MOVIE REVIEW: The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

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(Dec. 17, 2014) – The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the third and final film of The Hobbit Trilogy based on the J.R.R. Tolkien book of the same name.  Peter Jackson is back in the director’s chair working from a script written by himself, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro.  Jackson also directed the first two films in The Hobbit Trilogy along with the all three of the films in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  The movie stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch and Orlando Bloom. It also features Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee and Hugo Weaving.

Picking up where The Desolation of Smaug left off, we find Bilbo (Freeman), Thorin (Armitage), and the company of dwarves inside Lonely Mountain as the dragon Smaug is on his way to destroy Lake Town.  Meanwhile, Gandalf (McKellen) is being held prisoner in Dol Guldur by Sauron as the battle is about to begin.  Thorin now has control of the mountain again and all of the gold and treasure that comes along with it.  As he searches for the Arkenstone, he becomes obsessed with the gold and is becoming a different person because of his greed.  Word is spreading that the dwarves have taken back the mountain and therefore everyone is wanting their share of the treasure.  As multiple armies descend upon the mountain, an all-out war is about to begin and who will be left standing in the end?

After three long years, we now have the final part of the trilogy all leading up to the huge battle that has been the staple of Jackson’s Tolkien films.  I will start off by saying that if you love The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings movies, then you will probably love this final installment.  As for myself, I am somewhat lukewarm when it comes to this series and The Battle of the Five Armies didn’t really feel like a complete movie, but was still a somewhat satisfying finale nonetheless.  This one picks up right where the last one left off, so it took me a little while find my bearings since it had been a year since I’d last visited middle earth.

The movie begins with a big battle and then transitions into an even bigger battle.  Needless to say, there is a lot of fighting and killing here.  I remember wondering after I saw The Desolation of Smaug, how they were going to make another whole film with the material that was left.  I was somewhat correct in my thinking because not much happens in The Battle of the Five Armies aside from these enormous battle scenes.  At almost two and a half hours, the movie really started to drag on towards the end and would have been better served at under two hours.  That said, the special effects were out of this world and the battle scenes were incredibly lifelike.  Peter Jackson is the master of movie magic and bringing films like this to life.  Now that the trilogy is finally over, I can say that I’m glad I was able to go on the adventure, but at the same time, I’m kind of happy that it’s over.

Grade:  C+

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in theaters on Wednesday, December 17.