The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

"Very Good"

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Review


Peter Jackson's expanded take on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit comes to a conclusion in a battle epic packed with enormous action sequences that oddly distract attention from the much more engaging central plotline. By the time it thunders to its satisfying conclusion after nearly two and a half hours, there's a sense of balance restored, providing some powerfully emotional moments along with the thrills. But there's a lot of chaotic mayhem to get through first.

The action picks up immediately, as the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) roars into Laketown causing further desolation before being stopped by the heroic Bard (Luke Evans), who then leads the survivors back to their long-abandoned city in the mountains. Meanwhile, dwarf king Thorin (Richard Armitage) has reclaimed his throne and Smaug's enormous stash of gold, which consumes his soul with greed. But he abandons his promises to Bard and the elf leader Thranduil (Lee Pace), who assembles the elf army against him. So Thorin calls in a dwarf battalion to take them on. Meanwhile, the hobbit Bilbo (Martin Freeman) is trying to diffuse the situation and snap Thorin out of his avaricious funk. And wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) discovers that two waves of ruthless orcs are descending on Thorin.

All of this strategising and squaring-off feels fragmented and uneven, as Jackson cuts back and forth between the sprawling ensemble cast while trying to build momentum toward the earth-rattling collision of these five armies. Thankfully, there's also a lot of interpersonal stuff going on to hold the interest. Elf warrior Legolas (Orlando Bloom) is still caught up in a romantic triangle with his intended Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and her forbidden love, the unusually hot dwarf Kili (Aidan Turner). And there's some comic relief from Alfrid (Ryan Gage), a weaselly human who worms his way into Bard's inner circle for some inexplicable reason. Best of all is the push and pull between Bilbo and Thorin, which is very nicely played by Freeman and Armitage.

By including so much material from Tolkien's appendices and indices, Jackson almost loses track of Bilbo's central story, which is of course the real heart of the film. Where The Lord of the Rings maintained a fine focus on Frodo's epic journey, this trilogy feels like it's straining to ramp everything up while kind of missing the point that Bilbo's true odyssey is an internal one. So all of the big war sequences feel rather superfluous, even though they're rendered with eye-catchingly detailed digital expertise. But when the film focusses on Bilbo, it also has a resonance and emotional kick that carry us along to a pleasing finale that brings the two trilogies together with moments that are electrifying, scary and sometimes genuinely heartbreaking.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Trailer



The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Facts and Figures

Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy

In Theaters: Wednesday 17th December 2014

Distributed by: Warner Bros.

Production compaines: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), WingNut Films, New Line Cinema

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner

Starring: as Bilbo Baggins, as Gandalf, as Thorin Oakenshield, as Kili, as Legolas, as Bain, as Fili, as Thranduil, as The Necromancer, as Bard, as Galadriel, as Frodo, as Elrond, as Azog, as Saruman, as Dain, as Lindir, as Old Bilbo, as Bofur, as Dwalin, Conan Stevens as Bolg, as Radagast, as Balin, as Beorn, as Gloin, as Ori, as Nori, William Kircher as Bifur, as Bombur, as Dori, as Ori, as Alfrid, Robin Kerr as Elros, as Tauriel

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