It’s over. So pipe down, nerds!
After having left his precious castle, Smaug roams free and is killed. This leaves many happy and feeling safe for once. This also leaves Thorin (Richard Armitage) to go back and take back what was rightfully his in the first place: His throne. Problem is, word spreads pretty quickly that he’s sitting in his high chair and this does not make Thranduil (Lee Pace). So, like any good elf would do, he wages war against Thorin, Bilbo (Martin Freeman), and the rest of their band of trusted misfits; a war which Thorin and co. could definitely lose, but they don’t seem to be turning away from. However though, the war takes a turn for the worse once the Orc’s get involved in the shenanigans, making it harder for this war to be won, but decide who is on who’s side, and why. It’s all so wild and crazy, but at the center of it all is Bilbo, who just wants to get that precious ring of his back to his comfortable, lovely little life in the shire.
So far, the Hobbit trilogy has been an okay one. Maybe that’s just from my standpoint, but for the most part, I haven’t seen myself incredibly upset about there being three Hobbit movies released over a three-year period. Sure, it’s a bit obvious and manipulative of Peter Jackson to stretch a 300-page book, into nearly eight hours of footage, but for me, the movie’s never got so offensively made that they were just downright terrible. They were fine for what they were, and that’s how they’re supposed to be viewed as, I feel. Even if, yes, the Lord of the Rings franchise is a whole lot better in hindsight.
With that being said, it was nice to see Jackson finally end this trilogy on a note that was not only effective, but seemed like it was a return-to-form for his own true-self. The past two movies have been fun, adventurous and chock full of all the medieval exposition nonsense we expect from a movie such as this, but they haven’t really been too exciting to where you could tell Jackson was really just letting loose and having a ball with this material. In a way, one could almost view it as another lame attempt at Jackson just trying to hold onto this name-brand he loves and adores so much.
But regardless whatever the reasons may have been, Jackson brings back all of the excitement he showed in the early part of his ambitious career and it’s what makes the Battle of the Five Armies a good time. Because there’s so much action firing around on all cylinders, with numerous characters coming in and out of perspective, you get the general sense that Jackson is literally taking all the pieces of his puzzle, shuffling them around, and just letting them stick and stay there, for them to do their own thing and see how we respond. And, well, for the most part, it works well; it brings a certain level of tension to a franchise that, quite frankly, needed plenty of it.
However, like with the other films, Jackson still seems to get bogged down in not knowing where to go with his stories, or whom exactly to focus on the most.
What I mean by this is that while this is clearly Bilbo’s story first and foremost, Jackson pays plenty of attention to nearly everyone else around him. Thorin, Gandalf, Legolas, Tauriel, Thranduil, Bard, and even Saruman, all get plenty of development in the first hour or so of this, whereas we don’t really get much of a simple glance or two at Bilbo and just what the hell he’s up to. Sure, I get that Jackson doesn’t want to keep his scope limited and much rather focus on the ensemble at hand, but when you’re film is literally named after the main character and you give him maybe two or three paragraphs for the first hour, it makes me wonder just who the hell you really care about when all is said and done.
That’s not to say when Martin Freeman is given the chance, he isn’t willing to work his arse off whenever Bilbo’s on-screen, because he totally does in that lovably charming, yet sly way of his that always seems to work no matter where he’s at. It’s just that a part of me thinks Jackson didn’t seem to care about any more development for him and instead, just lingered towards the rest of the cast of characters who aren’t nearly as interesting, nor as fun to watch as Bilbo. Everybody’s fine in their roles, but seeing as how this is Bilbo’s own story, it seems only right that we focus on him the most, and allow Freeman to just work his magic. Almost as if he’s in whole other different universe completely, but it doesn’t matter because he’s so much fun to begin with.
Just wish there was more Martin Freeman to go around. I guess you can never get too much of that tiny fella.
But despite all of my moaning and complaining, the movie still entertained the shorts off of me (not literally, sadly). Once again, we see Jackson in a state of mind that shows, despite his story-telling elements being a bit off, he still packs enough punch to make his action excite nearly anyone watching it. It doesn’t matter if you’re invested in the characters or not, if you have a clear idea of who the good guy is, and who is the bad one, then all you need to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy as the fist-a-cuffs come out and everyone starts duking it out. A part of me wishes the other two movies were like this, but I’ll take what I can get, whenever I get it. Even if, you know, it is a bit pleasing to see this franchise done once and for all. Hopefully it will allow for Jackson to go back to his old school roots and try something smaller, and possibly even go back to doing horror.
Let’s just hope he stays the hell away from another Lovely Bones. Please, anything but that.
Consensus: With enough action-packed sequences of swords, sorcery, and stones, the Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies is the kind of Middle Earth movie we wanted from Peter Jackson, except not nearly as epic as the original Lord of the Rings trilogy.
8 / 10 = Matinee!!
Photo’s Credit to: Goggle Images
Very good review. I enjoyed the movie, but did take note of some of its flaws. You were right on about not having enough Bilbo in this one. I didn’t even think about that until you mentioned it. Well said.
Thanks! It had its flaws, but for the most part, ended on a good note.
I was quite disappointed by the movie and thought not enough time was spent on character development and genuine emotion. The stakes didn’t feel high and suddenly all types of monsters were introduced for a very short while. Happy to read you got more out of it than I did.
It moved by quickly so that makes sense. On a pure entertainment-basis though, I think it got the job done. For the most part, that is.
Nice review Dan. I really liked the movie. But since I’m biased, I don’t think my opinion counts for much. I agree 100% with your comment concerning The Lovely Bones. Anything but that indeed.
Please. I’ll take anything else. Thanks!
I’ll be honest, I can’t think of one memorable thing about the last two Hobbit movies. I’m struggling to think of anything from the last one. It’s a shame, but I’ll be glad when it’s all over, and will only watch it out of a sense of duty to be honest!
They aren’t memorable pieces. I’ll give you that. However, there is a part of me that wants to give it credit for just entertaining me.
It did lack the stakes of the original trilogy, but was still a fairly fun “trilogy”. I am not the biggest fan of the first Hobbit though. I don’t hate it, but I definitely didn’t like it.
It was okay, to say the least. Nothing like the original trilogy for sure.
It’s good that the finale did work out for you. I had way too much issue with it unfortunately… for me, it’s the weakest of the series. Great review as always, Dan.
This one didn’t impress me nearly as much as it did you I don’t think, Dan. I personally found this one to be pretty pointless on its own.
It annoys me that a film called The Hobbit has spent more and more time trying to focus on other characters. That said, i can’t wait to see this film when it’s released here about a trillions years after everywhere else.
You seem to like this more than I. A fine film, but nothing more in my book.
Great review, Bro! I like it cause it’s humble, not excessive, not trying to imitate LOTR’s finale. Unfortunately, the first half of the movie is less Hobbit than ever.
I appreciate your incredibly well written and thoughtful review; however, this is one of the first times I have to disagree with you! Disclaimer: I am a massive Tolkien fan and didn’t completely hate the first two.
I was so utterly disappointed by this film. I wanted to leave. I hated every second. I felt like Peter Jackson slapped me in the face. It felt so soulless and empty. I want to write a review to get all of my thoughts out, but the emotions are still too raw (LOL).
I wholeheartedly agree with you regarding Bilbo. Martin Freeman’s Bilbo was fantastic and sorely underused. Shame. One would think that The Hobbit would be about the hobbit.
Again, great review, Dan. I always enjoy reading them!
Great review Dan! I agree. As one of those nerdy fans I wish this trilogy could have matched The Lord of the Rings, but I still found plenty to enjoy in them. And no, you can never have too much Martin Freeman. Next on PJ’s plate I hear is the next Tintin movie. 😀
Although overall most fans seem to agree the LOTR movies are a stronger trilogy, it was fun to return to Middle Earth for “The Hobbit,” and I had an enjoyable time watching “The Battle of the Five Armies.”
If for nothing else, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is wonderful for finally putting to rest the ongoing speculation as to whether making 3 movies was a cash grab. It most certainly was. 😉
[…] The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies (2014) […]
I put off reading your review until I saw the movie and wrote my own review. As always, well done. I think you liked it more than I did. However, I agree, Jackson just doesn’t know who to focus on in this story.
Just saw it tonight. I thought the scene where Bilbo says farewell to the dwarves absolutely charming. The rest, not so much. A lot of Hollywood action these days, like the tripe featured in this movie, is so over the top and silly it reminds me of nothing less than a live action Saturday morning cartoon, and my tolerance for it decreases by the year.
I was not drawn into the “plot” nor could I find much in the many characters to care about. The treatment of Thorin Oakenshield and the arkenstone, no matter how true or untrue to the book it may be (been so long I can’t quite remember) felt like a cheap rehash of the one ring theme to me. I know there are parallels with the novel which I dimly recall, but Jackson drew it all out way too long and the scene in which Thorin comes to his senses was just weird.
Though it all should be fresh in my memory, I remember little more than a series of flashy vignettes featuring every character Mr. Jackson could dream up a way to fit in, with no more purpose than to show each of them in turn “doing something cool,” all wrapped ’round fragments of a story J.R. Tolkien once wrote. This, a fine tale doth not make.
I don’t object when Hollywood strays from its source material, so long as they do a good job. I think, in this case, Mr. Jackson dropped that ball.
That’s my 2 cents! I’ll echo others and say, I’m glad you had a better time with it than I did!
Good points, Dan! So glad you enjoyed this too. Far from a perfect movie, but I agree with what you were saying. Definitely an epic finale.