The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is a 2014 epic fantasy adventure film, directed by Peter Jackson and written by Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro. It is the third and final film in the three-part adaptation, and it brings back the cast of Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ken Stott, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, James Nesbitt and more that I haven't listed. The film received mixed reviews from critics, but is definitely on-pace to be a box-office success, opening slightly higher than Desolation of Smaug, and setting its sights on being the highest grossing film of the year. (which I'd welcome over Transformers: Age of Extinction)
The film begins by offering head-scratching resolution to where we left off after Desolation of Smaug. Anyone that hasn't read the book should know that Smaug isn't the main-conflict of the story. Although, that's not what the end of Desolation would have you believe. In-fact, I asked my friends and all of them expected the five armies to resonate mostly around the dragon's destruction. That isn't the case, and that whole spectacle is settled early on. This is admittedly some false advertising, but what I had issue with is they should have tacked that onto the end of Desolation of Smaug. That would have made it seem more like a complete-story, and it would have simply made more sense.
Instead of focusing around the dragon, the conflict of this film actually arises after the dragon is out of the picture. A ton of treasure, some greed and a little more stuff helps lead to an all-out war for the film to focus on. I think that this means for some strongly entertaining moments, but it comes off widely cluttered and unaligned.
This film fails at meeting its potential.
The 'all-out war' aspect of it all isn't as ferocious as I'd have liked it to be. I won't say that there isn't chaos, but there isn't a lot in the way of strategy or inspiration that seemed to go into it. I also feel like the entire film spends its time trying to build suspense for the war, and doesn't have much else. The entire film comes off with a ho-hum way of going about itself, with certain story-lines that I can't make myself care about. I like Orlando Bloom and I don't have any issue with the new elf that was added into it, but they could have taken out the whole romantic conflict and the film would have been better for it. Something about it just didn't do it for me, and if that would have meant I would have gotten to see more from Bilbo Baggins than it would have ended up a lot better for it. The comic-relief that's added in with it is a little unjust. I am fine with some of the funnier scenes with Bilbo, but the unibrowed fellow that I refuse to learn the name of was a little misplaced and over-the-top.
My favorite aspect of the film is the entire conflict between Thorin and his battling with his thirst for power as a king and morals as a man. I feel like everything else was white-noise to the only real thing the film had to say for itself. The actual-scenes range from simple to ridiculous, but almost all of them are entertaining. Something is to be said about the redundancy of it all though, and it starts feeling like too much of a good thing.
The special-effects and cinematography are all done with the same commotion and vigor as what we have come to expect from Peter Jackson's interpretations for the franchise, and this one might even be exceptional in its spectacle. If there is something I would say that is missing from it all is that the film fails to register the calamity into anything besides the fact itself. That is, I feel as though I am watching a war, but I am never really made to care about anything that happens within it. Some might say that it's because the predictability has been heightened exceptionally with it being a prequel, but a lot of it has to do with the simple fact that it never resonated or kicked it into the second-gear that I wanted from it. Some of the action-scenes were also a little questionable, in-particular, I remember a slow-motion scene that was supposed to bring emotion from the viewer, but I laughed because of how dragged out it felt.
I feel like I am about to start repeating things that I have already been saying times and times before, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that there isn't really anything in this film that brings a whole lot more to the table that we haven't seen. This film doesn't feel like the definitive title in the Middle-earth Series, and it's not even a definitive moment in The Hobbit trilogy. There isn't anything that surprised me. The fighting is suitably enjoyable, and the film brings certain moments of immense entertainment and moments that induce a feeling that is similar to boredom. The difference between this one and the earlier title is that this one has substantially less of the entertainment and the moments that immerse me in what I am watching. The film is entertaining and nothing that will induce cringes or too much negativity but for those that have been disliking the Hobbit series, it won't be enough to change your mind, and for those that have enjoyed it, it doesn't take it to new heights.
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