The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies Finally All Sign A Peace Treaty (Movie Review)

The Hobbit The Battle of Five ArmiesThe Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies is the film both fans of The Hobbit franchise have been anxiously waiting for and the moviegoers that do not care too much about the saga and just want it to finally come to an end.  However, to me it’s so much more.  Whether you read the books or not, I haven’t, The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies is nothing more than the Revenge of the Sith of the Lord of the Rings series.  I think y’all know what I mean when I say that.  No matter how you slice it the events of this film we’re here to discuss today had to fit together like bookends to the trilogy that came before it.  When it comes to movies like this that can be both a blessing and a curse.  While this one is nothing more than a two-hour action romp, and when you are talking these films that’s nothing but a good thing, there’s also inherent problems within this one too.  Read on…

So officially you can bill this as Peter Jackson’s sixth, and I think final, film in the epic fantasy world of Lord of the Rings, making it also the third and final film adaptation of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien and various other appendices.  The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies was both directed and written by him with a little help from friends Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Guillermo del Toro.  The flick stars the usual set of faces by now, Ian Mckellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch and more.  I was getting exhausted listing everyone, but I think that at least covers all the major players.  Last but not least, Howard Shore returns here to fulfill the duties of providing a score.

So our story opens up immediately following the events of the second film where the treacherous dragon Smaug (Cumberbatch) lays waste to Lake Town.  For me, these destructive scenes, despite all the talking the dragon does, were easily the best moments of the film here.  We’ll get to all the army action in a minute, but for those first fifteen tense minutes or so I was completely engrossed in the mayhem even though I was pretty sure it was going to be short-lived.  I was right!  I’m not spoiling anything here.  You knew this film wasn’t going to be 2+ hours of a talking dragon again, didn’t you?  Of course you did!

We are then transported to a courageous rescue attempt by some familiar faces from the Lord of the Rings films to free our favorite wizard, Gandalf (McKellen), from the evil Necromancer, whose name will not be mentioned in this review.  Pending the result of these actions taken, we fast forward back to what’s happening with the dwarves, namely Thorin Oakenshield (Armitage), in their reclaimed home in the Lonely Mountain.  Thorin has fallen under a condition referred to here as “dragon sickness.”  This means he has become crazed from the golden riches stockpiled in the Lonely Mountain.  Think of Ebenezer Scrooge ten-fold before the events in The Christmas Carol.

Meanwhile, there’s something the war-torn people of Lake Town seek as well as the elves that are both found within the now heavily barricaded Lonely Mountain.  The only problem is King Thorin, still suffering from the unshakable bonds of dragon sickness, is unwilling to re-pay his previously agreed upon debts to the people of Lake Town and of course he wants nothing to do with letting the elves in either.  The stupid thing here is the fact that it’s only a company of 13 dwarves against a whole army of elves, not to mention all the people of Lake Town who were still capable of fighting.  Did I forget to mention the armies of marching Orcs and all the various monsters they bring with them?  Needless to say, it’s not looking good for the 13 dwarves.

So what’s hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) supposed to do about it all?  Well, he better do something or else there’s going to be one big battle happening.  Oh wait!  That’s kind of the point of this whole movie, right?  I mean that’s the film’s title.  So yes, all spoilers aside, there’s eventually a huge battle to be had that in typical Lord of the Rings fashion I guess you can coin it as epic in its own right.

First things first, The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies feels very lean clocking in at only 144 minutes, which is relatively short for an entry in this franchise.  However, that’s a blessing to me!  My only complaint is it didn’t feel like a cohesive stand alone entry, but I digress.  It’s a Hobbit/Lord of the Rings film after all.  We should be happy we finally get a lot of action in the Hobbit series.  We sat through enough slow moments in the first two entries.  I still think this whole Hobbit series could have been and should have only been two films and that’s it, but like Thorin I suffer personally in real life from dragon sickness so I can understand the studios desire to make as much money as possible by milking this franchise for everything it conceivably could.

If you like long battle scenes, you won’t be disappointed here because you won’t be burdened with pretty much anything else.  Sure there’s a couple speeches and dramatic moments here and there, not to mention some comedic ones too, but for the most part this entry is darker and action packed for all parties involved.  So in that respect,  The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies is definitely the most entertaining installment because of its brisker pace.  However, that trait alone doesn’t make it a perfect film.  In fact, despite this quicker pace I mention, it still earned the same film score from me as the first two glacier-melting films did.  Boo!

 I can’t believe as being a hardcore lover of action films that I’m going to say this, but the battle scenes were too long here.  They grew tiresome and a bit repetitious, not to mention the inconsequential romances throughout too.  It just felt like everything here was just a placeholder so this book would fit nicely between The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, much like Revenge of the Sith did in the Star Wars saga, but unlike the latter which used a brisk pace to nicely wrap things up our Hobbit film here seemed to drudge along making sure you did not forget how we got here and back again to The Fellowship.  It just all felt too forced to me.  The performances were all fine, but by the film’s ending I just didn’t care anymore.  I also have some serious problems with the film’s storytelling here too, but to go into those would be divulging spoilers and that’s just not my style.

So despite my nitpicking up above, if you saw the first two Hobbit films theatrically, then by all means make sure you check out The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies in a cinema too.  In fact, if given the choice, opt for the 3D theatrical presentation. I feel it is worth the extra couple of bucks as nothing looks cheap here and the spatial dimensionality and New Zealand cinematography is absolutely breathtaking at times.  And that ladies and gentlemen, may be be one of the only few times you have ever heard me speak really kind about a 3D presentation.  The high frame rate presentation, on the other hand, I could care less about.  Ultimately, a good story is what makes a film spectacular, not how fast it’s recorded/played or if a sword pops out at you.  In regards to The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies, it goes out in epic style (in both terms of action and homage), and that’s all that matters here.  You already know what you’re getting into here and nevertheless you’ll make some people really rich.  Enjoy!


The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies

Lays Waste To Theaters December 17th!


The Hobbit The Battle of Five Armies Movie Poster


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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