The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies: An End to an Adventure
Despite its length, bombast and unnecessary love triangles I thoroughly enjoyed The Hobbit trilogy. It most certainly kept the New Zealand film industry alive and featured a never-ending barrage of creativity (battering ram ogres!). It was a ballsy move when director Peter Jackson turned one book into three movies. The trilogy paid off as the story of a Hobbit named Bilbo, a wizard named Gandalf and a plethora of dwarves has pulled in $2,698,072,440 (as of 01/05/14) worldwide.
I am happy the one book was split into three films. Anytime you have a mad genius like Peter Jackson behind the camera it is a treat. His adherence to amazing visual effects have given us game changers like Gollum and now Smaug the dragon. I feel bad for any film currently featuring a dragon because it will always be compared to Mr. Smaug.
The films could have been edited down as there were unnecessary love triangles, monologues and rabbit riding. I still don’t understand why there is an elf/elf/dwarf love triangle and it sucks that a great actor like James Nesbitt (Bloody Sunday) was given nothing to do. I only remember a handful of the dwarves names and poor Evangeline Lilly was stuck swooning for a dwarf in between fight scenes. Instead of featuring 30 minutes of Ryan Gage’s annoying Lake Town character Alfrid why not give the dwarves something to do?
The Battle of the Five Armies revolves around the battle for Smaug’s treasure in the Lonely Mountain. Thorin Oakenshield’s gold lust and recent passing of a large flying creature set off a battle for middle earth that involves a predictable number of armies. Elves, dwarves and humans have their hands full as copious evil converges on them for a bit of the ultra violence. The final hour features a whole lot of carnage and Peter Jackson channels his Dead Alive self and brings the awesome. You will see death via strategic Legola’s arrow, axe decapitation and antler impaling.
Due to the protracted shooting schedule Jackson and his special effects outfit Weta were able to fine tune some amazing visuals. For instance, they created an Ogre who acts as a sprinting battering ram. The ogre has a concrete wedge on his head and uses it to full concussive effect. My favorite moment of the film is a battle royale between the evil Nazgul and Gandalf, Elrond (Hugo Weaving), Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), and Saruman (Christopher Lee). The fight is thrilling to watch as some of the oldest and most powerful people on the planet swing swords at each other.
I finally understand why actor Richard Armitage spent a year in dwarf makeup after watching Five Armies. He glowers, monologues and has a helluva battle with the jerky Azog. Martin Freeman is great as always and he imbues an earthiness to the fantasy elements. His character Bilbo was lost a bit in The Desolation of Smaug. Aside from his scene with Smaug, he took a backseat to the barrel and lake town shenanigans. In the Five Armies Freeman’s scenes with Armitage are wonderful and finally resemble some of the emotional beats from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is a fitting way to end the trilogy. It is a bombastic spectacle that features neat character arcs and wonderful violence. I’m hoping that this isn’t the end of Middle Earth. I’d love Jackson to come back and direct The Silmarillion or a new adventure.
What did you think about the film?