Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Hobbit 3 / Lord of the Rings -1: Battle of 4 2/2 Armies

Known in America as "These Motherfuckers Again: Plus Other Motherfuckers Again"

When we last left The Hobbit, Smaug was getting himself emotionally pumped for a busy night of burninating both the countryside, the villagers, and the thatched roof cottages of Lake Town. Because I've started playing Skyrim since this all started, my usual line-by-line commentary has been alloyed by my perspective as the Dovahkiin.

*Smaug burns down the village as the villagers scream.* "But it's a literally a Lake Town. Just...jump into the water villagers." "Fish shit in there!" screams one villager. "'e shits in there!" screams another, gesturing at the first. 

They burn to death and I cast heal with both hands as I walk through the fire, but not before looting their bodies to gain two bone meal.

I can see Tauriel looking up at Smaug as he strafes the village with fire again. His ability to both move and use a breath weapon makes him terrifying, especially for an archer. None the less, I can already see the finishing move where she surfs him into the bottom of the lake.

I can only assume it's called "Lake Town Lake," because that's how things are named here apparently.

As I leave, I lament that while the village looks large from a distance and amazing when you're close, it looks like shit at ranges between 1 mile and 10 feet.

Thatched roof cottages!

Bard's jailbreak cut-scene is actually a smart action that uses well-established setting elements. As something which ends an indeterminable side-story that only existed to keep Bard on camera for a few minutes so we wouldn't forget him between smuggling the dwarves into the village and killing Smaug, it's a stronger ending than I expected.

It does seem like the actual killing of Smaug would only take a few minutes. I consider throwing a few ebony arrows his way, but I'm pretty sure Bard has, like, at least one. 

Anyway, it's not like anyone runs out of arrows in Middle Earth.

Oh. Well, I guess it's just elves that never run out of arrows in Middle Earth.

That was a perfectly balanced amount of relief, elation, and comedy in Smaug's death. I'll miss The Master, but let's be real, it was Lickspittle that gave me all of the giant hunting missions.

I none the less double back and loot 2,000 gold from the wreck. It weighs nothing and I'm baffled at the circumstances that lead to The Master's death. But hey, cutscenes, right?

Smaug feels like a Doctor Who cliffhanger. The circumstances are incredibly dire at the end of the last episode, but it's resolved in the first few minutes of the next.
Exactly like this.

Let's just do a count here: Number of Main Characters Killed by Smaug:

I really think that Bard's son should have some scars on him from the fletching on the arrow that kills Smaug, but A) The prices paid in LotR are restricted to dead lovers, manpain, and dead NPCs and B) Who the fuck cares about Bard's fucking son?

Yeah, Bard, don't bother taking the persuade dialog option. Let the lynching of this quest-giving stereotype just happen.

With Bard's two daughters and Tauriel, the last scene contained half of Middle Earths' consequential women within a 20-meter radius, so it's good to hear Thorin mention that he has a sister. Not being critical; this film series has been great about adding women to a veritable sausage fest of a children's book.

Finally, someone lays down the ol' "power vacuum" premise. But if Smaug, and indeed all evil across Middle Earth, is in the same bed with Sauron, how is it that the orcs had to wait for Smaug to die before claiming the castle?

WTF is a Gunderbad? It's not on my map and I can't fast travel there. Good luck on your side mission fetch-quest Legolas and Tauriel.

Why was Gandalf not killed earlier? I realize most of my questions can be answered with "because that has to be around for Lord of the Rings," but you've got to realize that makes the thing I'm asking about pretty shitty.

A desolate wasteland without moths. Your move, wizard.

Oh, maybe Sauron was trying to assemble The Avengers of Middle Earth. Sure. Why not? I'd jump at the chance to fight Magneto, Codename V, Count Dooku, The Seventh Doctor, and Good Queen Bess. No wait I would be stupid to want that. I'd have to be so full of evil that evil pushed all of the smart and all of the common sense out of my brain to want that.

Bilbo, I'm glad you got the fucking Arkenstone, but why do you still have the stone on you?

Oh, it's an acorn. Thank you for this scene, Battle of Five Armies.

I wonder if the Arkenstone can hold a dragon soul. I could probably craft some nice enchantments with that.

*The Lake Town refugees arrive in Dale* "Oh, right. This the same devastation you just left. It is literally a city burnt to the ground by dragon fire that you decided to travel to when your city was burnt to the waterline by dragon fire. On Lake Town Lake, you still had the boats which let you fish and then trade those fish to others across the lake. You came here for gold which you cannot eat and which is now very difficult to trade because you are no longer on a lake. You have gained nothing. The only difference is that it's drier."
Lake Town refugee, "Oy, but it is drier."
"Yeah...okay. It is drier." *Loots bonemeal from burnt corpses in the streets of Dale.*

I guess Alfrid gets redeemed here. That's ni--nope. Nevermind. Still a prat.

*Elves move out of Bard's way with precision and hilarious abuse of stacking rules.* Okay. Sure.

Wow. Those impromptu fortifications are another example of the brief, dazzling bursts of dwarven competence.

Yeah, Bilbo? Bail, buddy.


Thorin: "Don't underestimate Dwarves!"
Dialog Options:
    I think I will, actually.
    Could you turn down the crazy? I can't hear you. (Persuade)
    Or else, what, bitch? (Intimidate)
    I don't think that's physically possible. (Honest)
    I'll come in there like a wrecking ball. (DeviantArt)

I'm really glad they don't put Bilbo in armor. It would undermine Hobbits in armor in Return of the King

Aw, it's adorable that you have mithril, which no blade can penetrate, but you decided to go with the presumably penetrable dwarven armor. Weren't we just talking about how underestimable you are?

Waitwaitwait. How do you breed orcs for war? So many questions with one dumb line. I haven't seen orcish vagina one in this boudin ball you orcs call a civilization. There's no breeding, no babies, and no women.

P.S. what else do orcs fucking do? Are they split between war and agriculture? Animal husbandry? What's the secondary skill set that Sauron was tempering their warmaking with? Weapon crafting? Subtlety? I don't even know anymore, LotR.


How do they claim the Kingdom of Agamar if it's already claimed? You know what, if it's not called "Erebor" or "Dale," I physically cannot give a shit about it anymore.


Wow. Bilbo came back. Damn son, that' incredible act of integrity. At great risk to himself he comes back to save Thorin and crew. God knows why he would do that, it's really good of him that he did.

Why are the fisherman fighting?

What assholes, these dwarves.

Aw, why do the dwarves look like CGI?

How...orcs, how are you going to siege Dale? Just crush the rubble together to make smaller rubble?


So Bard, you shouldn't make tactical decisions based on the safety of your family alone. Mostly because they'll get you, your men, and your family killed, but also because you can't kill kids.

Trust me. I haven't tried, but fireballs do so much splash damage and kids are clumsy.

Just so I'm straight on this, the orcs bred for war are being killed by fishermen.

Duel Deck: Fishermen vs Warbats

So Bard isn't Legolas, he just looks like Legolas, uses a bow like Legolas, and surfs things into orcs like Legolas.

Mid-movie recap:
  • Not Legolas.
  • I shouldn't have slept through Middle Earth geography in junior high.
  • If I didn't know better, I'd think the best, most relevant and human parts of this movie were taken from a book where Bilbo was the main character.
  • Warbats.
Wow. Whereas the other Lord of the Rings movies had battles that were a bit gratuitously large and incomprehensible, the orc on the hilltop is a great POV. Really like it. It feels like the orcs have a big tactical advantage.

Nevermind. Backsies. They put so much smoke and fire on a battlefield that doesn't have much smoke or fire that I can't see what's happening. And they took half the battle into a city where the top-down perspective doesn't help so that whole thing became pointless. On the other hand, I guess it lightens the load on my processor.

I'm beginning to think that dwarven helmets are just there as a courtesy to soften the damage to enemy weapons when they make headshots.

Thorin, "Before I kill you." *The entire party recoils at that incredibly flat camera shot.*

Great personal moment with Thorin ruined by awful CGI. Just throw Richard Armitage into a pit of molten gold. Practical effects, people!

"Durin's do not run from a fight! Now let's get out there and make some feels on Tumblr!"

Lots of downtime in this city and is it night now? I'm losing the timing here a bit.

That certainly justifies The Dick Prince of The Elven Wood's ridiculous mount.

No Kili! Don't break off from the group! PCs are vulnerable in smaller groups. Stay with the army! Staaay with the army.

Dwalin and Fili, you could also not do that, but whatevs.

Thorin...just...stay the course, buddy. You got this.

Thorin! Do not bifurcate the party!

Why is Bilbo throwing rocks and not using Sting?

Fuckin'. War. Bats.

Forget that thing I said earlier about elves never running out of arrows, eh?

Legolas is going to surf that parapet into an orc.

Okay, he's going to surf that big orc with the mace legs into another orc.

Alright, surfing the big orc into the parapet, which he will then surf into--

Oh, right a whole army is coming. With the dwarves, elves, orcs...that's three armies. Do one hundred fishermen count? Does the party count as its own army? Does the second orc army count? Radaghast mentioned animals of the forest or something. Is that an army? Okay, I'll pretend that one of these potential armies counts as a full army and two of the other forces each count as half an army to make a technical Battle of Five Armies (or 4 & 2/2). 

"Guys, before we start the attack, we need to conduct a quick, Army Percentage Census." 
"First question, are you a member of a Rampaging Horde or an Unstoppable Horde, as defined by Middle Earth Code on Hordes and Packs §3.2.1? Feel free to make a brief call to your insurance provider if you're not sure."

Kili and Tauriel fighting the main badguy. They're doing the thing that non-combat characters do, where the hop on the back of the bad guy.

I hate that thing and I hate it extra here because Kili and Tauriel are both combat characters. Boo.

Consider yourself 'friged, Kili. Savor Tauriel's manpain.

Strangely enough, he was technically wearing dwarven armor. Too bad I only wear light armor.

Oh Jesus is Legolas g--

                               --SURF THE TOWER INTO THE ORC, LEGOLAS.


Okay, it's more falling than sliding now, but if the tower hits the ground and moves in the slightest while Legolas is on it, it's a technical surf.


And fuck the rest of this battle apparently. A dozen a-holes on this mountain are where it's at.

Hah. Thorin wins by thinking. Truly, he is the marginally competent dwarf.

It's impossible that the orc final boss could get enough leverage to break through this ice, but...he's gonna break through this ice.

Wait. If Bilbo is unconscious, then in what way is he recording this battle? OMG, they were telling the story later and everyone is making fun of Legolas for surfing things and he did surf the tower into the orc final boss and Legolas is like, "No. In fact when I killed everyone on top of the mountain and no other witnesses survived, I jumped on the back of an orc to knock over a tower and sur--er, didn't surf it across 30 orcs to plunge my sword into the final orc boss. Bilbo, write that down. I didn't surf the tower."

Bilbo, flustered and surprised, "Alright Legolas. Alright," *writes* "'Didn't surf tower.' Fine. Done."

Wow, thanks for the moral lesson, Thorin. Glad you're leaving no chance to misinterpret the moral of the story.

As if you in gleaming armor while standing atop rubble and declaring war on refugees over a few gold wasn't clear enough.

I think they just lampshaded the eagles. Well done, Bilbo. Lord of the Rings is an action movie and I think they need to do a thing where the heroes actually sort things out and in the background, you can hear the eagles screaming in the distance as they draw near, mirroring the inevitable sirens of too-late police arriving as the credits roll on a standard action film. I'm not saying I'd pay eight dollars to see "Mithril Weapon," "Under the Mountain Seige," or "Uruk-hai Hard," but I'd look for some change.

The saddest part is that none of his gear is even worth selling. The oaken shield is worse than a leather shield.

Uh...what? What is this shoehorned Lord of the Rings shit? Lee Pace, was this the best way to do this? Peter Jackson? Anyone? Why does this scene exist?

Every five minutes BoFA stops to do this.

And apparently elves don't hug, they throw gang signs.

Aw, this moment between The Dick Prince of The Elven Wood and Tauriel is nice.

So Dwalin just sort of vanishes for the final fight then? Wow, fuck you Dwalin.


SkilTao said...

*applause* *agreement*

Magneto, Codename V, Count Dooku, The Seventh Doctor, and Good Queen Bess? I'd watch that.

Your voicepiece's looting sounds like Alfrid's looting. Did Alfrid end up dying? I remember him getting told off, but not dying. If he survived, that's a refreshing break from the heavy-handed theme.

There are different breeds of goblins/orcs! I remember hobbits (maybe even in Peter Jackson's movies) hiding from some that were basically bloodhounds.

I liked the Dragon Curse swimming under the gold floor. It shouldn't have been the entirety of Thorin's private angst, but that's a problem with script, not that particular moment of screentime. Thorin following the orc as it passed under the ice was also a nice visual.

I kind of regret seeing this movie.

-Why doesn't the dwarf army hole up in the fortress?
-Why don't the orcs' Nydus Wyrms tunnel into the fortress? Or otherwise participate in the battle in any way?
-How is it that nobody, no bod y notices the orc semaphore getting built?
-Why do the Elves leap the Dwarven shieldwall, instead of stabbing and shooting over it?
-The elves can't really want that treasure. If they did, surely they'd have just done a 20-sec human pyramid and parkoured the rest of the way up the wall. It's not like a dozen dwarves could've stopped two hundred elves leaping over their heads.
-Dain's headbutts.
-If this is a movie where Bilbo can rack up a kill count by throwing rocks (D&D racial ability, wooo) and we see children killing orcs, why then, in a world where the meekest and least-able are capable of killing sprees, does mere grief render Tauriel useless?
-The Great And Sturdy Tower-Bridge of SCREW PHYSICS
-Thorin's company taking the field is suicidal, and presumably meant to be, but come on.
-"No, I got this" and other pieces of authentic Tolkienian dialog.

Yet finally, when all is said and done, it only takes Legolas SIXTY YEARS to catch up with Strider. Good thing he got on that right away! Might've taken him whole months otherwise.

VanVelding said...

I think Alfrid gets away. It's weird that for a mass-appeal movie he doesn't get his comeuppance, but there we are. I secretly suspect he's there to silence the purists who wanted Bilbo to take an invisible nap during the battle.

Loved the Boss Orc on ice visual.

-They did turn the one door into a wall, so...
-*Koenig voice* Good question.
-...hey, yeah.
-Rule of Cool
-Damn. Far greater condemnation than I had, but spot-on. Also, good catch on the halfing/hobbit thing (I didn't catch it, being a dirty 4th edition-er).
-Middle Earth seems to have an infrastructure supported by the same anemic highway taxes as Skyrim. But Gandalf would be the first one to tell you, "Fuck Physics."
-They're PCs with levels. Everyone else is just a number the inches up an army's stats.

Indeed. The LotR/H bridging was obnoxious.

SkilTao said...

It occurs to me that Thorin being a greedy dick and breaking vows is what kept the mountain from falling to the orcs. For a movie that's all about "don't be greedy" that's pretty weird.

I didn't mind the LotR/H bridging for the most part. The Necromancer/Avengers scene, for instance, I would have been happier if they'd cut away after Galadriel goes Dark Galadriel, but seeing her go Dark Galadriel at all was worth it.