Movie Reviews: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies & Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

hobbit_the_battle_of_the_five_armiesposterThe Hobbit simply should not have been made into three movies. One would have sufficed, two at most. Three was just ridiculous.

I had some big problems with the second movie, mainly the overly-dramatic and poorly produced barrel escape scene and the ridiculous “cliffhanger” ending that cut the movie off before a climax even hit. The third movie is just a continuation of the overblown nature of the trilogy, but at least it does not have as many frustrating moments.

The movie begins with what easily could have been and should have been the ending of the second movie. Within 10 to 15 minutes, we finally see Smaug meet his demise. And then the rest of the movie carries on with a completely different tone. Dear Editor of The Hobbit Trilogy, why in the heck couldn’t you have cut a few minutes from movie 2 and included the first 10 minutes of this movie at the end of the last movie? Signed, Everyone. It makes no sense.

I feel at least an hour and a half (but possibly more) of this 144 minute long movie was battle sequences. I usually get bored with non-stop action/fighting sequences within 20 minutes, so kudos to Peter Jackson for actually keeping me engaged in these fighting sequences, but I have to say I would be surprised if I will retain such interest upon a rewatch of the film.

And then there’e that dang love triangle again that is crazy ridiculous…

And in the end, this movie did not leave me with the same satisfaction as The Return of the King. It was just a showy display of CGI (it’s not as bad in this movie as it was in the second, but the LOTR movies seriously look better than The Hobbit movies do) and drawn-out storytelling. It has its good moments, but for the love of New Zealand and second breakfast, don’t do this to us again, Peter Jackson.

Rating: I gave this one 3.5 stars on Letterboxd, but I think I felt obligated to do so because that’s what I rated the second one and this one made me less upset. I’ll have to rewatch both before I can determine if both ratings hold up.

Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry-Potter-and-the-Prisoner-of-Azkaban-movie-posterThough at first I thought this book felt too much like the first two (especially considering everyone said this was the book where the series got better), the ending certainly set-up for something more promising. I was less than impressed with the way the first two movies adapted the book, and was hoping with the change in direction would come a better adaptation. Um, not so much. If anything, the direction was MORE awkward.

It’s like Alfonso Cuarón knows nothing about how to stage a scene. (But a look at his IMDB credits shows he directed well-regarded films such as Children of Men and Gravity, though I haven’t seen either of these so I can’t attest to them.) Maybe they just gave him super crappy sets to work with? (All the sets before Hogwarts did look super crappy. The Dursley’s house did not even look like the same place to me.) And the screenplay was again very awkward in which parts were omitted from the film (like there is no zero explanation about Buckbeak’s trial, Hagrid just suddenly talks about it). Unfortunately, it looks like Steve Kloves writes the screenplays for all the movies.

And while I think Gary Oldman is a great actor, his portrayal of Sirius Black felt way off base. I was very unhappy with the way he came off, and the epic stand-off in the book fell so flat in the movie. Then there was the movie ending on a ridiculous freeze frame of Harry… that alone deserves at least half a star knocked off the rating.

And what was up with The Knight Bus sequence? It felt totally bizarre and nothing like the book. And all those shrunken heads? Where the heck did that come from?!

I don’t hate everything about this movie… I still like our main three characters in the movie, particularly Hermione. I just really hope with the next movie and another change in director, maybe Goblet of Fire will launch a better era in Harry Potter adaptations? (Just looked at the next director’s resume… hmmm… not sure about that either…)

Rating: 3 stars

What are your thoughts on the ending of The Hobbit Trilogy? How do you feel about how The Prisoner of Azkaban was adapted? 

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4 thoughts on “Movie Reviews: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies & Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban

  1. I actually disagree on the Part 2 cliffhanger. I thought that was brilliant, and it sort-of saved the movie from the climax fatigue the hurt Part 1 for me. Ultimately, though, I still agree that they should have avoided the issue entirely and only made 2 movies. I do agree, though, the LotR movies were better in almost every way, including the visuals. This was my favorite of The Hobbit (I think? I really loved the Gollum bit in Part 1 and Bilbo/Smaug in Part 2), but it still fell short of any LotR, I think.

    As far as Azkaban, I liked it MUCH better than the first two movies. I’ve seen Goblet of Fire the fewest times of the bunch, but the ending is pretty well played. The rest of the adaptations cut out more of the weird, I feel like, and start being a little bit less slavish to the books.

  2. haha – from the title of this post I thought there were going to be a lot more movies reviewed. And then I got to the end and realized they’re just two movies with verryyy long names 🙂

    Yes, I could not believe the whole thing with Smaug was tied up so quickly. It absolutely should have been in the second film. And if they cut out all the love triangle stuff there would have been plenty of room for it. win/win! What I’m really curious about is how they were going to separate Tauriel and Legolas before the whole decision to make it 3 films and the love triangle was added. Because in a lot of ways it felt like that was the whole point of it.

    I do have to admit, I like Alfonso’s direction of Prisoner of Azkaban. He does an amazing job with the fluidity of his scenes – like the one where Mr. Weasley is explaining things to Harry at the end and it’s this completely uncut scene. That’s one of the things he’s known for – there’s another huge, incredible (seemingly) uncut scene in Children of Men. Though the freeze frame at the end is truly awful and the shrunken heads were pointless. I think I remember not loving Gary Oldman as Sirius in the beginning. But I’ve seen this and the other movies far too many times with him that I like him now. I like the way he tells Hermione she is the most gifted witch of her age. But this one, like the first two, does feel choppy with poor scene transitions. I would have liked for that to be handled better.

    • Ha ha, the title does make it seem like there would be more here!

      I actually really disliked the scene with Mr. Weasley, because it felt really awkwardly staged to me and it also felt out of place in that moment to me, though the latter had more to do with the writing than the directing. I do love a great tracking shot without cuts, but that one just didn’t work for me. I do think Oldman’s portrayal was better towards the end of the movie, like with that scene with Hermione that you mentioned, but all those moving pictures of him acting strange plus the beginning of the Shrieking Shack scene just did not feel like him to me at all.

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