin ranks, leading a counterattack, and everyone rallies to his side—and I do mean EVERYONE.

He shouts, “To me! To me! Elves and Men! To me! O my kinsfolk!” And they LISTEN. The entire force rallies around him, dwarves, elves and men, and together with the final rescue of the eagles, the battle is won.

And Thorin dies on the battlefield, fighting his mortal enemy, with the support of all three of the good races of the North—four, if you count Bilbo.

It’s the moment when he really, truly becomes the King Under the Mountain. And that’s how he leaves this world.

A personal duel against Azog on top of a mountain, far removed from all the rest of the armies, robs Thorin of this moment.

Because when he dies, he’s just another lost dwarf in the wilderness, fighting desperately against a single goblin.

He’s not a king—he’s a wandering prince, just like he’s spent the last many decades of his life, the exact thing he’s been trying to escape for the last three movies.

So that was disappointing—the great disappointment of the trilogy, at least for me. And now, I think I’ve covered all my problems with the third Hobbit film.

But that doesn’t mean I’m done talking about it. In tomorrow’s video I want to start going back through the movie and talking about what they did RIGHT.

Because there were so many things that they NAILED, not only in this movie, but in the trilogy, and that’s what we’ll start visiting tomorrow.

Because it’s a pretty crappy review that talks only about the bad points in a movie, especially when this guy right here actually LOVED it.

So stay tuned Rebels, don’t forget to subscribe if you aren’t already, check the video description to links to my books and website, and I will see you tomorrow. Maybe. Byyye.

 

Garrett Robinson

Over 100,000 readers have read and loved Garrett's books, like the fantasy hits Nightblade and Midrealm. He's also a film festival favorite with movies like Unsaid, and a tech guru who posts lots of helpful how-tos for writers and filmmakers over at garrettbrobinson.com.

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