THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES (EXTENDED EDITION)
Shut Up, Alfrid!
Alfrid Lickspittle, the toady to the Master of Laketown, is basically the Jar Jar Binks of the Hobbit trilogy. He comes off as more annoying than conniving. Bard the Bowman is already a fine enough character; you don’t need him bantering with Alfrid the whiny asshole to show off how noble he is.
Epic Titular Battle
If there’s one thing Peter Jackson proved in the Lord of the Rings movies, it’s that he can pull off an epic battle scene. In the immortal words of Bubsy, “What could possibly go wrong?” The titular Battle of the Five Armies delivers in spades, almost to the point where the action is too much to handle. You get dwarves charging against orcs, elves flipping over crumbling bridges, and a one-on-one face-off between Thorin and Azog.
Deleted Dwarves On Ice
In one of many additions to the Battle of the Five Armies in the Extended Edition, some of the dwarves ride a war machine over a frozen river to reach Azog’s outpost. You get humorous moments, bloody squishing heads, and some nice interplay between the minor dwarven characters. All the actors look like they had fun in this sequence, and it’s a real shame it wasn’t in the theatrical cut.
Alfrid Helps Gandalf
As annoying as Alfrid is, you do get to see him die in another remarkable Extended Edition scene. Alfrid’s greed gets the better of him as he indirectly helps Gandalf in a fight against a troll. This scene is hardly necessary, but it’s nice to see such a dopey character get his just desserts.
An Uneventful Return
The Return of the King had too many endings, yet The Battle of the Five Armies has too few. Bilbo’s journey home is so quick you don’t get the emotional resonance you crave from the end of this unexpected journey. It feels all too clinical. To misquote Amadeus, the ending of the Hobbit trilogy could use “too many notes.”
Article by contributor Mat-Bradley Tschirgi.