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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies—Movie Review

Hobbit 3 - Luke Evans-BardWe deserve a movie as good as this, having invested so many
hours in the first two parts of Peter Jackson’s distended Hobbit trilogy. After a deadly beginning and a more tolerable
followup, the final film delivers the goods.

Martin Freeman, Ken Stott-The HobbitThe movie opens with the fearsome, fire-breathing dragon
Smaug wreaking havoc on Lake-town, and the action seldom flags in the more than
two hours that follow. There are battle scenes galore: some battle scenes even
have battle scenes within them! The final portion of the film features some of
the most exciting hand-to-hand combat I’ve ever seen portrayed onscreen—on a
crumbling stone bridge, a lake of ice about to crack open, and other perilous
locations. Jackson even brings forth Harryhausen-like monsters called Orcs who
enter into the fray along with the legions of elves, dwarves, and bats. The
screenwriters (Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro)
have let their imaginations run free, knowing that the geniuses at Jackson’s
WETA workshop can realize anything they dream up.

Gandalf-Ian McKellen

What elevates the proceedings above mere mayhem is the fate
of its leading characters, including Prince Thorin (Richard Armitage), a
once-noble figure who has lost his head and become a greedy, bloodthirsty
leader…the ever-bemused Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who participates in the
quest for Lonely Mountain but tries to bring sanity and perspective to the proceedings…and
the heroic Bard the Bowman of Lake-town (the charismatic Luke Evans), who is
determined to protect his family as well as his fellow villagers from annihilation.
Other familiar characters populate the journey, including Gandalf (Ian
McKellen), Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Elrond (Hugo
Weaving), and, ever so briefly, Saruman (Christopher Lee).

I have never been swept up by this story, but ultimately, The Battle of the Five Armies offers
resolution, which is welcome and well-earned. It is satisfying to see any saga
come to a proper conclusion, although in this case it inspires a sense of
relief as well. It’s too bad Peter Jackson and his collaborators insisted on
swelling J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel into three lengthy films, but at least they’ve
left us on a high note.  

6 comments

  1. Tom Cecil says:

    What a great film and a wonderful conclusion for the last Middle Earth !

  2. Chazz says:

    The LOTR trilogy is one of the all time great film trilogies, The Hobbit trilogy? Just not in the same league sadly IMHO.
    Leonard I just wanted to say I’m really sorry to see that this will be the last year of your annual movie guide in print, Is there any chance that you’ll still be putting out your classics movie guide every five years or so? I really do hope we’ll be seeing some other book from you on the history of movies and animation even if it isn’t a guide,
    Anyways I just wanted to say thank you for the outstanding job that you’ve been doing for so many decades, And happy holidays to you and yours.

  3. Norm says:

    After struggling to watch the LOTHR trilogy iI can honestly say Peter Jackson is a disturebed individual. His films are "crack"for the hopelessly addicted..Just can’t see wasting another 3 hours of my life on this…I really hope the dragons win…

  4. Lotte says:

    Just came back from seeing the movie. Awesome way to end the series. I can’t wait for the bluray to come out, especially the extended editions, which I prefer to the theatrical versions on the Hobbit movies.

  5. Jason says:

    THAT is a relief indeed 🙂

  6. Jeri says:

    Although technically Thorin Oakenshield is a prince, he is never referred to as such in any of the Tolkien literature. He became King in exile after the dwarves were driven from Erebor and his father was missing and presumed dead.

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