Well, the time has finally arrived – we say goodbye to Peter Jackson’s world of ‘Middle-earth’ with the conclusion to THE HOBBIT trilogy, THE HOBBIT: BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES. UK cinema chain Cineworld were awesome enough to show the complete trilogy in one sitting on the release of the third and final movie, and I was there! Starting at 18:00 and finishing at around 03:00 the next morning with a 15-minute break in-between each movie, it was great to not only revisit AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY and THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, but to also prepare myself for THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES.
I sat down in my seat, 3D glasses on and popcorn in hand, ready for 8 hours of ‘Bilbo Baggins’ goodness.
“Bilbo and Company are forced to engage in a war against an array of combatants and keep the terrifying Smaug from acquiring a kingdom of treasure and obliterating all of Middle-earth”
Literally picking up straight after the end of THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, we see the swift and abrupt end to Smaug’s reign, but not before he lays down doom and destruction to Lake Town. Soon after Thorin and his band of dwarves, along with Bilbo, reclaim their home in The Lonely Mountain in Erabor, claiming his place as King amidst his huge hoard of gold and other treasures. Whilst searching for the ‘Arkenstone’ amidst huge piles of gold, we soon learn that ‘Thorin’ has lost his mind trying to find the King’s jewel.
Word soon spreads across the land that ‘Smaug’ is no more, which then prompts ‘Thranduil’ and his army of elves to reclaim the mountain for his own. At the same time a huge army of Orcs are on their way to Erabor to wage war against whomever stands in their way. Meanwhile, the residents of ‘Lake Town’ have fled from their destroyed village and seeking refuge in the ‘Lonely Mountain’ only to find that ‘Thorin’ has had his dwarves blockade the entrance to the mountain letting nobody in or out. ‘Bard’ pleads with ‘Thorin’ to allow them in and keep to his word, but the madness has set in with him where he thinks of nothing else other than this gold and the ‘Arkenstone’. The residents take refuge in the now vacant town of ‘Erabor’ and soon join forces with ‘Thranduil’ and his army of elves to take on ‘Thorin’ to take over the mountain. It is from there that the battle of the five armies takes place. As usual, I don’t want to say too much more as I don’t wish to ruin it or spoil it for anyone.
I went into the movie, especially after watching the first two entries back to back with high expectations for the final entry into the ‘Hobbit’ trilogy and I have to admit, that unfortunately, I was left slightly underwhelmed. For me, I was expecting a finale of epic proportions and it just didn’t deliver, at least not in my opinion. ‘Smaug’, who was the star of THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG was despatched way too quickly and really should have been tied up in the second film offering nothing more than an extended cameo of sorts for BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES. It what seemed an age to actually get to the battle and the finale seemed to take forever to actually get to where it needed to get too. Watching all three movies back to back I do think that there should have been just two movies made. In my opinion there was too much filler material that could easily be cut out to make two movies. Rather than the inevitable extended edition, I’d love to see a ‘shortened’ version just to see how much it changes the way the movies felt. Another thing I didn’t like was that there was too much humour crammed into the movie. For what should be this huge battle between the various armies, you then see the dwarves saying and doing stupid things that really took me out of the movie. Yeah first or second time it made me chuckle, but then again and again it had me rolling my eyes. Onto the more positives, I still think the cast were superb, the score to all three movies is fantastic (just like THE LORD OF THE RINGS). The CGI for the most part is also great but slightly let down towards the end of the movie, but there are plenty of practical FX that make up for this. Also, the movie is violent! Much more violent than I anticipated. I would certainly think twice about taking a young child to watch it.
In conclusion, this really was not the movie I was hoping for. I guess I was hoping for a more epic conclusion to finish off the last visit to ‘Middle Earth’, but it’s not to say that THE HOBBIT: BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES is a bad movie because it isn’t, far from it. Peter Jackson has done another fine job but for me it’s just too long as a standalone movie and as a trilogy. It’s certainly one I will and want to watch again but I’ll be waiting for the Blu-ray until I do watch it again.