Lee Pace

Martin Freeman, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

One more time to Middle Earth.

So I will preface this by saying I was not a fan of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. That’s right I said it. I was not a fan. And because of my lack of fan ship after seeing the three films, I chose not to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey or The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. When Smaug was released on DVD I finally took to time to watch An Unexpected Journey and Desolation of Smaug. I felt first film was a little childish and cheesy, but I decided to carry on and watch the second. Which I loved. That said I never watched either again until right before going to see The Hobbit: There and Back Again The Battle of Five Armies. My feelings toward the 2 remained the same, and as for the third and final adventure in Middle Earth? That thing is AWESOME!

So it’s time to return Middle Earth for one last adventure. And Peter Jackson has pulled out all the stops. Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, and Lee Pace, among others, all return for the final battle, and a battle it is. We pick up literally immediately where Desolation of Smaug leaves off and Smaug (Cumberbatch) is ravaging the town. Bard (Evans) stands up to Smaug and the standoff is nothing short of Epic. We now have Thorin (Armitage) and Crew back in control of Lonely Mountain. As Bard and The Elves come to claim what the feel is owed to them, The Orc army attacks, and the battle begins.

I loved this film. Where the first film is basically all story, and the second is a good mixture of story and action, this film is nearly all action. The battle literally takes up 90 minutes (maybe more) of the films 144 minute run time is an all-out war. And not that he would be reading this, but Michael Bay, take a little note. This is how you do a war! Not a single minute of the battle is wasted or feels forced. It is shot beautifully, and the CGI, though at times is noticeable, is still pretty crisp. The film takes place nearly all in one setting, right outside of the Lonely Mountain, so you don’t get a lot of Middle Earth, but you still feel like you are in this world still.

The story, though not heavily focused on is still well done. I never read the book, so I don’t know how close to the source material they stayed. I know Legolas was not in the book, but he is a great edition to the film. Bloom plays the character so seamlessly that you forget that that is Orlando Bloom, you just see the character. And he is so Bad A! Probably the most kick butt character in this film. The story arches between the characters are tied up and done perfectly, especially the relationship between Bilbo and Thorin. The film serves as a seamless link between Lord of the Rings trilogy and this Hobbit trilogy.

That said I had a few problems. There is some “Stormtrooper” logic to some of the Orcs during the battle that can take you out of the film, but those are the most easy to overlook. There is a character played by Ryan Gage named Alfrid, who had a small role in Smaug, and he is kind of the “Slimy Smee like comic relief” and the character gets about 20-25 minutes of screen time and I could have done with them killing him after 3 minutes. The character is cartoony and he completely takes you out of the film every time he is involved in a scene. Also, an aspect I liked in Smaug was the relationship between Tauriel and Kili. However in this film it feels very forced, and unnecessary. In no way does it suck you in, and you just don’t care about the relationship.

So all in all, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies is an epic end to Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth. So good in fact that it has made me make the decision to go back for the first time since I saw them in theaters and rewatch The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And for a film to do that, because I hated them, I’m giving it a full .5 bonus to go with my score of 5.1, giving us a Jeebus Score of 5.6, Multiple Viewings Required.

Hooked on a feeling! A review of Guardians of the Galaxy

For a pretty long time now, my most anticipated film of the year has been Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel’s final film in Phase II before we head into The Avengers Age of Ultron. This film looks to be Marvel’s biggest gamble to date. The characters are by far the most obscure, well until the post credit scene, but for the most part, some of the most obscure in all of the Marvel library. The hope was that now that we are 12 films in, that Marvel has gained a track record that gives the viewer a trust that’ll send them out to take a chance on the film. I for one hope that you all do take the leap of faith, you will not be disappointed.

Guardians of the Galaxy! The next big Marvel adventure. The film stars an amazing cast that includes Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bautista, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, and the voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel. Directed James Gunn, the film tells the story of 5 unlikely heroes that find themselves in the middle of a galaxy threatening crises and must come together to save the lives of billions upon billions of people.

The film is a lot of fun to watch. Chris Pratt who plays the main character Peter Quill, AKA Star Lord, is a thief who becomes the de facto leader of the group. He is joined by the assassin adopted daughter of the war lord Thanos, Gamora (Saldana). Along with two bounty hunters, Rocket Raccoon (Cooper) and Groot (Diesel) and a maniac named Drax the Destroyer (Bautista) who is on the hunt for Ronin the Accuser (Pace) for murdering his family. Ronin is joined by Gamora’s adopted sister Nebula (Gillan) in his quest to destroy the planet Xandar and the Nova Corps.

Guardians gets the blockbuster fun done right. You are entertained the entire film. There’s not really a moment in the film that it drags or gets boring. The graphics are also epic. As I watched the movie I kept get the feeling I was watching Star Wars, until I’d get a feeling that it was a Star Trek film. Finally I came to a conclusion that’s really the perfect mix between Star Wars, Star Trek, and a Marvel Film. The soundtrack was awesome as well. Every song takes you back, and flows within the film perfectly. They each give a sense of who Peter Quill is and where he comes from

While the movie is Peter Quill’s story, the show is definitely stolen by a trio of characters. Yes the superstar is obviously Bradley Cooper as Rocket. He brings such personality to the character that you don’t even hear Cooper’s voice. You believe this is the talking Raccoon Marvel has given us. Groot was special case. How was Vin Diesel going to give us substance with only 3 words, “I am Groot”? Well he does it. Not just as comedy relief, but he emotionally connects with us as well. And Bautista as Drax is amazingly a break out star. He’s not a world class thespian be any means, but he is still able to steal the scenes when on camera.

It’s not all perfect though. While the story remains as Peter Quill’s story, he is the most developed character in the film. These characters all have such rich back stories. Most of which we as fans wouldn’t know off the top of our heads. I for one had to look them all up when I heard of the movie. After doing my research I became very excited, yet the film doesn’t give us much on most them. You get some dialog about where they come from, but no real sense of who they are. Gamora especially I would love to see more about. Speaking of, I was amped up all film for the eventual fight between her sister Nebula and her, yet when you finally get it, it’s not all that great. And as for the fights, and action sequences, while the space battles all look phenomenal and are awesome, a lot of fights felt a little too choreographed.

I’m going to give this film a Jeebus score of 4.9 with a bonus of .3 for Rocket, Groot, and Drax. Rounding us out to 5.2, Multiple Viewings Required! Now I’m not going to spoil it, but I am going to go into a little bit about how I felt about the post credit scene. So if you don’t want any information, or anything that could be considered a SPOILER, please skip the rest of this article.

POSSIBLE SPOILER ZONE: Ok, in 2008 Samuel L. Jackson walked out of the shadows after the credits of Iron Man and spoke about the Avengers Initiative. This changed the landscape of the Superhero Genre. Hell the landscape of the all of cinema. The Shared Universe concept was born. After The Incredible Hulk Tony Stark walked into a bar and spoke to General Ross. In 2010 Agent Coulson found a Hammer after the credits. In 2011 Loki controlled Erik Selvig. And at the end of Captain America, Sam Jackson once again walked out of the shadows and told Steve Rogers he needed him to save the world. Then we got a montage of scenes for The Avengers. But then something changed. After the Avengers we got 2 scenes. One including Shawarma. While funny, it was the Thanos one we wanted. We loved it and were ok with Shawarma. But then, Tony Stark had a conversation with Bruce Banner, and we got nothing. And now, we again, get a cheap nothing scene! We know there is Age of Ultron Footage out there, you couldn’t give us anything? No you give us one post credit scene that gives us nothing to look forward to for the next 273 days leading up to Age of Ultron! Nothing to further this amazing universe you have created!? For this, while I originally gave a .5 for a bonus, I am taking away .2! DAMN YOU JAMES GUNN AND KEVIN FIEGE! DAMN YOU!