The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five ArmiesDecember. 10,2014 PG-13
Prime Video Movies
Immediately after the events of The Desolation of Smaug, Bilbo and the dwarves try to defend Erebor's mountain of treasure from others who claim it: the men of the ruined Laketown and the elves of Mirkwood. Meanwhile an army of Orcs led by Azog the Defiler is marching on Erebor, fueled by the rise of the dark lord Sauron. Dwarves, elves and men must unite, and the hope for Middle-Earth falls into Bilbo's hands.
The best of three, I managed to watch it in one breath, but I'm still not thrilled. The whole trilogy leaves the impression of a pale copy of the "Lord of the Rings".8/10
I feel many user reviews have been unfair to Jackson as they seem to summarily dismiss the Hobbit series altogether as one monumental redundancy. I've watched both the LOTR trilogy and The Hobbit series with equal delight, but I loved the latter more. I found the premise of LOTR too abstract and surreal giving a hint to the over imaginative mind of Tolkien. I felt the same with Rowling after the sixth part of Harry Potter was out. It seems painfully fantastic. What with the sinistrously powerful ring which is hell bent on reaching its benevolent master, the hideous eye constantly guarding Mordor, and poor Frodo constantly overwhelmed and under prepared for the herculean task he has undertaken, his life tottering on the brink of his grave- the film gets altogether depressing as it progresses and ends with a rather predictable climax. The final part is a whopping four hour long of ass numbing misery. I just wanted it to end. Even the Orcs in LOTR are predictable and stupid. Like petty toy soldiers they are prolific in numbers but lacking in wit, fighting other people's battle unlike in Hobbit where they appear sinistrously ghastly and macabre. They also had a leader with brains. Hobbit is beautifully directed in three parts. First is a nail biting adventure which keeps you hooked throughout. In the second, we've the inimitable Benedict Cumberbatch playing Smaug, the most fearsome dragon, who is nothing short of being brilliant, and in the final part we get to see the Dwarf King Thorin Oakenshield played by the versatile Richard Armitage in his full element. The scene where the dwarves decide to join in on the battle is a classic. It pumps my adrenaline everytime I see it. "Will you follow me for the one last time?"Since I watched the Hobbit first, I missed terribly the presence of dwarves in LOTR although Gimli was brilliant. Battle of the five armies is a pure nail biter. It moves with a swift thrilling pace, and is definitely not clichéd. Technically, it precedes LOTR, and however much Jackson may have experimented with the adaptation, it all unfolds wonderfully making it an instant classic.
The Battle of the Five Armies title is a great exaggeration of what an army entails. The movie is about more or less a skirmish with some rather imaginative weaponry. The plot goes sideways and after two three hours long previous films we get a two hours and a half mess that is half completely over the top battle scenes and the other half people talking out of their asses. It is pure chaos, where orcs are either mighty unbeatable beasts bred for war or cardboard armor wearing morons easily defeated by fishermen's wives and children, as the action demands. Things start to remind of Pirates of the Caribbean, and not only because it's the same actor doing kind of the same stuff. There is even a prolonged ending with Bilbo Baggings returning to the Shire, almost as if wanting to undo the good idea in the Lord of the Rings movies in which they removed the boring book ending with Saruman taking refuge in the Shire, and that portrays hobbits as petty bureaucratic creatures, rather than kind and resilient and courageous as declared everywhere else in the films. If I enjoyed the first two movies and wanted to see how it will all end, the third was a ridiculous failure, trying to do too much with too little: making a country brawl look like an epic battle, keeping the lighter more children oriented tone while killing characters and trying to express deeper heroic emotions, trying to somehow raise on the same level three organized military groups and a bunch of fishermen and animals and tying up lose ends that were there only to make this a trilogy rather than a pair of decent movies. It is now when all the jokes about the eagles made in good fun in the first two movies (and in Lord of the Rings as well) turn smirky, when the only logic to the plot and action seems to be the panic of production companies trying to achieve their financial goals rather than tell a good story. It is here where the disappointment that everyone talks about when referring to The Hobbit movies raises its ugly head and grows on the small mistakes of the previous two movies. So in order to enjoy the trilogy, one must somehow detach themselves from the ending and see it as an imperfect finish to an otherwise fun movie, maybe imagine their own.
After the events portrayed in 'The Desolation of Smaug' the dwarfs, under Thorin Oakenshield, have taken control of the mine under the Lonely Mountain and searching for the 'Arkenstone', not knowing that Bilbo Baggins has already found it. Meanwhile the dragon Smaug has attacked and destroyed Lake Town before being slain by Bard the Bowman. After this Bard becomes the leader of the survivors as they head to the Lonely Mountain expecting the dwarfs to help them. Thorin, affected by Dragon sickness, refuses and barricades the entrance. Soon a force of Elves turns up hoping to retrieve their own treasure from the mountain; they ally with the human forces and prepare to attack. Just as they are about to strike a large army of dwarfs arrives to help those in the mountain. That is the least of their worries; Orcish forces are also attacking and soon men, dwarfs and elves are fighting side by side.This is a solid enough conclusion to the Hobbit trilogy which goes some way to link this trilogy to the 'Lord of the Rings'. The story is pretty simple and there are few real surprises just lots and lots of action. This action is pretty good for the most part although occasionally the CGI is a little obvious. The characters are mostly 'more of the same' with familiar characters battling the evil orcs. Alfrid Lickspittle, a character who lives up to his name, was a fun addition as the cowardly sidekick to the late ruler of Lake Town although why Bard trusted him for most of the film is a mystery as he shows his true colours at every possible opportunity. The cast does a solid job bringing the characters to life and the various CGI creatures look believable. Overall this film provided plenty of action although I'm not sure it was really necessary to turn a short book like The Hobbit into three films with lots of new material.