‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’: a beautiful yet lacking film

By Jessica Curtis

The final installment of Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” trilogy has come to a highly anticipated end. Our beloved J.R.R. Tolkien characters have concluded their long journey to the Lonely Mountain, but are forced to face a much more treacherous foe than a dragon once inside. The company’s lust for gold proves too strong, and Bilbo Baggins must decide whether he is going to follow the dwarves into battle or leave his friends to do the right thing.

The film is swarming with orcs, elves, dwarves and countless other mythical beings that make up the Five Armies, and is visually spectacular to watch. However, when all is said and done, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” falls just short of following in the footsteps of its predecessors.

The film begins immediately where it left off, and the audience is thrown straight into dragon fire and the burning Lake Town being destroyed. Audiences who have not refreshed their memories of the previous movie may find this opening a bit startling.

While Smaug and the other CGI effects are brilliant on the big screen, the story drags. As someone who read the novel and is an avid fan of the trilogy, I was surprised that the conclusion was unable to draw me in like the others. The film follows the novel a bit more closely than the first two installments of the trilogy, but lacked the energy that made the previous films exciting. Many scenes felt unnecessary, and even the grand battle is a bit comical.

The primary savior of the film is Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage). The character provides a great performance and completely captures this tortured character. Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins is always enjoyable to watch. However, he was hardly present as compared to his usual presence throughout the other two films.

Smaug the dragon, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, is spectacular to watch as well. Unfortunately, Smaug also has too short of a screen time.

All roles in general were played nicely, but there is hardly any plot development amongst characters outside of Bilbo and a couple of the dwarves. The armies seem to be thrusted upon the movie rather than gradually being brought into focus. With the little development for most of the characters, it is easy to overlook their misfortunes and lack sympathy for those that were unsuccessful in the end.

The final installment of “The Hobbit” tied together the loose ends of the first two films, but left me wishing for more. The action is short lived in the novel as well. The film ignored one of the key ingredients that allow “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” to work. The visually spectacular battle scenes and CGI effects are expected in these films, and called for more in the last installment.

Overall, I would give “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” a fine review. The film itself was beautiful to watch, but needed more from the promised battle between the men, orcs, elves and dwarves. I was disappointed how disconnected I felt from the film compared to the others, but it is worth watching if you are a Tolkien fan. I would not recommend spending the extra money on the added 3-D effect, because it can be disorientating. But like most of Jackson’s films, the film is meant to be watched on the big screen.

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images.

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is in theaters now.

Courtesy Warner Bros.

‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’

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