The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Review

For a sixth and final time, audiences are invited to travel to Middle Earth with director Peter Jackson. Staring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly and Luke Evans, The Battle of the Five Armies is the last of the Hobbit trilogy and ends the adventure of Bilbo Baggins and his company of dwarves. Watch the trailer after the jump and then read my review.

This movie is 100 per cent for the fans. As a stand alone film, it’s garbage. There isn’t a story, but instead a series of increasingly large and absurd battles with some talking in between. And over the course of three films, the CGI on the orcs hasn’t gotten any better, making it hard to watch at times.

Essentially, it is like watching someone else play a video game.

But people like that and I respect that. I’ve never been the biggest fan of the Lord of the Rings but I understand why the original trilogy was so important. The Hobbit trilogy though has always felt like a giant cash in, especially when it was announced it would go from two to three movies.

The main villain of the Hobbit book is Smaug the dragon. But in this trilogy, in order to extend it, the villain was Azog, a random orc who was poorly CGI’d.

The battle with Smaug in the second movie is probably my favourite scene from the trilogy, because the dragon was really well done. In this movie, it’s not a spoiler to say, Smaug is killed really quickly (before the subtitle is even shown) and then the movie goes back to Azog versus everybody else.

With the whole movie being one giant war at the base of the mountain, The Battle of The Five Armies doesn’t feel like a LOTR movie, but a generic action movie. There is no sense of adventure and no sense of discovery which the other films are known for. This one is all about computer graphics killing computer graphics in the craziest ways Jackson could imagine. Some are funny but there are too many for any to be memorable. It’s really exhausting (luckily this is the shortest movie of the six, clocking in at just over two hours).

The one redeeming thing in The Battle of the Five Armies is Richard Armitage’s performance as Thorin Oakenshield. Now the King of the mountain, Thorin is corrupted by greed from the priceless gold he owns. Armitage has been good throughout the entire series, but here he gets to really act. He does a great job playing the evil Thorin and this movie gives him a pretty good arc of redemption that I enjoyed.

Besides Armitage, the other actors don’t really get enough screen time to do much. And their characters don’t get any kind of arc to really grow or change with. Freeman and McKellen are mostly in the background, almost acting as commentators on the action, helping the audience keep track of where everyone is.

Pace, Bloom and Evans all lead armies and get to do some cool killing, but again, don’t get many lines and don’t have very large parts. The movie continues with the romance between Lilly’s Tauriel and the dwarf Kili (Aidan Turner) and it still isn’t very believable. But it at least it gives another dwarf something to do, as the rest of the dwarf company is mostly just shown killing orcs.

It’s hard to review a movie like this. On it’s own, it is terrible. But fans of the series will undoubtedly like it and that’s what matters. Jackson has built a film franchise of unprecedented scale and it is an impressive feat, even if the better movies came out more than 10 years ago.

This is a pretty weak end for a great franchise, but it is the end nothingness and worth seeing just for that.

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