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Review: The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies

The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies
12.15.2014
9 10

Check out Chris Bumbray's video review here!

PLOT: When news of the ultimate destruction of Smaug spreads throughout Middle Earth, Thorin reclaims his crown as the King under the Mountain. However, the many treasures the lonely mountain holds brings together a number of armies to fight a bloody battle for the newly restored fortune.

REVIEW: It seems only yesterday audiences were waiting with bated breath for the final chapter in the LORD OF THE RINGS saga. And yet, there and back again we are waiting for what is most likely – at least for now – the final chapter in Peter Jackson’s magical world of Middle Earth and all its inhabitants. And happily, the end is one that will certainly please fans who continue to root for Bilbo Baggins. Aside from finishing off where THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG ended, this final entry is an extended BATTLE OF FIVE ARMIES and it is thrilling, funny and especially for the fully initiated, bittersweet. As much as LOTR: THE RETURN OF THE KING seemed like an end – a few of them actually – this truly feels like a farewell to arms for the series.

After an opening sequence that is surprisingly short, we find the city of Esgaroth [Lake-town] in fire and ash from the destruction of the beastly Smaug (voiced terrifyingly by Benedict Cumberbatch). Those who survived the attack seek shelter and the promised treasure that Thorin had vowed to give them. However, the King under the Mountain has given in to dragon-sickness and betrayed his friendship and loyalty searching desperately for the legendary Arkenstone hidden within the vast treasure Smaug had so selfishly kept. Of course we know who really has the stone. Yet it is not only the Dwarves and those in the neighboring city that desire the gold. As the title suggests, other armies have assembled to claim the wealth and will gladly turn to war and death to procure it. And so the battle begins, and ends, here.

What has always worked for me with LOTR, as well as THE HOBBIT, is the ability to create a visually stunning piece that ably brings J.R.R. Tolkien’s rich characters to life. With THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES, Peter Jackson has crafted a very succinct work. At around twenty minutes shorter than the previous two films, the third feature in THE HOBBIT is the most exciting chapter. While it doesn’t quite live up to the grandeur of THE RETURN OF THE KING, it is still one hell of a finale. With the battle running for nearly the entire film, there is far more action this time around.

With so many scenes revolving around a massive war, a few moments certainly stand out. When Thorin faces off against a monstrous orc on ice, it may well be one of my favorite scenes in the entire Middle Earth catalogue – it even garnered a ton of applause at my screening. Orlando Bloom and Evangeline Lilly shine in one of the best fight sequences as well. As much as I appreciated Bloom as Legolas in LOTR, with a few years on the actor he gives the role a little more gravitas than before. With nearly non-stop action, this is probably the leanest and most succinct visit to Middle Earth. Still, it manages to offer enough inspired moments of humor and heartbreak in-between.

The growing friendship between Thorin and Bilbo is also incredibly well played here. It helps that both Richard Armitage and Martin Freeman continue to give superb performances. As Thorin descends into certain madness thanks to his obsession with the wealth and treasure, it is Baggins with his growing sympathy for his friend – as well as fear – that grounds the fantasy. In fact, there are beautiful performances all around. And once again Ian McKellen is simply perfection as Gandalf.

In the end the question remains, did THE HOBBIT need to be made into three films? Could this story have been told in the originally planned two films? Of course it could have. As detailed the universe Peter Jackson expanded upon, there is little doubt that releasing three feature films – as they did more appropriately with LOTR – had more to do with box office revenue than craft. Yet with all this, he has still made a trilogy with absolute love and admiration for the source material, and it shows.

For those who have issue with THE HOBBIT being split into three movies, THE BATTLE OF FIVE ARMIES won’t change that. Smaug and his menace are dealt with far too swiftly for a movie like this. And of course, as I was walking out of the screening you could already hear talk about the eagles and why they always show up so late – that conversation always brings a smile to my face. The main qualm I personally have with the film is a minor one, it is the title change. THERE AND BACK AGAIN speaks volumes about this final chapter, and with the final song performed by LOTR’s Billy Boyd, it was a perfect way to describe what had come before. With spectacular visuals and the occasionally fun 3D effects, Jackson has once again given the fans something to savor.

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Source: JoBlo.com

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5:50AM on 12/17/2014
I didn't hate it. But I seem to be in the minority that loved Unexpected Journey and felt they went downhill from there. Just like I'm in the minority who enjoys Phantom Menace and hates the other two
Prequels.
I didn't hate it. But I seem to be in the minority that loved Unexpected Journey and felt they went downhill from there. Just like I'm in the minority who enjoys Phantom Menace and hates the other two
Prequels.
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5:48AM on 12/17/2014
I didn't hate it. But I seem to be in the minority that loved Unexpected Journey and felt they went downhill from there. Just like I'm in the minority who enjoys Phantom Menace and hates the other two
Prequels.
I didn't hate it. But I seem to be in the minority that loved Unexpected Journey and felt they went downhill from there. Just like I'm in the minority who enjoys Phantom Menace and hates the other two
Prequels.
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5:50AM on 12/17/2014
This was def a 7/10 though... Maybe a 6.5 for CGI Dain Ironfoot. Was Bill and too old to physically perform it?
This was def a 7/10 though... Maybe a 6.5 for CGI Dain Ironfoot. Was Bill and too old to physically perform it?
+0
3:02AM on 12/16/2014

Decent but...

It wasn't bad but it never left the "kid zone" for me.
"Official MPAA Rating: PG-13" is really the end of any attempt to make a good movie.
We don't want to loose any money by showing blood or anything gory in the battle of the 5 CGI lego armies... sad.
It wasn't bad but it never left the "kid zone" for me.
"Official MPAA Rating: PG-13" is really the end of any attempt to make a good movie.
We don't want to loose any money by showing blood or anything gory in the battle of the 5 CGI lego armies... sad.
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7:47PM on 12/16/2014
Did you know that the original story was actually intended for children? So why would it be bad for the film to also be kid-friendly? I don't get the complaint here. I know there is a bloodlust among many filmgoers who whine about how all movies should be rated R and feature excessive gore, but how does that fit the source material here? It doesn't. You want excessive gore? Go watch 300 or Braveheart. This is a fantasy story written for children.
Did you know that the original story was actually intended for children? So why would it be bad for the film to also be kid-friendly? I don't get the complaint here. I know there is a bloodlust among many filmgoers who whine about how all movies should be rated R and feature excessive gore, but how does that fit the source material here? It doesn't. You want excessive gore? Go watch 300 or Braveheart. This is a fantasy story written for children.
8:27AM on 12/19/2014
When you see someone impaled and not a drop of blood shawn (is the impalement or decapitations "kid friendly"???), or someone falling 13 stories and landing on his feet (without being a deity/elf/ghost..) I am sorry but I don't consider it "fantasy"... my description would rather be Bugs Bunny and the looney toons..
When you see someone impaled and not a drop of blood shawn (is the impalement or decapitations "kid friendly"???), or someone falling 13 stories and landing on his feet (without being a deity/elf/ghost..) I am sorry but I don't consider it "fantasy"... my description would rather be Bugs Bunny and the looney toons..
9:52AM on 12/15/2014
I saw a screening of 'Five Armies' last night, and I thought it was damn good. I actually liked 'Exodus' a lot better. I thought it had better acting, pacing, and scenery, but 'Five Armies' was still a very good film.
I saw a screening of 'Five Armies' last night, and I thought it was damn good. I actually liked 'Exodus' a lot better. I thought it had better acting, pacing, and scenery, but 'Five Armies' was still a very good film.
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8:01AM on 12/15/2014
Still can't live up to Lord of the Rings for me and it looked like a cartoon in many scenes. Why on earth was Billy Connoly CGI? Weird. Enjoyed myself all the same. I'd give it a 7.5.
Still can't live up to Lord of the Rings for me and it looked like a cartoon in many scenes. Why on earth was Billy Connoly CGI? Weird. Enjoyed myself all the same. I'd give it a 7.5.
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3:11PM on 12/15/2014
Had no idea it was Billy connolly, was too distracted at how badly CGI'ed the character was!
Had no idea it was Billy connolly, was too distracted at how badly CGI'ed the character was!
4:54AM on 12/15/2014
Nine out of ten is all I needed to hear. Can't wait to see it this week.
Nine out of ten is all I needed to hear. Can't wait to see it this week.
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2:32AM on 12/15/2014

Will be the less well-rated movie of the series...

Was 9.4/10 2 weeks ago on imdb, now at 8.2/10 already and still falling. Will probably end at 7.5...
6/10 in my books. The main flaws for me :
The Smaug scenes only last a few minutes
Excet Thorin, there is no character development
The big battle is pretty short and has no epicness compared to the return of the king
Was 9.4/10 2 weeks ago on imdb, now at 8.2/10 already and still falling. Will probably end at 7.5...
6/10 in my books. The main flaws for me :
The Smaug scenes only last a few minutes
Excet Thorin, there is no character development
The big battle is pretty short and has no epicness compared to the return of the king
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+1
2:09AM on 12/15/2014
Many elements of the movie worked for me: Bilbo/Thorin and Bilbo/Gandalf scenes were among the best of the Hobbit series. Yet what took me out of the film so often was the CGI. From CGI Legolas face (done probably to mask the wrinkles) to unnatural lighting (this applies to the previous Hobbits as well), swarms of CGI orcs that neither look real nor threatening as they did in the previous LOTR movies. This is why I appreciated the more personal 1v1 fights towards the end.

Overall, the whole
Many elements of the movie worked for me: Bilbo/Thorin and Bilbo/Gandalf scenes were among the best of the Hobbit series. Yet what took me out of the film so often was the CGI. From CGI Legolas face (done probably to mask the wrinkles) to unnatural lighting (this applies to the previous Hobbits as well), swarms of CGI orcs that neither look real nor threatening as they did in the previous LOTR movies. This is why I appreciated the more personal 1v1 fights towards the end.

Overall, the whole trilogy lacked the polish that LOTR had and dragged on way too long. And so little of Smaug in this really left me underwhelmed. Wish Bilbo was more of the focus TBH.
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1:23AM on 12/15/2014

My question is...

Is it better then the other two, the other two lacked a lot for me. It didn't really feel anything like a lord of rings film, it felt so dragged out and boring as all hell. I really loved the lord of the rings films better. So is this one more fast pace or about the same.
Is it better then the other two, the other two lacked a lot for me. It didn't really feel anything like a lord of rings film, it felt so dragged out and boring as all hell. I really loved the lord of the rings films better. So is this one more fast pace or about the same.
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1:30AM on 12/15/2014
than*
than*
8:36AM on 12/15/2014
I'd say it's about the same. I feel the first was worst. Then for me the third with the second being best. None of them touch LOTR is story (expected), pacing (expected) or effects (baffling).
I'd say it's about the same. I feel the first was worst. Then for me the third with the second being best. None of them touch LOTR is story (expected), pacing (expected) or effects (baffling).
9:53AM on 12/15/2014
Its a touch better than the other 2 films.
Its a touch better than the other 2 films.
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