The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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By Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)



Once in a while, series come along that gain such following that they become cult phenomena. Star Wars did it back in the 1970’s and 1980’s, Indiana Jones did the same. Today we have films such as The Hunger Games trilogy and Harry Potter, among others. But one story that has been around longer than all the above is that of the Lord of the Rings. And the culmination of this three part story, beginning with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and following with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, all told by director Peter Jackson, has now reached theaters with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

Picking up right where we left off, Bilbo (Martin Freeman), Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his not-so-merry band of dwarves have ousted the dragon Smaug from the dwarf stronghold, and all the gold. Smaug decides to take his frustrations out on a nearby town, burning it to the ground. But the heroic Bard (Luke Evans) stands against Smaug, ending the threat. One would think this would be a time to rejoice, but not Thorin, who fears for his people’s wealth of gold and finds a need to protect it within everything in him. But the defeat of Smaug means people will return to the dwarf stronghold, Elves included, to try to get a piece of the treasure they feel is owed to them. Plus there is an army or orcs amassing ready to lay siege to the dwarf stronghold. Should the orcs conquer Thorin, nothing will be left to stop their dominance. Can Galdalf (Ian McKellan), Bilbo and the other dwarves help Throin see the reality he is facing or are the powers of good destined to fail and all hope be lost?

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is one big action fest, CGI extravaganza. From the moment the film opens, we are thrown right back into the heat of things, no pun intended. Smaug still looks plenty real and menacing and the danger level is elevated the moment he begins belching flames from his belly. Then we’re off to where we left Gandalf, who was trapped, and must receive help from some unlikely friends. And once the five armies begin moving closer and closer to each other, a huge battle sequence comparable to the final battle in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King is all but guaranteed. And within that battle are individual battles of Thorin and the White Orc, Filli and Kili against another orc badass, Dwalin and Bilbo, with the assistance of Legtalos against a small orc horde, the Elves and Dwarves working together… just a lot going on and a true feast for the eyes. At times, it still feels as though Jackson has become too reliant on CGI with the Hobbit series, and that’s understandable as everything was basically filmed together. A big kudos must be given to the actors considering how many green screen sets they had to work with.

Speaking of the actors it’s really more of the same as the story continues. But this time around, we see a different side of Thorin. Thorin is going through the “dragon’s curse” as they call it, a pining, a greed for the gold that not even one coin can go missing. This greed delves into Thorin’s soul to where he begins to distrust even his own dwarf brothers who have made this journey with him. Armitage brings out this spiraling madness that Thorin goes through with that which we may see from someone experiencing a psychological diagnosis. And it isn’t until he hits rock bottom that a moment of clarity arises he remembers who he is, what his role is as a leader, and what he must do for his people and for everyone involved in this war. Martin Freeman, like Elijah Wood, brings Bilbo full circle and proves the worth of a Hobbit and that anyone is capable of acts of valor and bravery. We also get to see a couple touching moments between Evangeline Lily as the elf Tauriel and Aidan Turner as Kili. These films generally aren’t about the performances but more about what we are seeing, but you need decent performances to drive the story, and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has that.

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is a solid film that will leave you thoroughly entertained. And the two and a half hour run time doesn’t feel so long when you’re engaged with action sequence after action sequence. And while there is an overuse of CGI again, once in a while making you want to scratch your head like Peter Griffin (a scene with Cate Blanchett comes to mind), we are ok putting some of these moments aside and just enjoying the ride. You’ll be hard pressed to find a film with as much CGI and everything is flawless, especially in a world of fantasy such that the Lord of the Rings storyline takes place. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is a fitting film to end such an epic saga and we can all rest easy knowing J.R.R. Tolkien would be pleased with the work Peter Jackson, cast and crew have done.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


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