Skip to main content


There is a fantastic scene in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies that has nothing to do with the battle itself. We see Thoirn Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) walking across the halls of Erabor, the halls itself covered in solid gold. He has a vision of himself sinking to the abyss of the halls that have melted down to liquid, screaming and crying out for help, but only sinking faster. The last time we left his company, they had driven the dragon Smaug out from under the Lonley Mountain, but let him loose on the people of Lake Town. The son of Thrain, son of Thorn has his home again, but has gone mad with greed over the treasure. The pissed off former residents of the town, led by Bard (Luke Evans), along with King Thranduil (Lee Pace) demand he honor his promise to share in the wealth of the Mountain, or else they'll reign Elvish arrows down on his ass. Blinded by his greed, his own company begins to turn on him, including Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) who tries to make a deal with the leaders of the Men and King of Mirkwood  in order to get him to listen to some sense. The scene in question is simple, but well-acted by Armitage, because we're allowed to see just how much his greed and stubbornness has affected all those around him. I also think it's an excellent metaphor for what's become of director, co-writer and producer Peter Jackson.

The original Lord of the Rings trilogy was a spectacle in its own right, but the original trilogy never forgot what made the journey of the Fellowship so compelling: the individual stories of the members themselves. Jackson paid as much attention to how much of a mental and emotional toll the burden Frodo Baggins was carrying as he and Samwise Gamgee made their way to the darkness of Mordor to destroy the One Ring, as he did to the practical and visual effects. He remembered that Aragon's story of how he has to come to grips with being the rightful King of Gondor and being a leader of Men was just as important as staging the Battle of Helm's Deep. Simply put: he never forgot that the story, the character's personal dramas and arcs were just as important as wowing the audience at the sheer size, scope and clear vision of bringing J.R.R. Tolkien's world to vivid life. And it's painfully, abundantly clear that he's forgotten that crucial aspect in his prequel trilogy; none more so in the final chapter to his Middle-Earth saga, and in his films following the conclusion of Return of the King.

The titular battle between Elves, Men, Dwarves, Orcs and Goblins, as promised, is a 45-minute spectacle of CG carnage, swords clashing, shields smashing and well-executed choreography.And believe me: you feel every last minute of it, to the point where you just stare at the effects and wonder to yourself, 'when does it end?' Sure there are breaks in the action, but they feel few and far between. And even-though it runs at 2 hours and 24 minutes - the shortest of the Middle-Earth saga, it still feels like we've been in the theater for longer than that. The battle itself isn't even that impressive, because the wow factor he had when we saw an army of Uruk-hai march on the Hornburg, or seeing King Theoden march his Riders of Rohan to the fields of Pelennor at the point is long gone.

Walking away from tonight's 7:00 p.m. showing of The Battle of the Five Armies made me feel something that I've never felt before with the other Lord of the Rings movies: that I was glad that it ended.

** stars out of ****


Popular posts from this blog

Even Us Liberals Have To Deal With Annoying Loudmouths

Editor's note: the point of this post is not to target Bernie Sanders supporters. My intention is to talk about an experience I had with one person in particular and convey that I'm not a fan of his "agree with me or you're not a real liberal!" style of radio/podcasting.

From the website

obnoxious: adjective1.
obnoxiousbehavior. 2.
annoyingorobjectionableduetobeingashowofforattractingundue attentiontooneself:
anobnoxiouslittlebrat. 3.
Archaic.exposedorliabletoharm,evil,oranythingobjectionable. 4.
Obsolete.liabletopunishmentorcensure;reprehensible. I love watching The Young Turks on You Tube. I try to catch clips and stories by the Internet broadcast group whenever I get the chance because you do get to hear the stories that the mainstream media, otherwise don't usually report on, and their views are proudly progressive. I may not always completely agree with the overall points that Cenk Uygur, Ana Kasparin and Jord…

We Can Do Better, Folks.

If I have one plea to ask of my fellow liberals, it's this: please, please -- regardless of what happens with the election, don't make comedian Jimmy Dore the spokesperson for the blue cause. In case you don't know who he is, here's a brief recap: Dore is what you get when you combine Glenn Beck's wing-nutty bullshit ideas and theories, mixed with Bill Maher's smug, sometimes condescending demeanor, if you removed his ability to make an audience laugh. Lately he's been the voice for disgruntled and disillusioned Bernie Sanders supporters who believe the choice between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is a vote for the same-old establishment politics that have screwed over the middle class and enriched the top 1% and that Bernie Sanders was the only candidate that could break the spell of business as usual with a political revolution.

Dore's argument boils down to the following: the Democratic establishment needs to …

Spare Me

Sometimes you find something so incredibly stupid and so utterly irresponsible on social media that you have to address it. Last weekend was the Peoples' Summit in Chicago, where a coalition of Sanders supporters and left-wing activists flocked to a three-day event to discuss about where the movement, which started back in 2016 behind then-candidate Bernie Sanders, would and should go in the Trump era, including whether the Democratic Party can be (or should be) saved, or if the time has come to abandon the party and start a new People's party instead. Enter The Young Turks correspondent Nomiki Konst and her thoughts on why the Democratic establishment should accept and embrace independents who don't lean either with the R's or D's in primary battles.
"No open primaries for Democratic Party equals voter suppression and racism with young independent voters" @NomikiKonst#PPLSummit — Holly Mosher (@FilmsForChange) June 10, 2017
*Rolls eyes HARD for several m…