Film Review: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

One Last Time…?

Here we are at last. After 726 minutes of Lord of the Rings (I’m including the extended Blu-Ray editions as i recently watched them all) and 343 minutes of The Hobbit so far (once again, the extended editions) we have the final installment of our journey through middle-earth. What a ride it has been. Shall we do it one last time?

The Hobbit series so far hasn’t at all gripped me in ways that LOTR did. I found An Unexpected Journey way too long, yet a solid start, and although The Desolation of Smaug was a much improved addition to the Middle Earth saga, it still stood in the shadow of all films within the LOTR trilogy. Now we have The Battle of Five Armies, a film that starts with a superb opening scene following on from the conclusion of the previous film, in which the monstrous Smaug descends upon Laketown with death, and death in huge numbers, in mind. Ironically, the epicness and awe-inspiring first section of the film is never really surpassed in the two hours that followed.

In terms of the good, the first is that the film is much shorter than the previous offerings resulting in a better pace as well as eradicating the feeling that the story was dragging on, something which i had felt particularly in the first film. Secondly, Richard Armitage is fantastic as Thorin, and in my view stole the show portraying a character battling with his inner demons in a way not too dissimilar from the effects of the one ring, although this inadvertently results in Freeman’s perfect portrayal of Bilbo almost being sidelined. Other positive points include the way in which Christopher Lee, aged 92, can still kick shadowy butt, and the way in which the film nicely rounds off the middle-earth saga by leading the audience straight into The Fellowship of the Ring.

Now for the bad. For some reason, the makers of The Hobbit Trilogy have gone CGI crazy, particularly within this last installment, and for me the sheer amount of reliance on such sadly reduces the feeling of epicness i should have been feeling. CGI orcs? Not needed. The orcs in LOTR were brilliant. Why change that? CGI Dain? WHY? You could have easily just asked for Billy Connolly to be in the film directly, yet instead, Mr Jackson or whoever believes his voice is all that is needed and a computer generated version is much better. No. The over-use of CGI also results in the film looking like a video game in some occasions, with some scenes looking like they have been lifted from last years’ Shadow of Mordor. Other minor problems included Orlando Bloom looking very scary as a post-plastic surgery looking Legolas, some cheesy love-in moments, and an overall sense of repetitiveness during the titular battle.

In conclusion, The Battle of the Five Armies has rounded off the middle-earth saga in a solid, yet strangely unspectacular fashion, featuring a brilliant opening scene as well as a stand-out performance from Armitage, weakened by an over-reliance on CGI and a feeling of repetitiveness throughout the battle sequences. Farewell Middle-Earth. It’s been emotional.

Overall Score: 7/10

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Posted on 01/01/2015, in Film & TV, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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