There and back again


DIRECTED BY: Peter Jackson
WRITTEN BY: Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens & Guillermo Del Toro
STARRING: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Luke Evans, Lee Pace, Evangeline Lilly, Benedict Cumberbatch, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, Manu Bennett, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Aiden Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Graham McTavish, Billy Connolly, Stephen Fry, Sylvestor McCoy & Ian Holm

SYNOPSIS: With Smaug’s eyes set on Lake-Town, Bilbo and company enter their final chapter forced into a war that threatens the survival of Middle Earth.


FULL REVIEW: CONTAINS SPOILERS


Bits I Loved

  • Despite the stretched out trilogy, the story is quite better than expected. Just the right amount of action and drama to bring this narrative to its conclusion.
  • The characters have developed so much that we feel for them and want to see their stories end. Even tons of nostalgic feelings for LotR characters. Loved Thranduil and Dain Ironfoot, but felt Bard was a bit one-dimensional (most likely to keep focus on Bilbo and co.) Loved that they kept the deaths of Thorin, Fili and Kili despite the other changes.
  • The fight scenes were balletic in nature as per usual in Jackson‘s films. Particular enjoyment from the Saruman, Elrond and Galadriel scene as we get to see these LotR alumni kick some major ass. Also any battle scene with Legolas or Thranduil was perfection.
  • The visuals, like any Jackson film, were aesthetically pleasing. [see LoTR for reference]
  • The dragon was phenomenal, in fact one of the best I have ever seen.
  • The cast. No need to say more.
  • The soundtrack by Howard Shore, which certainly does not get enough credit, giving a nostalgic, spine-tingling feeling.

Bits I Hated

  • The premise is still a sore spot for me. Splitting one book into three movies? A bit of a stretch. HOWEVER, upon seeing this film I realized that with the additions made to this adaptation that the trilogy was certainly the better option to portray this narrative with no major holes in the original release [again see LoTR for reference]. Plus wouldn’t everyone prefer a Hobbit trilogy instead of a lone Hobbit film? Just like Harry Potter, it is a series that is awful to see end.
  • The increased CGI on battle scenes in comparison to LoTR is a bit disappointing. What happened to the large cast, heavy costume battle royales of old?

Review

First and foremost I would like to point out that I’m incredibly biased towards Jackson’s Tolkien films given my love of Lord of the Rings and despite the shortcomings of the first two Hobbit films, I still believed that Peter Jackson could strike gold yet again. When this film was changed from There and Back Again to The Battle of the Five Armies, I became hesitant about the finale of the trilogy, but thankfully I was wrong.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (BotFA) is a visually-stunning, action-packed and tear-jerking finale to the action adventure trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. Peter Jackson brings us a Lord of the Rings-esque final film, unlike the previous two Hobbit films, with style, grace and aesthetics potentially better than those of the original release of Return of the King. Although the premise diverted from the book’s content by adding other characters and changing the focus of the narrative, the overall story in the end was better suited for a big screen adaptation that acted as not only the finale of the Hobbit trilogy, but the end of the Jackson era of Tolkien films.

Unfortunately I was still disappointed with the CGI-laden fight scenes, particularly the use of CGI orcs, goblins and other humanoid creatures rather than full-scale, large cast fight scenes like Lord of the Rings. However, outside of that criticism there is not much else negative to say about this film. Even with the CGI-induced Middle Earth, we are given one of the more realistic representations of a dragon in any film. Smaug is unbelievable, and that creation alone is Oscar worthy. The cast is phenomenal, I mean talk about star-studded. I found that some characters were a bit one-dimensional as an attempt to help keep Bilbo and company as the focus of the film, but Thranduil stole every scene he was in. I would love to see Peter Jackson do a standalone film surrounding the painful backstory of the king of Mirkwood.

In the end The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is more than the finale of the Hobbit trilogy, but the end of Peter Jackson’s era of Tolkien films bringing a sense of nostalgia to fans of any age sad to see their favourite characters and the visually stunning Middle Earth for the last time.


Oscar Nominations?

  • Best Editing (Darkhorse)
  • Best Visual Effects (Likely)
  • Best Costume Design (Likely)
  • Best Makeup & Hairstyling (Darkhorse)
  • Best Sound Mixing (Darkhorse)
  • Best Original Score (Darkhorse)

Verdict

1 = Fair 2 = Good 3 = Very Good 4 = Excellent

★★☆☆ – Premise

★★★☆ – Story

★★★☆ – Characters

★★★☆ – Visual Effects

★★★☆ – Dialogue

★★★★ – Visuals

★★★★ – Soundtrack


★★★★★★★★☆☆  8/10 – Recommend


What did you think of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies? Let me know in the comments!

One thought on “REVIEW: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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