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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
December 17, 2014.
Directed by Peter Jackson
Producers: Carolynne Cunningham, Peter Jackson, and Fran Walsh.
Produced by: Warner Brothers Pictures (New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), and WingNut Films)
Writers: Fran Walsh (screenplay), Philippa Boyens (screenplay), Peter Jackson (screenplay), and Guillermo del Toro (screenplay).
Music composed by: Howard Shore
Rating: PG-13 (for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images).
Genre: High Fantasy, and Action and Adventure, too.
Length of film: 2 hours and 24 minutes.
Official Movie Site:

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.

"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," is the third in a trilogy of films, based off The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" picks up where the second film, “The Desolation of Smaug” ended and brings to conclusion, the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield, and the Company of Dwarves. The Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world after reclaiming their homeland from the Dragon Smaug. Because of this, Smaug rains his fiery wrath upon the defenseless men, women and children of Lake-town.

Meanwhile, only the Wizard Gandalf has foreseen the rise of a great enemy. This enemy sends an army upon the Lonely Mountain. The races of Dwarves, Elves, and Men must decide to unite or be destroyed. And Bilbo finds himself fighting for his life and the lives of his friends in the epic battle.

I have read The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, though it has been a few years, even I could see what did not belong in the film and what has been changed from the novel. To make three movies out of one book—a book that was Young Adult back in the Thirties, while Lord of the Rings was the adult book made into three books as it was too big—and yet, I did get caught up in the battle (not as intensely as I did in the final two battles of “Return of the King”), I enjoyed Legolas being the swashbuckling hero he will become more so of in the “Lord the Rings” trilogy, and the real hero of “The Hobbit” films, Bilbo Baggins was made more of a lesser entity, then in the first two films. Also I felt that the lighthearted charm of the book was lost in the film. So for me, this film was a mixed bag. An impressive achievement when taken as the bridge in a six-film series, “Battle of the Five Armies” is a somewhat less successful as a stand-alone feature, with the best material either having gone before, or yet to come.

Do I tell you not to go see it? Absolutely, go see it. It has the epic battle, romance, and Ian McKellan is always wonderful as Gandalf and Martin Freeman has Bilbo down to a science, even though his character hasn’t had as much time in this film as the first two, his Bilbo fitted my idea of the book’s character. Another favorite of mine is Ryan Gage as Alfrid. He played this villainous character as appropriately slimy as the character should be, but made to make you laugh at him, unlike another slimy toady in the “Lord of the Rings” films, Wormtongue—a much darker character. I also enjoyed Luke Evans as Bard the Bowman. Richard Armitage out-broods his performance in the first two films. Evangeline Lily, Cate Blanchett, Lee Pace, Hugo Weaving and Christopher Lee all make one final appearance to close out Peter Jackson’s epic six films.

My favorite sentence spoken in the movie is “Not every man is brave enough to wear a corset,” spoken by Alfrid (Ryan Gage), when Bard the Bowman catches him dressed as a woman, trying to escape with hordes of gold coins stuffed in his corset. My husband, Bill, who attended with me, and I looked at each other and laughed, after he said that and stuffed the coins back in the bra portion of his corset. The song, The Last Goodbye, sung by Billy Boyd brought tears to my eyes as the credits rolled. As for composer Howard Shore, he has maintained the “Lord of the Rings” vibe throughout this final film in “The Hobbit” trilogy, as he did for the “Lord of the Rings”.

I give “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” 4 sheep.

Pamela Kinney