Swamp Things and Singing True: a Review of the comic Bayou

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Image from lovelaughterinsanity.com

If you’re going to build a world with words, look at Jeremy Love’s comic book series Bayou for inspiration—you can’t go wrong. What began as a web comic is now printed in two beautiful volumes that you need to read. Southern swamps have never looked so beautiful.

I have to warn you though, Bayou is not what I would call easy reading. It will make you think in ways that might not be familiar in your standard, comic-reading experience.

For one thing, Bayou is building on African-American folklore, such as the stories of Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear, and Tar Baby, among others. Their stories come together in a beautiful and horrifying mix of history and fantasy. The world beyond the swamp is a kind of pre-Abolition wonderland, where the characters of slave folklore live under the Bossman’s thumb and try to get by one way or another.

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Image from vulture.com

It does help to have at least a touch of knowledge about these African-American folk tales when reading Bayou, just as it helps to be acquainted with Greek or Norse mythology when reading other comics.

It also helps to have some knowledge of the Blues. Bayou embraces what I have seen other comics merely touch on: song lyrics included in the comic’s panels. You see, our cast of character includes several rambling musicians and singers. The enchantingly beautiful and somewhat deceitful songstress Tar Baby is the mother of the comic’s protagonist, Lee Wagstaff. Brer Rabbit and Bayou come out of their swamp-side world to sing the blues in a Southern speakeasy, and it all goes to hell when the local levee breaks and a flood takes them all. But come hell or high water, these characters get to speak and sing in their own voices. The past and present overlap in Love’s storytelling, and songs ease the transition between them. Similar to how Disney movies use songs in a montage to mark the passage of time—only Bayou never turns away from real-world darkness.

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Image from webcomicoverlook.wordpress.com

Nearly every character in Bayou speaks in a dialect. This includes the Southern accent, and specifically period-consistent African-American slang. It’s easy to pick up as you go along, and what isn’t totally clear becomes clear with usage (such as when one woman calls another a “heiffer” in a barroom spat). It also includes multiple uses of the N-word, with asterisks for the following letters. It’s a jarring reminder of the history of hate and oppression. You can never forget that slavery is in the characters’ recent past—but why should you? Little Lee may be free, but we first meet her as she swims in the swamp to retrieve the body of a boy her own age. Young Billy Glass lies dead in the bayou because local white men lynched him.

This ain’t Carroll’s kind of wonderland.

Bayou is full of love and hate, cowardice and bravery, sinners and saints. Even the characters that are anthropomorphic animals are beautifully and tragically human. You’ll see the best and the worst of the characters in this comic, but all of them are truly people—even if many of them don’t recognize it.

-Contributed by Miranda Whittaker

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We’re Walking in the Air: Tracing the Snowy Tracks of Sentient Snowmen

We’re walking in the air, we’re floating in the moonlit sky.”

(“Walking in the Air” from The Snowman, 1982)

From The Snowman (1978, 1982), the classic short read that has adorned coffee tables for decades, to the surprisingly heartwarming Jack Frost (1998), and even to Doctor Who (2012), snowmen have been depicted as living, breathing, sentient beings for longer than we might think.

So how did this come about?

Well, shockingly enough, it didn’t all start with Frosty.

An earlier recorded case of sentient snowmen is the German short Der Schneemann (“The Snowman”), which was created under the Nazi regime in 1944 (and is now available on Youtube for all to enjoy). Running just under thirteen minutes in length, it tells the story of a snowman who comes to life, becomes determined to see the month of July, and waits out those long months in a fridgeuntil, at last, he gets a taste of the sweet summer days he so longed for.

This portrayal of a snowman enraptured by the wonders of life—a carrot for his nose and a big grin on his face—is likely very familiar to you.

Frosty the Snowman, is a fairytale, they say.

He was made of snow, but the children know he came to life one day”

(Frosty the Snowman, 1950)

This classic song was recorded by Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys just over sixty-five years ago, and still remains popular today. It was through this song that most people became familiar with Frosty’s story: he comes to life with a magic hat, cheerfully roams the town with the children, and eventually flees with a promise to be back someday.

Curiously, the original song never mentions Christmas, despite its contemporary association with the holiday.

Frosty the Snowman was made into a storybook that same year, and the beloved snowman started appearing on screens just a few years later in 1954, perhaps the most renowned adaptation being the Frosty the Snowman Christmas special that aired on CBS on December 7, 1969.

Skipping ahead a few more years, we arrive at Raymond Brigg’s The Snowman (1978), a charming picture book with no words at all. It tells the story of a boy who meets a curious snowman, come to life at midnight on a cold winter’s day, and explores the world with himuntil the next morning, when the snowman melts away under the sun.

The Snowman was adapted as a twenty-six minute short in 1982 and was nominated for an Academy Award. This short is just as wordless as the book on which it is based, featuring just one song with lyrics: the haunting “Walking in the Air” by Howard Blake, which plays as the boy and the snowman soar over the dark winter landscape.

(Many of you may not know that an equally delightful sequel—The Snowman and the Snowdog—was released in 2012, with many of the original team having taken part in its creation.)

While Frosty and its many derivations leave the ending ambiguous as to where he goes, The Snowman, as well as its sequel thirty years later, beautifully illustrate the tragic and inevitable fate of any being created from snow.

Nowadays, it is not difficult to see sentient snowmen portrayed in various forms of media.

You may have spotted a familiar carrot-nosed figure in Phineas and Ferb’s Christmas Vacation!, or cheered on the quirky Olaf in the 2013 film Frozen.

A significant portion of sentient snowmen tend to be depicted in a manner that resembles the friendly, lovable Frosty: one who trots to and fro, inspiring smiles on the faces of children everywhere.

Sometimes, however, the storyline can be a tad unusual.

Take the movie Jack Frost (1998), for example, wherein a fatherkilled in a car accidentis resurrected in the form of a snowman by his grieving son. Despite being a box office flop, this rather unconventional movie still uses the image of a snowman as a symbol of joy, friendship, and love to tell its story.

However, not all snowmen have good intentions.

Now, what are you? Eh? A flock of space crystals. A swarm!

But the snowmen are foot soldiers. Mindless predators.”

(The Doctor, The Snowmen, Doctor Who Christmas Special 2012)

In Doctor Who’s Christmas special, snowmen are terrifying, sharp-toothed villains (whose faces might give you nightmares) that appear by the hoards at your feet, conjured simply by thought.

You’ve also likely seen an advertisement for the 2014 Nissan Rogue in which angry snowmen, armed to the buttons with shovels and crowbars and snowballs, mow down crowds of screaming people with their attacks, their power unmatched and undefeatableunless, of course, you’re in a sturdy Nissan Rogue.

There have been a significant number of snowmen that go against the Frosty stereotype, the ones listed above being just a small sample. Can you think of any others?

Something about a smiling—or in some cases, a snarling—semi-humanoid figure that we create with our own two gloved hands seems to captivate us. It’s magical enough to make the imagination come alive and to warm (or stop!) our hearts in the coldest of times.

-Contributed by Sophie Cho

Calling All Storytellers: An Original, Contemporary Fairy Tale, Please!

When I think of fairy tales, I think of mythical creatures, anthropomorphic objects and animals, happy endings, and valuable lessons fully revealed at the end. The ones recorded  by the Grimm Brothers, Hans Christian Andersen, and Charles Perrault have justifiably become classic fairy tales, with great popularity and numerous literary, film, musical, and theatre adaptations. Recently, the musical film Into the Woods, which came out on December 25, 2014, was a crossover adaptation of the Grimm Brothers’ “Cinderella”, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, “Little Red Riding Hood”, and “Rapunzel”. That film was in fact an adaptation of the stage musical of the same name by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim, which was itself an adaptation of James Lapine’s book of the same name. And that’s just one specific revival of the classic fairy tales.

On the top of my head, within the past decade (give or take a couple of years) these are some of the film adaptations of fairy tales: Ella Enchanted, Enchanted, A Cinderella Story, Another Cinderella Story, Maleficent, Snow White and the Huntsman, Mirror, Mirror, Red Riding Hood, Jack the Giant Killer, Beastly, the four Shrek films, the three recent Disney princess films, and so many others. And apparently there’s going to be more film adaptations this year, including one of Cinderella and one of Beauty and the Beast, which I’m not too surprised about; these fairy tales are as old as time with practically no copyright laws, and they help today’s storytellers get their creative minds going with at least the basis for a story.

But where are the contemporary fairy tales?

How can there be so many adaptations, but no new, original stories? Surely some brave people have attempted to create fairy tales with new teachings of morality that are relevant to our time. Yes, some of the aforementioned (and other) adaptations of the classic fairy tales may have snuck in an extra moral lesson or two, like Disney’s Frozen with its rejection of the idea of love at first sight. But where are the fairy tales with their own original premises and new, relevant moral lessons?

As you try to think of those fairy tales of our time, keep in mind that fairy tales are short stories. I was almost going to pose the idea of The Lord of the Rings as a fairy tale, after seeing it listed as a fairy tale on Wikipedia (another reason to take Wikipedia’s words with a grain of salt). If you think about it, it does fit the genre, especially since J. R. R. Tolkien’s own definition of ‘fairy stories’ from his 1965 essay “On Fairy-Stories” describes his own literary works so well. But then I remembered that fairy tales are short stories. Oops.

Unfortunately, short stories aren’t taking the world by storm as novels and novellas are doing, so we could have missed those brilliant contemporary fairy tales. The only fairy tale-like short story I can think of on the spot is The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch. You know, that princess that teenage girls dressed up as for Halloween in high school. It’s a short story because it’s a children’s picture book, it has fairy tale elements and motifs, and it teaches girls the valuable lesson that women don’t need a man to rescue them because women are capable of helping themselves. It seems like it could be the first of our contemporary fairy tales.

Now all we need are fairy tales with moral teachings on equity and diversity, discovering one’s actual passion(s), integrity in one’s work (to be applicable to any kind of work), making the choice between what’s right and what’s easy (thanks, Rowling, but maybe a short story with that lesson for the children would be best), and on feminist values (because The Paperbag Princess really only made the prince a wimp for comical effect and wouldn’t be proper in relating the genders equally).

I certainly haven’t read all of the fairy tales ever published (yet), so perhaps one of them was progressive for its time. But if not, do you know of any short stories that could be classified as contemporary fairy tales? And is there a valuable teaching pertinent to our time that I missed and should be the moral of a fairy tale? Let me know!

-contributed by Brenda Bongolan

Sandman : Handful of Dust

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Image from empireonline.com

 

When a young Neil Gaiman first approached Vertigo comics about The Sandman, he was pitching a simple revival of the 70s series of the same name by Joe Simon and Jack “The King” Kirby. But DC editor Karen Berger insisted that while they keep the name, Gaiman should create a new character.

And thank goodness he did, for otherwise the world would have been robbed of something beautiful. Running from 1989 to 1996, for a total 75 issues collected in 10 volumes, The Sandman managed to create its very own expansive self-contained mythology.

The original artists Mike Dringenberg and Sam Kieth fashioned the title character after Gaiman himself. The Sandman, also known as Morpheus or Dream, and by many other names, carries with him an aura of inhumanity. While early issues exist in the DC comic universe with appearances by The Martian Manhunter and John Constantine (hellblazer), the creators quickly realized that Sandman should be a world unto itself, and so that is what it became. Sandman used several different types of stories to keep itself going and to keep it feeling new and alien all the way through to its final issue, but over its run, three types of stories were prevalent.

The Sandman was able to hold on to many overlapping threads throughout its near decade-long run, with characters who appeared in early issues later returning to have their stories told in elaborate detail. This worked well for the first main kind of story that was used. While several volumes are focused on the Sandman himself, there are also a number of stories in which the title character only appears in a minor capacity, and sometimes he fails to appear at all, instead being merely alluded to or referenced by the other characters. These stories were all set in the present and centered on ordinary people who are pulled into problems or adventures that they don’t understand, becoming involved with magic and monsters.

But even when Dream himself didn’t appear, Gaiman never lost focus on what the series was about. Even in these more domestic stories, the focus is on these ordinary people’s dreams, and the effect that dreams can have on the waking world. Whether it be the story of a young woman named Barbie who becomes trapped in her own dreaming, or of a girl named Rose who finds herself with mysterious powers, the underlying idea behind the story is always clear—what is important are the dreams that these characters have, and how these dreams provide a glimpse into the effect that Dream has on the world he inhabits .

The next kind of story that Gaiman used most often involves the various preexisting mythologies that the world has to offer. In The Sandman, the deities from various cultures and mythologies coexist. This allows Dream to engage with different stories from various mythologies, and allows Gaiman to teach the reader about histories and mythologies that they might not have been exposed to otherwise.

The Sandman also includes Biblical figures such as Cain and Able, who in the series exist as servants to Dream in his mystical realm. Cain is doomed to always kill his brother and Able is doomed to be endlessly resurrected. The devil himself is a key figure in several volumes, with Dream actually visiting hell to sort out his conflicts with the infamous fallen angel Lucifer. One such conflict is when Lucifer decides to retire and leaves Dream in charge of hell, leading to all sorts of problems .

Dream also has stories with characters cut from Egyptian mythology, such as the cat god Bast, and characters from Norse mythology, such as Thor, Odin, and Loki, with the latter two becoming important figures in The Sandman’s later volumes. The three Fates from ancient Greek mythology also figure, and in the end they become Dream’s most important foes.

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Image from wikimedia.org

But the third—and probably my personal favorite—kind of narrative that The Sandman employs is historical: the blending of the Sandman’s unique and eerie magic with historical figures and events. This is used to showcase the Kings of Rome and Marco Polo, and, most notably, is used when Morpheus visits the dreams of William Shakespeare, helping to inspire some of the famous playwright’s most beloved works. In issue 19, collected in the third volume Dream Country, Shakespeare’s company puts on A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Morpheus, with actual Fairy Folk sneaking into production. This issue is the only comic book to ever win the World Fantasy Award.My favorite example of this blending of history and fantasy will always be from Volume 6, Fables and Reflections, in which Dream inspires the broken and suicidal Joshua Abraham Norton in the year of 1859 to become the self-proclaimed Emperor of America, a real historical figure who solved social disputes in the city of San Francisco.

The Sandman is an intelligent, unnerving saga that follows an inhuman, monstrous magical figure. It traces his deeds and misdeeds throughout history with his siblings Destiny, Despair, Desire, Destruction, Delirium, and Death. The Sandman is a unique and beautiful series, and should always be remembered both as one of Gaiman’s crowning achievements and as one of the greatest creations of the comic book medium.

-contributed by Ben Ghan

The Giants Made Me Eat My Spinach: From Then to Now

Giants.  From the English fairytale “Jack and the Beanstalk” to the most recent iteration in the anime and manga Attack on Titan, giants are a well-established element of fantastical stories. However, as with all story elements, they are subject to evolution. Giants in some form or another had existed in folktales and stories well before Jack and his beans were conceptualized in the late 1790s. Greek folklore is thought to contain the first of the giants in its stories of Kronos and his cohort, who both gave birth to and terrorized the gods. Legends continued to spring up around the world, culminating in Ireland with the story of Fingal (or Fionn mac Cumhaill), who is the vertically-enhanced being responsible for the Giant’s Causeway. By then, giants were an integral part of European folklore, eventually coming to England with the well-known tale of Jack and the Beanstalk.

In Jack’s story, the giants are a thinly-veiled metaphor that essentially admonishes people not to be little brats or else they’ll be stepped on. It is a cautionary tale used to remind children that the world is not a forgiving place. What better way to scare them than to tell them of huge humans, with human desires and emotions, but with devastating strength and a penchant for vendettas? This metaphor has been reused constantly across almost every tale involving giants since then, from Roald Dahl’s BFG to J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. In both, the giants are, for all intents and purposes, just tremendously big people. Though perhaps not as lucid as Jack’s giants, they still demonstrate extremely human traits. These giants also have rather blatant similarities in the messages that they are attempting to convey. The world (giants) is big and scary, and if you aren’t nice to it, it won’t be nice to you. And it may even squash you anyway.

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Image from fanshare.com

 

Along comes the twenty-first century, and, apparently, a new set of rules. The anime and manga, Attack on Titan, takes the giant and gives it an entirely new spin. The giant is still big. Still bad. Still very much set on stomping. However, any human emotion, desire, or purpose has been utterly erased. These giants exist for one purpose: slaughter.

This complete reversal of everything giants had been, stylistically, up to that point, brings with it an entirely new metaphor. “Jack and the Beanstalk”, BFG, Harry Potter, and Fingal’s stories had all been written with nineteenth and twentieth century criteria. The giants in those stories were created to underline the age-old ideas of what it means to be good. Thus, it was important to see some part of ourselves in the creatures intended to be the externalizations of our punishments should we fail to be good. Attack on Titan departs from this line of thought. Its giants are pure and animalistic. Gone is “eat your vegetables, dearies, or you’ll be pulverized”. These giants seem to have a much deeper, much darker purpose—one that would take volumes to analyze, but seems to boil down to this: climate change, wonky political systems, and “don’t nuke your neighbours”.

from animediet.net
Image from animediet.net

 

Every part of a story exists for a reason, and all parts are subject to revision as society and media changes. Whether it be to inspire kids to go to bed on time or to highlight the various fallacies of modern society, giants are one such part.

-contributed by Rej Ford

 

Getting Dragons on Screen: The Cycle of Readers and Viewers

At its birth, the literary elite refused to accept fantasy as a legitimate genre. Fire-barfing dragons, scantily clad elves, and steel-swinging hunks could not possibly make for capital “L” Literature. Even after the explosive popularity of J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, and yes, even J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, fantasy remained at the fringe of critically acclaimed Literature. While Papa Tolkien, arguably the creator of the modern fantasy genre, and his peers became literary stars, fantasy did not quite manage to crack into mainstream culture.

Recently, something has changed and fantasy’s Berlin Wall has crumbled. What launched fantasy into the global consciousness? For better or worse, the answer is the screen.

Game of Thrones, the adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s series A Song of Ice and Fire, is the most watched television series on air. Martin popularized contemporary fantasy by breaking Tolkien’s rules against gore and sex. The Harry Potter movies, adapted from Rowling’s books, are some of highest grossing box office hits in history. The symbiotic cycle of page to screen transforms readers into viewers and viewers into readers. Screen adaptations spike book sales. You watch an episode of GoT then you buy the book. The opposite is true as well. You read a Harry Potter book then you watch the movies.

The mutually beneficial relationship between the book and the screen has marked adaptations, especially of fantasy works, as the safest way to make movies.

Hollywood and cable networks are hungry for surefire hits. Standalone movies are dangerous because their success is questionable. Studios may pour $100 million into a flick that may bomb in the box office. To circumvent this unpredictability, producers with dollar signs for pupils turn to books. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings has sold over 150 million copies. Besides religious texts like the Bible, it is one of the bestselling book ever. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone hit 107 million. No surprise, these colossally popular books were made into movies. Pre-awareness and preexisting audiences make screen adaptations of bestselling books a no brainer. The final Harry Potter movie and the last Lord of the Rings stand as 4th and 8th highest grossing movies of all time, sans inflation. Peruse the “now playing in a theatre near you” list and you’ll see that every other movie is “based on the novel by [insert bestselling author here].”

This trend of adapting books into movies is especially important to fantasy. Fantasy lends itself to the visual. Fantasy authors create entire worlds that ignite the mind’s eye and the filmmaker’s passion. Battle scenes, mystical landscapes, and explosive magic all sear their way into the reader’s brain and clamour for visual adaptation. On top of their already visual nature, our beloved fantasy books boast a plethora of devoted readers.

Tolkien and Rowling’s box office numbers prove that fantasy books are viable targets for adaptation. That said, we persnickety readers of fantasy have also proven that crappy adaptations of our favorite books will flop. Movies like Eragon, The Golden Compass, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, The Brothers Grimm, Inkheart, Beautiful Creatures, and Mortal Instruments all wheezed their way through pathetic box office showings and endured countless critical lashings. Look any of these adaptations up on Rotten Tomatoes and you’ll cringe.

All in all, however popular it is, cultivating a successful screen adaptation of fantasy works is treacherous. Hollywood gurus option boatloads of New York Times bestselling fantasy works. While oftentimes, nothing comes of these options, we can expect a tsunami of our pet books to either drown us in their fetid waters or buoy us up into imaginative ecstasy. Either way, wear a lifejacket.

-contributed by Danny Vedova

Hopelessly Hobbited: A Tolkien Addict’s Review of The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

One last time.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES

These words, though spoken by Thorin as he prepares to lead his company of dwarves into the Orc-Dwarf-Elf melee, also speak clearly for Peter Jackson. In the course of his own journey, fraught by battles (of the legal variety), fire, illness, and injuries, Jackson managed to channel fresh energy and enthusiasm into an already time-tested classic, a classic which essentially gave birth to the epic fantasy genre. Transforming many mechanical and artistic aspects of film technology, Jackson raised the bar to a level as yet unmatched by any other fantasy adapted for the screen.

So as the film’s release dawned, the ironic words “no pressure” had never been more relevant. As this die-hard fan rushed to the first showing on opening day, expectation mingled with excitement was nearly palpable in the impressively filled Ultra AVX theatre, particularly for a Wednesday matinée. Not only was The Battle of Five Armies the conclusion of The Hobbit trilogy, but it also represented the last of Peter Jackson’s film forays into Middle Earth. It bore the responsibility of satisfying old and new fans alike—fans who  number far into the millions. Balancing the demands of textual integrity (particularly of a piece so beloved and well-established), the intricacies of the cinematic medium, and massive fan expectation is not an easy task for any director. But Jackson had done it before.

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From the beginning, Martin Freeman more than pulls his weight as Bilbo, revealing new facets of his character and inhabiting his hobbit skin with effortless panache. Richard Armitage, too, shines in his masterful portrayal of the increasingly paranoid dwarf king Thorin, who is beginning to descend into gold-obsessed madness as he holes up in the treasure-filled halls of his reclaimed mountain kingdom. Armitage’s handling of Thorin’s death was particularly skillful. In each of my three viewings of the film, sizable portions of the audience erupted into (sometimes noisy) tears as Thorin breathes his last.

Smaug, too, does not cease to impress, opening the film with a brief yet somehow majestic rampage. Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance is one aspect of the film which all sides must agree is a triumph. Unfortunately, it is with Smaug that we see the last of secondary characters knowing better than to overstay their welcome.

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The Legolas-Tauriel-Kili love triangle proves once more to be the film’s canker. Already burdened by a clumsy premise and a fairly ridiculous execution, The Battle of the Five Armies finds the accursed subplot lumbering further into focus. Cheapened by tragically clichéd lines (warning: contains “Why does it hurt so much?” and “Because it was real,” without a hint of irony) and a drawn-out death scene (complete with a slow-motion tear-roll), I found myself doing an actual face-palm. The baseless relationship between Tauriel and Kili does not manage to expand the role of women; instead, her character disappears after Kili’s death having contributed absolutely nothing to the plot. In truth, Galadriel accomplishes more in her five minutes at the beginning of the film than Tauriel does in two films.

Nevertheless, golden nuggets are plentiful in the film—and not just in the treasure horde of Thror. Moments of warmth and humanity are largely provided by Bard and his children, but also by Bilbo’s loyalty to his Dwarf friends and his courageous defense of them. Humour, too, is gracefully woven into the story, provided primarily by the shameless Alfred, the late Master of Lake Town’s greasy grunt, and Bilbo’s impish quirks. Perhaps the most masterful moment of humour is found in the wordless interaction between Bilbo and Gandalf as the latter casually and irreverently pulls out the pipe weed for a post-battle smoke.

The Battle of Five Armies undeniably lives up to the epic grandeur of the Middle Earth saga. The immense entertainment value of the film is undisputable; it is a compelling story thrillingly adapted that still manages to find ways to surprise an audience that thinks they know it all because they already know how everything ends. With well-choreographed and impressively animated battle sequences, there are exquisite moments of awe and delight— Elves sail gracefully over Dwarves hunkered down for battle into a knot of oncoming Orcs and the Elven king Thranduil catches six Orcs by the horns of his elk stallion and decapitates them all in a single elegant stroke. You are constantly reminded that this is a film world built with the loving reverence of another fan—this is Jackson’s Middle Earth.

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Jackson ends an era with a significant bang, and it is with gratitude and with great sadness that this fan must reluctantly, in the words of Billy Boyd, bid Middle Earth’s cinematic representation “a very fond farewell.”

(For now.)

-Contributed by Emily Willan