The new trailer for The Battle of the Five Armies dropped like a hammer today. It’s a brilliant piece of marketing that is definitely going to build lots of excitement for this last installment.
Here is my opinion on the 16 most breathtaking moments from the trailer in roughly chronological order.
Potential spoilers ahead!
1) Lake-town Burns
We’ve seen Smaug torch Lake-town in the teaser trailer but here we finally see the after-effects. And it’s brutal. The whole city is ablaze with towers of flames and smoke. It definitely brings to mind Bard’s words about remembering the firestorm that destroyed Dale. It’s happening all over again.
2) The Dwarves Build a Barricade
Or so it appears. We see a few shots of giant statues crumbling before the gates of Erebor. I assume this is Thorin beefing up his kingdom’s defenses to keep out unwanted company looking for gold. His chief concerns at this point are of course Thranduil and the men of the Lake.
3) Return of the War Elk
Although in the past I’ve incorrectly referred to it as a moose, I’m pretty sure it’s an elk. Anyway I’m happy to see Thranduil back riding his war elk as seen in the prologue to An Unexpected Journey. This is just such a cool and distinctive visual. I really hope he can ride it into battle at some point even though from the two trailers we’ve seen it looks like Thranduil does most of his fighting on foot.
4) Orc Tunnels
Here is Sauron’s army marching from Dol Guldur to the slopes of Erebor. Gandalf mentions in this trailer that this is the ultimate culmination of Sauron’s plans but I’m still unsure of how the line of Durin and the Lonely Mountain fit into his schemes. We know from Thrain in the extended edition for Desolation that Smaug is in league with Sauron but I’m not sure how or why this requires a giant army to march halfway across Middle Earth to fight a handful of dwarves. Is he planning to use the gold of Erebor to buy up all of Middle Earth and drive up property values?
5) War Bats
I’m not sure how I feel about the bats. They look cool in the trailer but I’m not super excited for CGI bats actually swooping into battle. Gandalf does specifically mention the bats in the book:
“Behold! the bats are above his army like a sea of locusts. They ride upon wolves and Wargs are in their train!”
Legolas is convinced these oversized bats were bred specifically for war. Still, they are probably not quite big enough to fight eagles. They are easy enough for elves to shoot down I suppose. We’ll have to see how important these bats end up being, hopefully they are more just for atmosphere than posing as a serious threat.
6) Nazgul Fight
I’ve been wondering who would be left in Dol Guldur for the White Council to fight and it looks like we have found the answer: the Ringwraiths themselves! This wonderful shot has been floating all around the internet today. Galadriel is cradling an injured Gandalf while the nine lieutenants of Sauron close in around them. Each of the Nazgul has a distinct design look, which is visually very interesting.
It’s hard to forget that we have been teased their return for two entire movies. In An Unexpected Journey, Radagast encountered the Witch-King and retrieved his sword. Then in Desolation of Smaug Gandalf and Radagast explored the High Fells and discovered all nine had been resurrected and escaped their tombs. That’s exactly two years of buildup just to get to this one battle. You can bet that Peter Jackson and his crew are going to go all out to make these two years finally pay off, right?
7) Battle Elrond
We’ve seen Elrond fighting in the prologue to Fellowship of the Ring and glimpse of his battle-ready self in An Unexpected Journey but for the first time we are going to see Elrond whip out his sword and take on some serious bad guys: the Nazgul themselves! He’s such a great character and even though he is not going to make to the Battle of Five Armies, I’m really glad that we get not only to see him again in costume but to go dish it out against Sauron in person in the Dark Lord’s own home base.
8) Saruman Goes After Sauron
Christopher Lee’s Saruman is an unapologetic scene stealer. After giving Lord of the Rings an unforgettable villain almost as dangerous as the Dark Lord himself and overriding Gandalf’s concerns in An Unexpected Journey, Saruman is back one last time for the White Council assault on Dol Guldur. Honestly this is like a dream come true: Galadriel, Elrond, Gandalf, and now Saruman all back for one more movie. And in this scene Saruman reveals his intentions to go after Sauron himself. This opens up so many possibilities:
- Will the wise and powerful Saruman be able to defeat Sauron in his weakened state?
- Did Gandalf exhaust some of the Dark Lord’s power so that now Saruman can finish him off?
- Is this the scene where Saruman becomes convinced of Sauron’s power and decides secretly to align with him?
- Will Saruman choose to let Sauron go free?
9) Dwarven Ballistas
That’s clearly a dwarf there operating what looks to be a huge ballista which fires an equally huge projectile. These must be fresh arrivals to Erebor from the Iron Hills. I like the dwarven armor a lot and can’t wait to see more of the dwarf battle designs. The armor used for the Battle of Moria flashbacks was initially supposed to be used for the Battle of Five Armies so it will fun to see what Weta Workshop comes up with this time.
10) Arrows Fly
The meticulously organized elven arches line up outside Erebor and fire their first volley of arrows at the dwarves. I’m not sure who they are hoping to hit since the walls seem pretty impenetrable but any exposed dwarf is going to be in lots of trouble. It’s sad to think that these same elves that are attacking Erebor could have come to Erebor’s aid when Smaug first arrived and only come now out of enmity towards Thorin. It will be interesting to see how much fighting actually takes place between men, elves, and dwarves before Sauron’s army arrives.
11) Dwalin Confronts Thorin
Of course Dwalin, more so than any other member of the company, is Thorin’s right hand man. He would follow Thorin to the ends of the earth and he would rather start a good fight any day than engage in diplomacy. He is the least likely of any of the dwarves to disobey his king or run from a fight and yet here we see even the loyal Dwalin questioning Thorin’s motives. There’s probably no better shorthand way to show that Thorin has truly gone mad than this heartfelt line from Dwalin.
12) War Trolls
These look a bit like upgraded cave trolls, carrying some kind of siege weapon on their backs. It’s nice to see that Sauron’s army will have a diversity of troops much like it did in the Battle of Pelennor Fields. Curiously enough we haven’t seen any wargs in this trailer but of course we know there will be many. These trolls don’t look quite as fierce as the trolls outside the Black Gate that Aragorn faced but they are a welcome surprise nonetheless. They will add texture and progression to what will be a very long battle.
13) Kili Shouts at Thorin
Usually quite good-natured, Kili unleashes his anger at his uncle in what is no less than an absolutely shocking moment. Things must be going to pretty bad for the king’s own nephew to openly defy him like this. Kili’s reference to others fighting their battles perhaps refers to Tauriel whom has sacrificed her livelihood to the protect the innocents caught up in the path of the orcs.
14) Thranduil Turns Against Tauriel
It literally looks like Thranduil is swinging at Tauriel with his sword while she parries his blow. The scar on Thranduil’s face also appears to be showing slightly. What would cause the king of the wood-elves to attack the captain of his own guard? This seems to be much more than her simply defying his orders. Something big must have happened for this aggression from the king of the wood-elves. Unfortunately it looks like Tauriel will not be getting a break either.
15) Bolg Throws Tauriel
In a devastating blow, Bolg knocks Tauriel into a wall. This is just cruel. We know Tauriel can handle herself against legions of orcs so the fact that Bolg is able to do this shows both that he is incredibly dangerous and unimaginably strong. I really hope that this scene is not the end ofTauriel. If she does die in this movie, she deserves a much more heroic death than getting slammed into a pile of bricks.
16) Azog’s Blade
The Defiler had a functional but not-quite-menacing claw hand in An Unexpected Journey and we didn’t see too much of him in Desolation of Smaug. He is clearly going to be back in a big way for this last film. Instead of a claw hand he has a full on curved blade perfect for impaling and perhaps even preparing sushi. It has exactly four sharp pointy ends on it just in case he forgot to poke enough holes in his enemies already. In this scene he seems to fighting Thorin which may prove fatal for at least one of them. Intense stuff.
Those 16 moments took my breath away. What about you?