What are your favorite cinematic shots in The Battle of the Five Armies?

James The Tolkienist is at it again, ranking the ten best cinematic shots in the Peter Jackson Tolkien films. Quoting him: “In filmic terms, a shot is basically a number of frames. A shot can be anything – a landscape, a setup, a character’s face – in front of the camera. It can be of any length in duration, without breaking away from the action – thus, without any editing cuts.”

James love this one: Thorin (Richard Armitage) and the dwarves charging forth from Erebor.

Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) leads the dwarves as they seek to rally the defenders of Erebor in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Screencap.

Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) leads the dwarves as they seek to rally the defenders of Erebor in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Screencap.

I’ve discussed some I like before, such as the shot I called Thorin’s Caspar David Friedrich moment, or this one, when Thorin retrieves Orcrist from the body of the orc that Legolas (Orlando Bloom) has just skewered:

Thorin (Richard Armitage) pulls Orcrist from the body of a falling orc, in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Screencap.

Thorin (Richard Armitage) pulls Orcrist from the body of a falling orc, in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Screencap.

But here are a few more that, off the top of my head, impressed me. I noticed in compiling these lists that I seem to like shots that play with perspective.

The one that immediately occurred to me involved Bard (Luke Evans) using his son Bain’s (John Bell) shoulder to aim the black arrow after the windlass failed. There are number of shots here that really compel the viewer.

First, the nocking:

Bard (Luke Evans) aims his arrow at Smaug over the shoulder of his son, Bain (John Bell), in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Screencap.

Bard (Luke Evans) aims his arrow at Smaug over the shoulder of his son, Bain (John Bell), in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Screencap.

Then, the look of on his son’s face when he realizes what is going to happen:

Bain (John Bell) bravely allows himself to serve as guide for his father's arrow, in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Screencap.

Bain (John Bell) bravely allows himself to serve as guide for his father’s arrow, in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Screencap.

and the sheer determination on Bard’s face as he tracks Smaug and starts to aim:

Bard (Luke Evans), his face full of bloodlust, aims at Smaug in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Screencap.

Bard (Luke Evans), his face full of bloodlust, aims at Smaug in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Screencap.

And then, the release of the bowstring and the whoosh of the arrow past Bain’s shoulder and notionally, that of the viewer:

Bard (Luke Evans) lets go the arrow that will kill Smaug, in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Screencap.

Bard (Luke Evans) lets go the arrow that will kill Smaug, in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Screencap.

That was just a delightful series of shots. OK, what else did I like?

Liked the tunnel perspective of this shot:

Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) comes to parley with Bard in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Screencap.

Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) comes to parley with Bard in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Screencap.

Loved Bombur blowing his horn, I think because it was a reminder (one well-needed in this film, which really cut down drastically on the character sketches for the sake of brevity) of the thing that got the dwarves this far — that even the people whom one might think were a drag on the company had their unique talents and special roles to play:

Bombur (Stephen Hunter) blows to announce the dwarves' entry onto the battlefield in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Screencap.

Bombur (Stephen Hunter) blows to announce the dwarves’ entry onto the battlefield in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Screencap.

And then, I really liked the eerie feeling I got from watching Azog underneath the frozen lake from Thorin’s perspective — a moment that made me shiver.

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After his fall through the ice, Azog (Manu Bennett) floats as Thorin watches him, in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Screencap.

So — those were a few of mine. What are your favorite shots in The Battle of the Five Armies, or, since we haven’t done this before, in the Hobbit films in general? If you would like to leave a comment with a brief explanation, I will post a screencap for you tomorrow.

~ by Servetus on March 1, 2015.

12 Responses to “What are your favorite cinematic shots in The Battle of the Five Armies?”

  1. Agree with the tunnel, from both angles, looking in at Thorin and looking out at Bard. Also agree the shot of Thorin grabbing Orcrist was amazing. Thorin walking backlit out of the gold cavern when he finally decides to fight. And the death scene, when the camera angle was low, showing Thorin’s profile. That took my breath somehow.

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  2. I liked the moment when Bard first encounters the elf army. The contrast between his shabby coat and the gleaming gold of the armor, and the way they part to let him pass like the opening of the Red Sea — that was cool.
    Also, Thranduil fighting in Dale, with his twin swords flashing as he slices through orcs.
    And my absolute favorite was when Thorin presents Bilbo with the mithril vest — the gold lighting seemed almost molten, Bilbo was wearing his usual fuzzy woven clothes and Thorin was hard and clanking in his royal armor. There was something feverish and unwholesome about the scene.

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  3. I like the shot of Kili and Thorin touching foreheads in Erebor. There has been little interaction between them, and the affectionate gesture is so heartfelt. I see forgiveness, hope and love and despite knowing what is to come, it is an upbeat moment because the dragon sickness has gone. I have a lot more favorites but to be brief, one more would be Thorin shaking his head “No” after Fili tells them to run. His eyes hold a compelling mixture of grief and determination. In general, after thinking about it, I think I prefer closeups rather than, epic sweeping shots. Unless they feature New Zealand scenery. Great topic, BTW.

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  4. Ich mag Thranduils Gesichtsausdruck, wenn er sich die Beleidigungen von Thorins Cousin ihm gegenüber im Vorfeld der Schlacht anhört. Diese Ungläubigkeit ob dieser Frechheit, die dann in eine Art verächtliches Lächeln übergeht.
    Sonst natürlich wie schon gezeigt: der Sturm der Zwerge (l’Oreal-Erebor läßt grüssen). Hach, diese wehenden Haare. Und diese Azog-Einstellung unterm Eis ist ja ganz klar eine Glenn-Close/Fatal Attraction Reminiszens
    Fühlte mich sofort um 30 Jahre zurückversetzt. 🙂

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  5. There is a shot of Thorin looking over the edge of the ice cliff after the fight with Azog it’s just before he falls to the ground. His eyes are wide, he knows he’s done for and he sees the eagles and sort of takes a last breath before he falls. I think that’s how it goes, I only saw the film once.

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  6. For me the initial scene was Thorin’s arrival in Bag End (AUJ). I watched it in the cinema on 1st January 2013. I sighed 😳 and fall instantly in love with Mr. A though I knew his work well before…
    Still relying on my little Kindle Fire (Laptop is under repair) I can’ t upload a screencap, but I think most of you have etched it in your minds.
    To BOTFA: When Thorin finally decides to join the battle and leaves the mountain without wearing his ridiculous golden armour, wow! (I suppose that was another embarrassing moment for my company in the cinema)😀

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  7. I agree with Kathy Jones 100%: Kili and Thorin forehead to forehead, when Thorin found himself. And the scene, when he threw away the foolish armour away…. ❤
    and at the end the scene with the acorn ❤

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  8. I don’t know if it is from the first or the second movie (probably the first)…the shots from the helicopter showing the company of 13 strung out, with Thorin well in the lead, along the very top of the mountain range — combined with the beautiful pulsating orchestral music it is breathtaking. Close-up shots where you see Thorins’ emotions and moods are my usual favourites, though; such as the expression in his eyes of love, tenderness and sadness when speaking with Bilbo in the final movie — the acorn scene I believe it is (have only been able to see the movie twice so far).

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  9. […] to my question of yesterday: What are your favorite cinematic shots in the Hobbit films? Answers posted in no particular […]

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  10. Oh, the choice is torture! but a pleasant one 😉 So here are a few of my many favourites (aside from some already mentioned ones like Thorin coming towards the company, himself again, him touching Kili’s forehead, them coming out of the mountain, Azog floating under the ice and Thorin’s feet, Thorin’s tunnel conversation with Bard, Thorin’s death, Bard aiming the arrow – by the way,did anyone else think Wilhelm Tell there? etc):
    – Thorin coming down the burning tree to fight Azog.. oh how my heart clenched! I really felt he was a hero there 🙂
    – the first sight of Rivendell through Bilbo’s eyes, it did look incredibly beautiful;
    – the telling switch from Smaug’s death drop to Thorin’s already entranced look on the mountain;
    – Thorin’s descent from the ramparts and the camera panning away to let us see Erebor in dark ruin;
    – the tiny moment in the tunnel conversation with Bard where he is reminded of his honour and he backs away and rests his head on the stone in an apparent brief moment of consciousness;
    – in the final mad scene as he appears to slide into the gold with hair flying, eyes lost, spinning in slow motion;
    – and 2 final picks before i chop the whole film second by second 😉 Orcrist in hand slowing stepping on the ice towards Azog, sword extended sideways, breath showing and boots crunching on the ice and finally after killing Azog slowly stepping towards the edge with choking breaths.. in this last one it is actually probably even more the sound that gets to me than the image, those choking sounds he makes, the laboured breaths..

    I just can’t wait to see it again..

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