I’ve literally just walked out of the theatre and simply had to get this out because while there are moments you want to shout to the mountaintops about, there are also a few moments where you cover your eyes with shame.
What Does NOT Work: nearly the entire first act. There’s no transition from scene to scene and some of the acting in the 1st act leaves you feeling like you’re looking at Monty Python instead of the inhabitants of Middle Earth.
The screenplay in this act is HIGHLY irregular and you find yourself shaking your head so much you might endure w bit of a migraine before it’s all over. Remember we’re still dealing with not only Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) wreaking havoc upon the people of Laketown and there’s that small matter of Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) being entrapped in the darkness by Sauron. I just don’t feel like these two important pieces of the puzzle were handled like they should have been. It felt campy UGGGH. I will say that Luke Evans does a masterful job in this act and leave it at that as I remind myself no spoilers for such a new film.
NOW…WHAT DOES WORK: Bard (Luke Evans) and his children have a connection that you feel throughout the entire film and their bond only seems to grow stronger as the film progresses. Bain (John Bell) is no longer a little boy but truly a man and you see these bits of the torch from his Father being passed to him and yet you still see the fear and thus the youth in him as it should be.
The connection between Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and Thorin (Richard Armitage) is tested repeatedly and seems to hold firm until that moment you realise much of an illusion outward appearances can create. No man among the dwarves has the will to counter Thorin and we again find ourselves owing a Baggins our lives and thus our loyalty in his fortitude.
Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Tauriel (Evangiline Lily), at moments appear to tiptoe around each other until they nearly simultaneously come to the realisation that that is NOT the appropriate behaviour for the situation they find themselves in and an interesting segue, another branch if you will, sprouts and provides us with a testament of their faith, love, and loyalty that they have for each other although Tauriel’s heart clearly belongs to Kili. (The Dwarven Prince)
I have to stop here for a second because I must acknowledge something, Kili (Aidan Turner) and Tauriel are in a place so few find themselves willingly, but once there few people want to be anywhere else. Aiden Turner and Evangeline Lilly do such a superb job of bringing the viewer into that place with them and then almost immediately making you regret that you followed their tracks. And no, this is NOT to be taken as a negative critique. In fact it is the very opposite and once you see the film yourself, it will become quite clearly exactly what I mean.
Legolas and Thraundil (Lee Pace), in a word or two, beautifully awkward. These two dance, they battle, the have an simultaneous epiphany and then they acquiesce. Is it beautiful? YES. Is it awkward? YES. But is it fulfilling in someway leaving you as the viewer satisfied? For me personally, initially, NO. But upon having time to genuinely consider how it plays out on screen and what comes next, I’m satisfied that all is resolved.
Joyll Cambridge hails from Manchester, United Kingdom and currently lives in New York, New York. She loves all things movies, fitness and swirling. To read Joyll’s personal blog at The Humanist Exec, click here.
Joyll joined our team as our Resident Movie Reviewer. To contact Joyll or request a review of a specific movie, email her at SheCritiques@TheSwirlWorld.com.
Copyright ©2014 Michelle Matthews Calloway, ASwirlGirl™, The Swirl World™, The Swirl World Podcast™, All rights reserved. Photo of Joyll Cambridge used with permission. Movie poster from the movie “The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies” obtained from IMDB.