The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Retold By Someone Who Only Sort-of Watched It

What Happens in the Movie

It’s the third one for some reason, even though there was only one book. Everything still looks a lot more half-assed than Lord of the Rings because Lord of the Rings was an exciting experiment made by people who loved what they were doing and The Hobbit is a cynical attempt to make more money, but whatever.

The dragon from the second one is about to burn down a village full of people no one cares about, but then Poor Man’s Aragorn – that taciturn fisherman guy who doesn’t want to be a leader even though everyone calls on him to – that guy uses his son as a bow and fires a giant arrow at the dragon and magically hits its one weak spot. I remember that plot point as being the part where I stopped paying attention to the cartoon version of this as a child.

Some cowardly guy with a really strong accent starts bossing everyone around, and it’s clear that Poor Man’s Aragorn should be the leader instead, but he demurs and leaves his kids – or someone’s kids; frankly, I forgot that he had kids – he leaves some kids to get bossed around by Poor Man’s Wormtongue and goes to some farm or something where the farmers are all like, “You should be our leader – also we hate you because of some contract we signed a long time ago. Possibly, you’re now on a different farm.”

Meanwhile, somewhere else, the main dwarf goes insane or something because the dragon’s gold is haunted. And Bilbo’s like, “You guys, I don’t think this is going to end well,” and all the other dwarves try to make him remember what he stands for and his values and stuff, and they call upon the memory of his father, but I don’t remember who his father was – he was either someone really good or someone really bad.

Then, Gandalf is with Cate Blanchett for some reason, and she picks him up and carries him and it looks fake, and then they’re fighting monsters or something and Saruman shows up to help them because he’s not evil yet in this one. I think there’s a chance there was a cliffhanger in the previous movie where this is why Gandalf couldn’t be there on the day no one could open a door – or even, like, try a little bit to open the door, after walking miles and miles to get to it. Anyway, cliffhanger resolved, the magics all converge in this one scene and then it’s over.

Then, somewhere else again, Legolas is there and he’s still the same age, even though Orlando Bloom is almost 40 now, and his face looks weirdly smooth, and I don’t know what they did to him. That red-headed elf he likes is also there, and she still likes that random dwarf, and then, for the rest of the movie, everyone goes on and on and on about true love and how it’s both painful and beautiful, and I know that I don’t remember most of what happened in these movies, but they’ve only had, like, two conversations, am I wrong? The red-headed elf and the random dwarf?

And, don’t get me wrong, if I’d just met someone I wanted to have sex with and I was excited about that, I would not want that person to get killed by orcs, and I’d feel bummed out if they did, but the amount of investment these two have in each other seems excessive under the circumstances. Maybe that’s why Legolas bows out, at the end. You know, because she has poor judgement.

Plus, I think, from the second movie, didn’t she like Legolas back before this dwarf showed up? And haven’t they known each other for, like, literally three million times longer? And their relationship has a foundation? But they decide they can’t be together because she was in love with this random dwarf she just met and now her heart is broken forever because he got stabbed in slow motion?

Meanwhile, a whole bunch of other people get stabbed in slow motion, but you never see a weapon entering their bodies, because I guess they couldn’t show that and get the rating they wanted, and also you never see blood leaving their bodies even though it ends up on their faces and hands. So, it’s actually really confusing and hard to tell who’s getting stabbed in all the sword fights.

And there are a lot of sword fights because I guess a bunch of armies full of badly CGI’d soldiers choose this moment to attack each other, and millions of people no one has ever heard of are about to die and stuff, and the good guys are trying to stop it. The title says there are five armies, so I’m gonna guess that one of the armies is dwarves, one is elves, two are human, and one is orcs. But all I saw while I was watching was a bunch of random dudes.

Bilbo manages to get hold of some plot token that the main dwarf likes or wants or something, and he takes it as his share of the dragon’s treasure in payment of the contract he signed in the first movie. He smuggles it out of the mountain and gives it to Poor Man’s Aragorn so that Poor Man’s Aragorn can trade it back to the main dwarf in exchange for something that I don’t remember what it is. That plan fails. All I remember about it is that, at some point, Poor Man’s Aragorn and the main dwarf have a conversation through a chink in the wall, and I wondered how much work was involved in editing the film to make it look like the camera was half way between them, set in the middle of the wall. It looks fake and everything, but also kind of cool.

The main dwarf then goes off by himself and lets his mouth hang open while the voices in his head argue about whether he is or isn’t like his father – the one who was either good or bad – and then they conclude that he either is or isn’t – I don’t remember – and then the floor swallows him and he’s cured! So, then he leaves the mountain with the haunted gold and he’s like, “Let’s join this terrible battle where everyone’s getting killed!” and his followers are like, “Huzzah!”

Meanwhile, back in shantytown, the cowardly man dresses up as a woman so that he can hide with the women and children instead of fighting, but then the women decide that they want to help fight and they unmask him and shame him for being even more cowardly than a woman, and it’s all very uncomfortable and backwards and I don’t like it.

Then, the cowardly man, still dressed as a woman, runs away and stuffs a bunch of gold into his bra, and Poor Man’s Aragorn is there just long enough to tell him his slip’s showing and STFU. There’s no reason why a man should have to fight in a battle just because he’s a man, and there’s no reason the women should all go hide just because they’re women – and I’ll grant that the women have some excuse here, because probably they didn’t have the opportunity to train in combat in the first place, but maybe this guy didn’t either and give him a goddamn break. Stop saying, “LOL HE’S LIKE A GIRL BECAUSE HE’S USELESS IN A FIGHT.” This entire framing of the situation is insulting to everyone involved in it. Fuck off.

Everybody’s still fighting, and Legolas’ dad is still an asshole, and then the main dwarf fights an orc who breaks through the ice and it’s hard to tell who’s stabbing who, still, but I guess they both die. And Bilbo’s like, “No! He was the greatest friend I ever had, when he wasn’t possessed by haunted gold!” (He says this about the main dwarf, not the orc. No one cries over the orc’s body, even though I’m sure the orc had other orcs who cared about him and/or confused a passing sexual attraction to him with The Greatest Love That Ever Was. No, orcs are still the only people in this story who we totally don’t care about at all because they’re ugly and they’re evil and they don’t sing funny little songs while they smash all your plates. RIP ice-dwelling orc.)

Gandalf gives a speech or something and everyone goes home. When Bilbo gets home, the townsfolk are auctioning off his stuff and he shows them the contract from the first movie to prove who he is – though I’m not sure how that would prove anything since more than one person signed the contract, unless it has his address on it – but whatever. He shows them the contract and they’re like, “It says you worked for Thorin. Who was Thorin?”

And Bilbo pauses for a long time because he probably doesn’t remember, either.

Then, it’s the future again and the movie is over!

What a stupid, pointless poorly-produced film

Look, I’m purposely being facetious when I describe what happened in the story, but the story’s not good. The characterization is shallow, and the movie lurches from plot point to plot point without ever saying anything interesting or insightful about what’s happening. Orcs are bad. War is bad. Greed is bad. Love is good.

And, for a franchise that’s built on special effects, the special effects are pretty crummy.

I didn’t care for Lord of the Rings, personally, because it’s not my thing, but I respect that it was a pretty good set of movies. If you want one scene that sums up everything you need to know about the difference between The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, I point you to Alfrid Lickspittle – because that’s his name – stuffing gold into his dress. He is a new character who has been invented specifically for this film trilogy, and he represents what the filmmakers believe the audience for this movie will find amusing.

I actually spent a long time wondering what it would be like to be one of the actors who signed on for The Hobbit. Like, Lord of the Rings was this massive, massively-successful production that turned at least a few actors no one had heard of into stars. It made Peter Jackson a big name director. Based on that, you’d almost have to be stupid not to do The Hobbit, but you’d have no way of knowing how different it was going to be from Lord of the Rings. And I wonder when you would know it’s different from Lord of the Rings. And then I get scared and freaked out and stop thinking about it.

In conclusion, please don’t make three movies of whatever the fuck The Silmarillion is, because, eventually, the day will come when I’m so tired that I won’t want to look for something else to watch, and then I’ll be sitting there watching the third one while I stress shop and eat frozen vegetables. None of us want that. Don’t make it happen.

Also, I made it through Lord of the Rings without noticing that dwarves are taller than hobbits. That was new information for me.

Image: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies; Warner Bros. | September 11, 2015