With The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies comes the end of yet another Tolkien three part film adaption series, and with the boundaries being set higher than ever for co-writer and director Peter Jackson, the ambitious final completes the franchise with a satisfactory level of fantasy inspired epicness.
TBOTFA starts from where the Desolation of Smaug left us, with our fists in our mouths writhing with anticipation. With the Dwarves and Bilbo having just taken back the Lonely Mountain from the rather furious great dragon Smaug, the fire-breathing beast takes its revenge on the nearby settlement Lake-town. Although the Desolation of Smaug did leave a climax to be remembered, it left the gate open to a necessary conclusion of the film which unfortunately dragged into the beginning of The Battle of the Five Armies. Despite the un-doubtfully down right awesome entry to TBOTFA it did feel like the events of the previous movie should have been left and settled with in the previous movie.
After the events of that terrible evening which saw the battle between man and dragon, the setting calms down as the people of Lake-town attempt to salvage and survive with what little is left. The Elf/Dwarf love tale between Kili and Tauriel intensifies and develops, and the town’s saviour Bard becomes front man in control, giving orders and leading those who remain. The White Council come to the rescue of the endangered Gandalf, who was imprisoned by Sauron at the ruined fortress of Dol Guldur in DoS. The Lady of Lothlorien once more shows her high opinion of Gandalf by protecting him from the ever-nearing darkness, in a somewhat INCREDIBLY BADASS fashion.
The ever-strengthening relationship between Bilbo Baggins and Thorin Oakenshield is stretched to the max, as Bilbo takes it upon himself to make decisions on behalf of what he thinks will be best for Thorin, as the Dwarf King has fallen ill with ‘Dragon Sickness’ as result of him becoming re-acquainted with his rightful treasure, now stained with the poison of evil, blinding him of what is noble and right. Thorin, riddled with the poison of greed, is blindsided to the fact that some of the treasure may belong to the Elves and the people of Lake-town. As result, he demands that the other Dwarves barricade themselves inside the Lonely Mountain protecting the inner gold from those who want some for their own.
News of the reclamation of Erabor has spread, bringing forth five armies who battle out, mainly against the Orcs in order to either claim the treasure, kingdom or to just fight (which isn’t too hard to believe given the nature of Dwarves). The films fight scenes are what you’d expect from director Peter Jackson, which are highly co-ordinated and lengthy, with plenty of bloodshed and gore. It’s Dwarf, Man and Elf vs Orcs, ginormous worms and bats. As visually stunning as the films are, it does certainly get to the point where it all becomes a little too unbelievable. Such a heavy load of CGI should have been avoided. Legolas, played by Orlando Bloom at times looked superimposed using CGI even when standing still which was highly noticeable. As did and were the Orcs and creatures alike.
As war commences fully, it feels like a lifetime before it ends, with many scenes focusing on the acts of individual characters switching in between, concluding some characters stories, and ending the stories of other characters altogether. The war, which radiates the power of the creatures of the Tolkien universe, eventually comes to an end, bringing with it messages of the importance of faith, loyalty and strength. Warnings of the darkness to come pave the way to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, alongside an ending which merges directly with the beginning of the Fellowship of the Ring.
All In All
Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage steal the show once again, however Martin received a sickeningly low amount of screen time in comparison. Too many filler fight scenes made for a less impressive movie than the previous, DoS, however the film as a whole clearly demonstrates Peter Jackson’s ability to work under pressure and still pull a spectacular feature out of the bag. In comparison with the other Hobbit movies, excluding the Lord of the Rings series, the film would come in third place with An Unexpected Journey in first. The last of the Hobbit movies sadly is greatly overshadowed by all three Lord of the Rings films despite its excellence, and is likely to be the last of the Tolkien movies.