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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
DVD + Ultraviolet
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Hobbit, The: The Battle of the Five Armies Special Edition (DVD)
THORIN OAKENSHIELD AND THE DWARVES OF EREBOR have reclaimed the vast wealth of their homeland, but now face the consequences of having unleashed the terrifying Dragon Smaug upon Lake-town. Meanwhile, Sauron, the Dark Lord, has sent forth legions of Orcs to attack the Lonely Mountain, and Bilbo Baggins fi nds himself fi ghting for his life as fi ve great armies go to war. As darkness converges, the races of Dwarves, Elves and Men must decide – unite or be destroyed.]]>
- Trailer 1
- Trailer 2
- "Legacy" Trailer
Includes UltraViolet so you can enjoy the film on many different compatible devices. MUST ENTER REDEMPTION CODE BY 2018-03-24 TO REDEEM ULTRAVIOLET OFFER. DOES NOT INCLUDE iTUNES FILE.
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From the opening moments, wherein Smaug the Terrible rains down an unholy blitzkrieg of dragonfire on unsuspecting Laketown, BATTLE sets a snappy pace and only lets up long enough for you to gasp in awe or dab a tear from your eye. BATTLE is at once the most epic and the most personal of the trilogy. The Company of Thorin have now captured Erebor and are sitting upon a massive hoard of dragon gold. Drawn by riches and power, the forces of good and evil converge upon the Lonely Mountain. War between elves, dwarves, men, and orcs looms fell on the horizon even as darkness creeps into the heart of Thorin Oakenshield, and the Dark Lord Sauron looks to make a comeback.
Castwise, Martin Freeman is a perfect JOY to watch as our favourite hobbit (sorry, Frodo) Bilbo Baggins, with ne'er a hairy hobbit foot set wrong. Ian McKellen continues to be perfect as Gandalf: wise and weary, with a glint in his eyes. Luke Evans plays Bard with grave and noble stature, while Lee Pace gives the elf-king Thranduil the regal poise and cold fury of a tiger. Orlando and Evangeline are still physics-defying butt-kickers, but embody Legolas and Tauriel with a humanness about their pointy ears. Benedict Cucumberpatch? or something, is pulling double baddie here, both as the fire-breathing Smaug and the darkly beautiful Lord Sauron. And let's not forget our returning veterans: Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, and Sir Christopher Lee, aka the coolest 92 year old alive!
But the film is Richard Armitage's all the way. Armitage portrays the dragon-sick Thorin Oakenshield's descent into madness and ultimate redemption with the charisma and electrifying gravitas of a Shakespearean king. This is a performance for the ages.
Before I talk about what I liked about the movie, I want to (briefly) talk about what I didn't. Yes, I have NO problem admitting the Hobbit films ARE flawed. The dependence on digital imagery, the length, and the rushed or slow pacing all hold The Hobbit back from reaching the great standards of LOTR. But, I personally feel, they don't hold it back from being what it is as well: big, bold, beautiful fantasy made with passion, skill, and love for Tolkien.
Okay, I'll shut up and talk about the film. The centerpiece of the film is a giant battle, so the action needs to deliver. For this guy...heck YES it DID. Peter Jackson has few equals when it comes to epic scope, visual splendour, and spectacle of Kurosawa-esque proportions! In anyone else's hands, a full hour of fantasy battle would get repetitive, but PJ never sacrifices the high-stakes action for compelling storytelling, character or emotion, keeping all but the snootiest viewers enthralled throughout. And the Battle of Five Armies is his best, most restrained action work since that other movie he directed (The Land of the...Rings or something?).
An awe-inspiring Dwarven charge from the gates of Erebor had me shaking and crying like a lunatic (*cough* it was the air conditioning), while the real standout is what might be Peter Jackson's best directed sequence since ever, a stunningly beautiful scene in which Thorin and Azog face off mano-a-mano atop a frozen waterfall. (OH THE FEELS!) And I was MIGHTILY impressed with the CGI. It's by far the best in the series, which makes sense: Weta Digital has had the most time to work on it. Adding to that, Jackson is shooting with hundreds of extras and physical orcs, adding that extra tactile something. Once more the love and dedication put into designing the film's look, costumes, and weapons by the crew shows in every scene.
Plus all the other things that you know you're getting from a JRR Tolkien film: the visual splendour of New Zealand, the timeless Howard Shore score, and that magical transport to Middle Earth. In conclusion, I must fittingly award The Battle of the Five Armies with Five Stars. As a fan of epic cinema and fantasy, and most importantly as a Tolkien fan, BATTLE delivered a bold and beautiful send off for the cinematic world of Middle Earth. It makes me sad that the journey has come to an end. But Middle Earth, on the page and screen, will live in my heart and soul forever! I want to thank all those who poured their time, their effort and their love into giving these movies to us, the fans. We appreciate your work and your love of Tolkien. Hantanyel órenyallo!
And with this, I take my bow. Thank you for reading.
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P.P.S. CHECK OUT THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW FOR WHAT WE CAN EXPECT FROM THE EXTENDED EDITION! Spoiler alert!
In order to understand how I determine my star ratings, know that I base all my reviews of every product on the following criteria, whether I pay full price or purchase on sale or with a discount:
- quality: are the design and construction representative of good or excellent quality?
- appearance: as is appropriate for each product.
- functionality: does the product function as promised?
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A couple of criticisms:
Alfred was meant to be comic relief, I suppose. Boring, cliche-ridden story, could have left him out and the movie would not have suffered. Same with Stephen Fry as the ruler of the city -- boring, cliche-ridden and predictable.
The scenes with Galadriel, Elrond and Christopher Lee came out of nowhere, didn't fit in smoothly with the story line and could have had more explanation or perhaps could have been left out entirely. If you have the dragon and orcs or whatever they are, you don't really need a poorly explained necromancer too. Quite a few baddies in this movie as it is.
Legolas's storyline is wrapped up satisfactorily, he is all set to become part of the Lord of the Rings adventures. Bilbo's storyline is wrapped up too. And you see where the dwarves and men are going next, too. But Thranduil's and Tauriel's stories could have had some hint of what happens next for them. I guess he goes back to his kingdom and she does too, captain of the guards again?