The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies – Review

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Photo Courtesy New Line

In what has been promised to be the last installment of this massive, epic series (unless they decide to do a prequel of the prequel), Martin Freeman is back as Bilbo Baggins, and war is brewing (as if you didn’t see that coming).

After exiling the evil dragon Smaug (voice by Benedict Cumberbatch) from Lonely Mountain, the Dwarves are celebrating the retaking of their homeland, and all of the gold within it.  Of course, where there’s alot of gold, you will also find many people who want to get their taste of it.

Before you can say, “The Precious”, the Dwarves find themselves wrapped up in a battle with the Elves, the people of Laketown, the Orcs and something altogether more scary and dangerous.

I hope you weren’t looking for anything deeper, because The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies has a plot that consists of a fight scene, then another fight scene, then another fight scene, then another fight scene and how about one more fight scene!  Even Bilbo Baggins is showing he has a sword, and he knows how to swing it!

Writer/director Peter Jackson again proves this new trilogy was all about what he could accomplish visually more than it was about telling a story.  He succeeds in exciting our eyes, but not our hearts and minds.

The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies is a massive spectacle with one awesome CGI moment after another.  Smaug’s attack on Laketown is the best scene in the movie as we watch the dragon swooping down and delivering fire and devastation to the people he feels betrayed him.  The devilish look in his eyes is stunning.

Then, we witness breathtaking, massive battles featuring thousands of soldiers attacking each other and some of the most imaginative creatures ever put on a screen.  It looks cool, but it’s all one dimensional.

Richard Armitage, as Thorin, is the only actor faced with the challenge of compelling us emotionally.  He is very good as we watch the Dwarf King struggling with some strange sickness that makes him obsess over the gold in Lonely Mountain and betray every principle he knows to be right and true.  We feel his inner conflict vividly as Armitage changes the character’s personality in each scene, showing a side of this honorable leader we never knew could exist.  Freeman gets one good scene to show us his abilities, but everyone else only needed some sword training for this movie.  No acting school experience necessary!

Sadly, The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies is a movie that can’t stand on its own.  You have to have seen the previous two Hobbit films to understand what is happening here as the audience is dropped into the middle of the action, literally watching the movie pick up from the last scene of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Also, Jackson and his co-writing team (Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and Fran Walsh) toss in some hokey, unnecessary modern contrivances to appeal to some sort of audience that would never be all that interested in The Hobbit.  Love stories have no place in Middle-earth!

We had a fun ride through the trilogy, but I don’t want to do it again.  I instantly regret giving anyone the idea of creating a prequel to this prequel.

2_5waffles_sml2 ½ Waffles (Out of 4)

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

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