For adrenaline jockeys who only seek action, very little dialogue and zero storyline bogging down your movies, this one’s for you!
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies wraps up J. R. R. Tolkein’s original bedtime story which he told his children eons ago… the tale that was extended into not one, not two, but three feature films.
Knowing the backstory of the previous two Hobbit movies (as well as the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy) is unnecessary when watching this movie, but helpful for enjoying the entire experience.
As the movie opens in this final chapter of the storyline, there’s absolutely ZERO summary of past events. In fact, the storytelling mechanics are abrupt and definitely lacking in this wrap-up movie. It took me a few moments trying to remember what happened in the last Hobbit movie (in fact, I had to rewatch it on HBO after seeing this flick before writing this review).
Smaug the Great has finally been unleashed, that means things are really heating up at Laketown. Once the dragon has been dealt with (a little too quickly, in my opinion), the white elephant in the room is figuring out how to disperse all the treasure within The Lonely Mountain. Before that can happen, though, the Battle of the Five Armies breaks out. Which is a fun, free-for-all melee.
At the conclusion, the movie never really resolves the Heart of the Mountain issue, which is unheard of, since Peter Jackson loves to wrap up so many odds and ends, he usually has multiple scenes that could be substituted for actual endings. However, he does a really good job prepping the audience for the events of The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, which takes place, chronologically, after the Hobbit trilogy.
Having read many of Tolkein’s books, there’s TONS of nitpicky moments to break down and point out, the biggest of which is featuring an unnecessary love triangle tacked onto yet another trilogy. Why Jackson feels this is romance is necessary is beyond me… for a second time. Clearly it was forced (not happening in the novel, at all) and took away from the main focus of the movie: money corrupts all good intentions. In fact, the dragon sickness that corrupted Thorin was pretty cool, although I don’t remember that in the book, either.
– Smaug feels wasted, only used in bits of the three movies.
– Gandalf does no magic in this movie. How is that? He’s a wizard!
– Were-worms? Never saw that one coming.
– So much action! It’s like a battleground ballet.
– Saruman does some impressive ghost fighting.
– Orlando Bloom shines in the spotlight, even though he’s not featured in the book.
– This is the shortest of all Tolkein movies by Jackson. That is a good ting.
For the first time in either trilogy, Battle features the all-powerful Galadriel, showing off her true powers, which is quite impressive. Cate Blanchette’s portrayal is still my favorite from both of the trilogies. She exudes power, style and grace, stealing every scene she’s in.
While much of the filler material inserted into the three Hobbit movies by Jackson, Del Toro, et al. feels unnecessary, I did enjoy watching each one. Unfortunately, this one feels the most unbalanced of them all.
By the looks of Ian McKellan and Christopher Lee, they most likely won’t be appearing in the next Tolkein tale, so that begs the question: Which Tolkein book will be adapted next? His name has been a license to print money for Peter Jackson and his Weta crew for a long time, now. I’d love to see The Silmarillion or even The Book of Lost Tales to hit the big screen, but I would especially enjoy seeing The Adventures of Tom Bombadill come alive on the big screen!