The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
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Hobbit, The: The Battle of Five Armies (Blu-ray)
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.]]>
- Recruiting the Five Armies
- Completing Middle-earth
- A Six-Part Saga
- A Six-Part Saga
- The Last Goodbye
- Behind-The-Scenes Featurette
- Music Video
- Trailer 1
- Trailer 2
- "Legacy" Trailer
- The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
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The Battle of the Five Armies again takes a lot of liberty in the adaptation of the book to the screen. Which - once again - might upset the story purists but that has been done well. The story-line wraps up nicely and by the end of the 2 hours and 43 minutes you can roll right on through watching all the Lord of the Rings movies.
But, there is also a little bit of the problem that I had with this movie. There clearly has been the idea with the studios to outdo the Lord of the Ring in scale. Which makes no real sense. The Lord of the Rings is the build-up to where the world goes to war. But somehow, the war that we get in The Battle of the Five Armies features armies that look larger than even the battle at Gondor, and they dwarf the armies of the Orcs and the Uruks for Helm's Deep in The Two Towers.
And it does look awesome once again, but because of this, I would advise for a week or so between to sit-throughs of both trilogy; simply not to compare them to each other in too much detail.
Just like the book, this final part of the trilogy is far less a fantasy movie but rather a war movie. It is a great movie, but - just like the book (again) - it feels a bit like an sequel-story building upon the fantasy story that covers the first two movies. I think Peter Jackson did very well to have ended the 'Desolation of Smaug' where it did, and bring the rest of that part of the book to this last movie to not make it a huge difference in movie styles.
The acting is great again, the action sequences are beautifully filmed, and there is again a lot of stunning scenery to be enjoyed. The extra 20 minutes exists mainly of a lot of extra - fantastic - gorey shots during the war. You want to know the 10 best ways to kill an Orc? Well, this is the movie for you.
Enjoy this one as the conclusion of The Hobbit trilogy.
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.
P.S. Remember that the like/dislike buttons are not for saying whether or not you disagreed with the reviewer, but for whether the review was helpful in your decision to purchase the film. If this (completely subjective) review was helpful to you, please give it a like. Cheers!
P.P.S. CHECK OUT THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW FOR WHAT WE CAN EXPECT FROM THE EXTENDED EDITION! Spoiler alert!