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

"The Defining Chapter" Bilbo and Company are forced to engage in a war against an array of combatants and keep the Lonely Mountain from falling into the hands of a rising darkness.

So... That was The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. The final film in Peter Jackson's six-film Middle-Earth saga.This may just be Jackson's most ambitious film yet. It has to work as a standalone film, it has to be the final part of a trilogy, and it has to be the bridge between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings films. Ambitious?Let me state for the record that I'm an enormous fan of the Lord of the Rings films. I consider them to be the best trilogy of all time. However, I didn't really have that same vibe with the Hobbit films. I admit, when I heard they would begin making more Middle-Earth films, I was excited. The thought of returning to Middle-Earth was exhilarating.Then, in December 2012, the first Hobbit film has its release. I was disappointed. It may have been because I didn't know what to expect, but it certainly wasn't what I had hoped it would be. There was too much goofy humor, and it was close to putting me to sleep at times.Come December 2013, The Desolation of Smaug is released. Looking back, I think that this film was intended to split audiences. This film deviated so much from its source material that, at times, I forgot what I was watching. Suddenly, there was a Dwarf-Elf love story, suddenly Thorin's company of Dwarfs split up, suddenly they're fighting Smaug, and then the film ends.Now, here we are in 2014, with the conclusion to the Hobbit films, The Battle of the Five Armies. This film literally starts off where Desolation left off, with Smaug destroying Lake- Town. A breathtaking sequence. Beautiful visuals remind us that Thorin's actions will bring some devastating consequences. However, the sequence loses me a bit by cutting away to the Master of Lake-Town and Alfrid, who I guess were meant to be comic relief, but I ended up wishing they'd die. Not because I didn't like their characters, but because I thought they were so annoying and distracting from the overall experience.After a very Lord of the Rings-esque recovery scene, we meet Bilbo and Thorin's half company of Dwarfs at Erebor, and you can tell Thorin has changed. He's become sick with the aptly named Dragon Sickness, and Bilbo can tell that something isn't quite right about him. Little do they know that Azog (Who is, like, the evilest thing ever.) is marching towards Erebor, as well as the Elvenking 'Mr. Fabulous' Thranduil, is also moving towards Erebor, resulting in a literal clash of the titans.What we end up with is an enormous battle, so large in fact, that it shares title with the film. And now is also when Peter Jackson displays his qualities and faults as a film director. He manages to makes his battles very intimate, despite the chaos that you see on the screen. However, he has shown a particular love for goofy stuff, and after three films, he finally almost got it. There still is goofiness for people who crave that, but for the rest of us it comes off as dumb excuses for cheap laughs.But damn, this film has a lot of CGI. And some of it doesn't even look finished! Some sequences looked like video game cutscenes at best, and at points I had to take off my 3D glasses because I had no idea what was happening. Note to self: Never see a 3D film again.However, all things must come to an end, and in this film, there are so many cases that are left unsolved, almost to the point where it baffled me. We're introduced to Thorin's cousin, Daín Ironfoot, who I'm pretty sure is a CGI version of Billy Connolly. Suddenly, he's gone, and we're left wondering where he went, and we never see what happens to them again. Same thing happens to Beorn, Tauriel, Bard, and *sigh* Alfrid, just to mention a few.That's this film's main problem; It opened too many doors without shutting them. Does that analogy make sense? There's almost no resolution to any of the characters except for Bilbo, masterfully portrayed by Martin Freeman, by the way. For a film series called The Hobbit, he doesn't appear nearly enough. I'm looking at you, Tauriel! Get out of the frame!In conclusion, this is a worthy final installment in The Hobbit Trilogy, and a film I consider to be the best of the three.Pros: Great acting, well-directed battle sequences, Howard Shore (Need I say more?), good visuals.Cons: Lack of resolutions, obnoxious characters, too much CGI, some cheesy moments.All in all a fine holiday film. If you enjoyed the previous Hobbits, you'll like this one.
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