Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies – review

The third chapter of The Hobbit trilogy, The Battle of the Five Armies, continues the adventure after the events of The Desolation of Smaug.  If you are a fan of epic battles scenes then this movie will be great for you; if you are expecting a Hobbit movie, it falls short. This chapter is nothing that hasn’t been done better in films like Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

The dragon, Smaug, has gone to Laketown to speak in volumes of napalm to the villagers.  The dwarves have taken refuge in the city of Erebor in the Lonely Mountain. They find that they are now sitting on a wealth of gold and treasures. Armies of Orcs and Goblins are on their way and groups of elves, men, and dwarves all want a piece of the dragon hoard.

The movie has a few good things working to its advantage. The acting is decent and the monster designs are pretty nightmarish. Guillermo del Toro’s influence is felt in this chapter as the Orcs have terrifying glowing eyes and there are trolls with limbs removed and replaced with weapons as if they were pulled out of a Hellraiser film.

The biggest problem with this film is that it is called The Hobbit and Bilbo Baggins plays a minor character in his own story. About 90% of this film is about the Humans, Dwarves, Elves, and long battle scenes among them. There are so many padded scenes that this movie could be used as shipping material.  Some of the battle scenes are fun to watch but, more often that not, it comes off like a video game cut scene.

This trilogy is the biggest insult to fans of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It takes a story that could have easily made a single great film and bloats it into three mediocre movies. The characters that are interesting, like Bilbo and Smaug, barely get as much screen time as Thorin or the more annoying Wormtongue stand-in, Alfrid. The attention to detail is not even present in these films. Legolas’s eye color changes between scenes in the films. Director Peter Jackson even admitted they forgot to put in his colored contacts several times.

This movie is worth seeing if you are a big fan of the series. If you are not than you will find other versions of this story that won’t take 9 hours to tell. The effects are fairly laughable and the fan-service by adding in characters like Legolas and the new character of Tauriel are just too obviously filler material.  

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