The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Director: Peter Jackson
Writers: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro, J.R.R. Tolkien
Cast: Ian McKellan, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Luke Evans, Orlando Bloom, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Dean O'Gorman, Aidan Turner, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Adam Brown, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Mikael Persbrandt, Sylvester McCoy, Billy Connolly
Voice and Motion capture cast: Benedict Cumberbatch
Synopsis: Bilbo and Company are forced to engage in a war against an array of combatants and keep the Lonely Mountain from falling into the hands of a rising darkness.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
3.8 / 10
- Great visual effects
- Excellent sound effects, sound mixing and editing
- The film moved at a great pace, in spite of it's three hour run time.
- Cinematography was excellent; especially the high frame rate version.
- 3-D was excellent; especially if you can see the high frame rate version
- Features some of the best action scenes out of the entire Middle Earth cinematic franchise.
- Art Direction was creative and unique
- Makeup and costume artists did a fantastic job on the actors
- Every actor played their parts well.
- Sets up the original trilogy nicely.
- Soundtrack was decent
- Weak exposition
- Rushed sub plots and character development
- Most of the plot is put to the waste side in favor of action scenes.
- For a three hour film, it seems like the movie probably could've been condensed considering there's not a lot of story content in this feature.
- Bilbo feels more like a side character in this feature instead of being the focus like he was in the previous ones.
- Thorin's story arc showed the most promise, but it gets poorly rushed and mishandled here.
- The forbidden love story between the Elf and the Dwarve had promise, but it had a poor payoff considering the movie spends little to no time developing it.
The Defining Chapter!
Out of all the movies based on J.R.R. Tolkein's previous works, this one has arguably the least amount of exposition, while featuring nothing but action scenes. If you thought the previous "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" movies lacked action scenes, then you'll be happy watching this one. Not only do we see some intense battle scenes, but we're even given some stellar one on one action moments as well.
We have the epic final showdown between the infamous dragon, Smaug, and Bard (Luke Evans) around the beginning of the film to start us off. And around the climax, we see Thorin throw down with the Orc leader to determine who becomes the new king of the mountain. Indeed, if you're a huge fan of epic action scenes in fantasy movies, then "The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies" might be up your alley. Sadly, this is also part of the movie's problem.
If you haven't seen any of the previous "Hobbit" movies by this point, then you're going to be completely lost going into this one. Unlike other epic sequels like "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King", this movie doesn't stand well on it's own because it relies on the idea that everyone watching it has been following the series up to this point.
Sure, there's a few good solid character moments involving Thorin's character, along with a few other key characters, but most of the story gets down played in favor of epic battle scenes. And like "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers", the ending doesn't give the audience as much closure as one would hope. If anything it leaves you on a cliffhanger, as the last moments of the movie feel more like an elaborate setup for the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy than anything else.
Thorin's story arc while intriguing feels rushed half the time, while most of the dwarves get little to no character development at all. Bilbo goes from being the main character that drives the story to feeling more like a side character, during this epic climax. Granted, all the actor's play their parts rather well, but they don't much screen time to shine. Heck, even the forbidden love triangle, involving Legolas (Orlando Bloom), barely gets explored; hence equaling to a weak payoff around the end.
As I pointed out before, story and character development often gets shoved to the way side in favor of action scenes.
And it's because of this problem, the overall quality of the film suffers for it. The epic climax between Thorin and the Orc leaders feels anti climatic around the end because there's hardly any build up to it. The sub plot about Thorin possibly succumbing to his own greed was a great idea, but it's never fully explored.
The love triangle that was introduced, during "The Hobbit" trilogy, feels more like a wasted opportunity because Jackson barely explores it. And around the ending, it feels like unnecessary subplot that didn't need to be in this movie.
In the previous movies that Peter Jackson did of this franchise, there was a reason why each of the films needed to be almost three hours long. It was because there was so much story content that Jackson had to fit into the movies. Whereas "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies", there's really no reason for it because over eighty percent of the damn movie is nothing but nonstop action scenes.
If anything, the story doesn't even feel like an actual movie itself because there's hardly any story content it it. If anything, it feels more like an extended climax that was cut out from the last movie, "The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug."
Don't get me wrong, it has some of the best action scenes of the franchise, and I'll be very surprised if this movie doesn't land itself a few nominations in various technical categories, for this year's Oscars.
Granted, it lacks the realistic grittiness that the "Lord of the Rings" had going for it, where Jackson meshed the practical and the CGI effects almost seamlessly. Here, you can tell most of this movie was shot in front of a green screen, and depending on your personal taste, then it might impact your view of the movie. However, we have to keep in mind that this was based on a children's book originally, and Jackson probably didn't want the movies to be as dark as the original trilogy. But at the same time, I can't deny that the special effects were obviously better in the original trilogy. Having said all that, the special effects are still impressive nonetheless. Granted, it's not the best that I've seen from last year, but I wouldn't be too upset to see this movie get nominated for it's visuals and art direction.
Overall, if you've been following "The Hobbit" series since the first movie, then chances are you'll probably love this final chapter of the series. However, I just wouldn't expect too much out of it. As for new fans coming into the series, I'd stay away because this movie is very unkind to the uninitiated. It's definitely worth checking out if you've been following the movies for a while, but it's a damn shame the Middle Earth franchise had to go out on a sour note like this.
© 2015 Steven Escareno
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