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New Review: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

Updated on November 6, 2015

Director: Peter Jackson
Cast:
Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Christopher Lee, Cate Blanchett, Mikael Persbrandt, Aiden Turner, Billy Connolly, Manu Bennett, Hugo Weaving and the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch


I get the feeling that director Peter Jackson just doesn't care anymore. While the first Hobbit movie had a little (very little, actually) of the magic of the classic Lord of the Rings trilogy, last year's The Desolation of Smaug was just a dreary exercise in action and surprisingly bad special-effects. Now we have The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, and it is possibly the most lifeless film in this unnecessary trilogy. For an action spectacle that runs two hours and twenty-four minutes long, it's saying something that the one scene that stands out the most involves a coward dressing up as an old woman to get out of going to battle.

The movie picks up where the last movie left off, with the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) setting fire to Lake-town. There's no recap of the events from the previous movie because, and I'm just guessing here, the filmmakers assume you will have re-watched the previous two movies before going to see this one. They did the same thing with the original trilogy, although with those films, they had good reason to make that assumption. This time, not so much.

Bowman Bard (Luke Evans) escapes from his prison and kills Smaug within the first ten minutes of the movie, and the surviving residents of Lake-town name him their new leader. The day after the attack, they head over to the Lonely Mountain to ask Thorin (Richard Armitage) to share some of his wealth to help them start anew. But Thorin's mind has been poisoned by greed, and in one of the most unintentionally hilarious moments in the movie, he makes it clear to hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman, good but wasted) that he has no intention of sharing a single coin of his treasure with anyone.

Poor Martin Freeman. He was perfectly cast, but even he couldn't save these movies. :(
Poor Martin Freeman. He was perfectly cast, but even he couldn't save these movies. :(

Perhaps the most unnecessary subplot in the whole Hobbit franchise is the romantic triangle involving elves Tauriel (Evangeline Lily), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and dwarf Kili (Aiden Turner). The movie comes to a dead stop anytime it focuses on this subplot. Legolas turns his back on his father/king after learning he banished Tauriel from his kingdom, while Kili professes his love for Tauriel and gives her a special rock. It doesn't work in the slightest, although if you feel as though it does, you might like the scene where Legolas tells Tauriel: "My father may be my king, but he does not command my heart."

An army of elves show up with food and herbs for the survivors of Laketown. Just as Bard thanks them for their help, they make it very clear that the real reason they're there is to reclaim a couple of jewels that are somewhere inside the mountain. Meanwhile, Thorin sends out word to his cousin Dain (Billy Connolly) to send troops to help him against the Elven army, and frantically searches the mountain for the Arkenstone, the symbol of his kingship. Meanwhile, Azog the Desecrator (Manu Bennett) gathers an army and prepares to lay siege to the Lonely Mountain.

Meanwhile (there are quite a few meanwhiles in this darn movie), Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellan) is rescued from his prison by Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), Saruman (Christopher Lee), and Elrond (Hugo Weaving). Galadriel gets to fight off a number of foes, and while this should be a high point in the movie, Jackson butchers the scene with special-effects overkill, so that what should have been a kick ass set-piece instead turns into a headache inducing mess.

"I'm sorry Lego but, this baby I'm carrying is not yours!"
"I'm sorry Lego but, this baby I'm carrying is not yours!"

Eventually, the titular battle takes place, and it goes on and on and on and on. I felt nothing during the battle, because the truth of the matter is that I just don't care about any of the characters. Even if I did, it still would have been a disappointment. The fight scenes in the movie are limp and uninspired, and are often unintentionally funny, such as the scene where Legolas runs up the pieces of a crumbling bridge and continues fighting an orc.

Now that the franchise is finally over, I am convinced now more than ever that The Hobbit could have been wrapped up in two movies at the most. Dragging this story out for three very long movies feels more like a cheap attempt to get a few extra bucks from the audience. There was just no need for it at all. Thankfully, the franchise has finally come to an end. There isn't going to be another one of these movies stinking up theaters next Christmas, and what's more, we still have the original Lord of the Rings to take us on a truly epic Middle Earth adventure.

More to the point, we still have the book, which deserved a better big screen treatment than what Jackson gave it.

Rated PG-13 for lots of action and violence

Final Grade: * ½ (out of ****)

What did you think of this movie? :)

2 out of 5 stars from 2 ratings of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

I kind of liked this version better. :p

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    • priley84 profile imageAUTHOR

      priley84 

      3 years ago from Warner Robins, Ga

      Thank you for reading and your kind words.

      "I think I'll spend my time re-reading the book with a bowl of homemade popped corn"

      That would be time better spent than watching these movies, lol. :P

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 

      3 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      I am so glad to read an honest review. I have been a Tolkien fan since childhood. I was so disgusted that Peter Jackson and the powers that be decided to split "The Hobbit" into 3 movies. Come on!

      It smacks of commercialism. That book could have easily been covered by a great screenplay and director in one, three hour movie. There are many great screenwriters up to the task and Peter Jackson is a brilliant director. He cheapened himself by doing this.

      Thank you for a great review. I think I'll spend my time re-reading the book with a bowl of homemade popped corn.

    • priley84 profile imageAUTHOR

      priley84 

      3 years ago from Warner Robins, Ga

      @ indianreel Thank you for reading. :)

      "However, Hobbit was a small book and it was unnecessary to make a triology except for commercial benefit."

      I agree. I was hoping that this third film would do something to justify the trilogy, but it didn't. :/

      @MsDora Thank you again for reading and your kind words. :)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Follow-up movies are hardly ever as good as the original. Once a gain, a great review giving the answers to questions we want to ask about plot, character and so on. "Unintentionally funny." I think I understand that. Thanks!

    • indianreel profile image

      HK 

      3 years ago from London

      Good review. I still didn't see the Lord of the rings. I am waiting to finish reading the book :). However, Hobbit was a small book and it was unnecessary to make a triology except for commercial benefit. The Hobbit last part was more a fun movie than a serious one.

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