Movie Reviews

Published on December 17th, 2014 | by Ryan Guerra

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

It’s been thirteen years since Director Peter Jackson first took us to middle earth and showed movie

audiences that large scale fantasy could be done right on film with The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. And

now the final trek through middle earth is here with the third and final film in the Hobbit series.

Picking up at the climatic conclusion of 2013’s The Desolation of Smaug, The Battle of the Five Armies is

less about the journey and more about the war between the various armies of middles earth over the

massive riches in the mountain home they journeyed to reclaim. After the exciting beginning that serves

to tie up the previous film and sets to table for this one, we begin to see the brotherhood between the

dwarfs, a wizard, a few elves and a Hobbit that focuses on the bonds of friendship and loyalty. This

builds on itself as it leads to the climactic battle of the five armies. The battle is on the grand scale you

would come to expect from these middle earth films, only at times this battle seems to rely on a bit too

much CGI and thus almost plays out cartoonish. Granted, this is a fantasy world were Dwarfs, Elves and

Men are fighting Orcs so it is really not that hard to suspend disbelief in the first place. Thus the film is

entertaining in its own right as it wraps up one trilogy and bridges to another.

This bridge is what surprised me most. We received a bit more insight to some of the higher beings and

their understanding that villain in the Lord of the Rings trilogy is slowly returning to power. These

sequences are entertaining and great for fan service, but they seem to be handled a bit to simply as it

makes us wonder, if they knew this dark figure was alive, why did they wait so long (The Lord of the

Rings Trilogy) to do something about it. Still, it is nice to see the story wrapped up into one complete

adventure that viewer could connect all the way through.

In the end, those fans of the books and previous films will be pleased with the action, pace and way this

film wraps everything up. Other than the sequence of Bilbo’s interaction with Smaug in the last film, The

Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the best film in the Hobbit Series.

4 out of 5 stars

Special Podcast on The Hobbit.

Second Review by
Joseph Saulnier

One last trip back to Middle Earth, you say? Don’t mind if I do. The
Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
is the final installment of the The
Hobbit
trilogy from New Line Cinema, MGM and Wingnut Films. Picking up
right where we left off in The Desolation of Smaug, Five Armies begins
with Smaug’s attack on Lake-Town, driving out the residents lucky enough to
survive. Clearly, with a title like *Five Armies *has (and it should be no
surprise to those who have read the once-children’s tale), Smaug is
defeated and we move onto something bigger. But I won’t spoil the details
beyond that. Now that Erebor is free of the dragon’s control, a bigger
threat looms. Control of the mountain. For many reasons, many armies
(five to be exact) come to attempt control. But who will reign supreme?

Okay, now that I have pandered to those who want a bit of a plot outline,
let’s get onto how I felt about this film. First, I have to say that I
have had a love/hate relationship with The Hobbit film series. It really
bothers me that they changed so much from the book to movie. I know that
this is common practice, and films cannot be exactly like the books, but
creating an all-new (for the film) central-point character, who has defined
relationships that affect other characters, scenes and even plot points of
the story… that is a bit much to make this a fathomable “adaptation” and
not a reimagining of the great work. That being said, I have greatly
enjoyed the films and the imagery presented with them.

First, performances were excellent as per usual. Martin Freeman portrays
Bilbo Baggins in an honorable a noble light, just as I remember him from my
childhood reads of The Hobbit. But I feel like the man who stole the
spotlight this time around was definitely Richard Armitage (Thorin
Oakenshield
). I was worried coming into this final chapter of the story
about how Armitage was going to be able to pull off the darkness – as it
were – that we see affect Oakenshield after having won back the home of
his people. I have not had the opportunity to see many of Mr. Armitage’s
previous works, mainly experiencing him only in these movies, but he did an
admirable job. I could go on and on about all the things this film did
right, but most of them you know and have experience in the previous 2
films. So let me tell you about a couple things that really irked me.

The vast overuse of humor became really irritating at a point. I am all
for some small comic relief in various points of a movie, just so it
doesn’t seem to dark and broody, but there is a limit to it. It almost
felt like they wanted to break up the tension, then really driving it home
by hitting you 2 or 3 more times in a row with more gags/jokes, just to
make sure you got the point. Needless to say, there was a bit too much for
my taste. They could have toned it down a little and still not had it be a
dark movie.

The other thing that really got me was Tauriel. They invent this character
for the movie – to give you more connection to the dwarfs, thus making a
scene from this final installment more impactful – but they don’t give you
any closure on the character herself. In the end, you are left wanting to
know more about her and what becomes of her, but alas… we won’t. Because
the follow up to The Hobbit, and this character is pretty obviously
nowhere to be found in The Lord of the Rings. She was not a character
anywhere in Tolkien’s world, so we can’t expect to see her in any other
stories. Not like we will ever see another film set in Middle Earth
anyway, unless the Tolkien estate does become foolish enough to sell rights
to the god awful Silmarillion, or to Middle Earth in general so new stories
can be told.

Despite those 2 big gripes for me, this movie is definitely worth checking
out. Maybe even a couple times. I know I, for one, will be back to see it
in theaters. Even if only to support my fellow short-hairy-guys on
screen! But keep in mind, it’s not short, but it’s also not the longest of
the Middle Earth films. It runs at 2 hours 24 minutes, which means the
director’s cut will be over 4 hours!

4 stars out of 5


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