Late to the Party: a review of BOTFA-EE

The extended edition of Battle of the Five Armies came out during NaNoWriMo, so I delayed watching it, so I could give it the consideration it deserved. Probably by now you will have made up your own minds and for mine, I do find myself agreeing with YouTube comments. And I’m writing this in lieu of reworking my novella. This is much easier.

I only have a couple of things to say. What was added made the film more of a spectacle, especially the chase sequence, and added some touches of humour. The funeral was a welcome addition.

My other mode of transport is in the garage.

My other mode of transport is in the garage.

Basically, for an extended edition, what continued to be left out made little narrative sense. Apparently there’s a scene where Bilbo planted the acorn. That would’ve been a nice touch. More importantly, the entire motivation for Thranduil was absent, in an example of very poor judgement, or lack of time. Or something. All of his actions were explained in one speech from Gandalf, and having watched it separately, every time I get to where it should exist in the film I miss it. The fact that the writers and Peter Jackson spend so much time talking about and explaining Thranduil in the extras means they didn’t put the work into the film. So it needs to be in the film. Which is why it’s here:

Read the YouTube comments, people are very angry about this. And you know what? Rightly so. Decisions like inserting the death of one minor character, but not making clear the motivations of a more important character are indecipherable. Thranduil has been in all three films, and every time the jewels are mentioned or highlighted. Yeah, so they belong/ed to his people, but this scene makes in personal. It makes it real and important and explains his behaviour toward his son and Tauriel. All in 20 seconds.

It’s all very well for Jackson to polish his Academy Awards while joking about directing Doctor Who episodes, and Steven Moffat’s scripts, but if he and his team don’t get that reasons for actions should always come ahead of jokes, then why is he in the business of telling stories?

This should have been a no brainer, it’s writing 101. It makes me like the entire film a whole lot less, even though Richard Armitage’s Thorin and Martin Freeman as Bilbo are magnetic. It also gives me concern for Doctor Who and the sort of decisions he’d make there. Film everything and leave out the important bits?

The fact I’m still thinking about it means something. Something went astray in the force, and the usual story tellers, who I have trusted, got this wrong. In favour of jokes alluding to the Lethal Weapon films FFS.

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