Dave’s 3-Word Review:
A satisfying conclusion.
I finally was able to see The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies just in time for the year’s end. I wanted to see it to see if it would make best picture in my end-of-the-year awards…and the answer to that is a difficult one. There were so many great films that came out this year, but saying that one of them was the best movie of the year…almost feels wrong for every single film. No movie is perfect, but what it comes down to – is The Hobbit was very good in everything behind and in front of the screen. Not perfect, but really superb, so I have to give this the medal of best picture (which I will make an awards post next).
So what is this film about? It’s really just a continuation of what we’ve already seen before, since the last film ended on a cliffhanger. Clearly Desolation of Smaug was about the dragon, which was spoken about in all three films – but Smaug isn’t the focus of the third…so what is? What are these five armies and why are they battling? Essentially, it’s all because Thorin is at the Lonely Mountain being Ebeneezer Scrooge…unwilling to share the treasure to help the nearby city regain what they’ve lost. So men and elves alike are willing to go to war to claim what’s rightfully theirs…meanwhile orcs show up with no other plan than to kill everyone in sight…it’s just a warzone, people.
Think of it this way, these films typically mirror the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but the ring of power isn’t the focus, but rather just…an element they like to tease you with. Instead, our object mirroring the ring is the “Arkenstone”, and Thorin is basically your Golem character who will do anything to obtain it – and the power it holds…which makes him a very dangerous dwarf.
This is a very exciting and beautiful film. The action is intense and original, just like it was last time. In the second movie, you could sort of tell that the film was split up into really long and entertaining segments, while this film was more or less set up as one very long, complicated scene in the same city the whole time. That’s one of the issues. These Middle Earth films make a name out of themselves when it comes to adventure…there’s no films like them in that aspect – as they tour the beauties of New Zealand. It was still very pretty this time around, but it all took place in one place – and I think that’s because of the split between part one and part two. I wanted to see more of Middle Earth with more adventure. But alas…we just got double the action.
As with more action, the more problems you have with CGI. The CGI looked really impressive for the most part, but there were some action shots that looked weirdly fake when it came to detail and animation in others. The great thing about that, however, is that you don’t really mind because so much is happening everywhere else…it’s massive.
I usually have problems with films split into two…or three I guess you could say with The Hobbit. Clearly, you are going to have issues with timing, because what you have here is essentially 7.5 hours of three movie adaptations based off of a single book. Yes, they added things. Characters that weren’t there before, scenarios that either weren’t there at all, or at least extended upon. That’s all true, but as long as they have the general idea and feeling of what the author was going for…I’m completely okay with the changes.
The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies was a movie that did a great job in every aspect you could think of as far as filmmaking goes. Even if it’s not your favorite movie, you have to at least agree that a lot of hard work was put into making the film feel complete, independent, and one that comes full circle.
No matter where you go with it, this series will never be The Lord of the Rings. It gradually got better for what it was and for different reasons, but it never matched the epicness of the other Middle Earth series…but good try. Its ambition for the action may have over-exceeded the reasonable CGI capabilities too…there were moments here and there were you might think…okay that was fake.