The Hobbit – The Battle of the Five Armies (2014): The Defining Chapter

Posted: March 2, 2015 in Adventure, Fantasy

The-Hobbit-Battle-of-the-Five-Armies-poster-9-691x1024Following the release of Smaug the Terrible, the people of Lake-town are in a frenzy to try to get to safety. While the Master and his deputy are more concerned with saving their wealth, Bard breaks out of his prison and attempts to take on the mighty dragon. Following the battle, the survivors gather on the shore and search for a new beginning, aiming toward the the town of Dale. Back in the Lonely Mountain, Thorin has taken back the mountain and now seeks to reestablish his place as ruler of his kingdom amongst his massive wealth. With the people entering Dale and word going out about the wealth now available inside the Lonely Mountain, armies begin to amass and march on the mountain. Thorin prepares for war, while Bilbo finds himself fighting for peace between the humans, dwarves, and elves. In the shadows, another major evil threatens to final unveil itself upon the world.

Review: As the final installment of The Hobbit series, the action and adventure is great, but the storytelling feels quite a bit dragged out. The 3-part series was based on a single book. While it was an epic story, the final film proved that it could have been pulled back a bit. This is not to say that fans of the series would not enjoy the film, but the overall execution could have been better.

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Regardless of the above, there were some compelling actors and their characters that were highlighted in this part of the story. Benedict Cumberbatch (Smaug) reprised his voiceover work and breathed life into the terrifying fire drake. Ian McKellen (Gandalf) and Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins) continued to project the great dynamic and iconic presence of their roles. Richard Armitage (Thorin) and Luke Evans (Bard) stood out as two of the best performance of the film. For Richard, he provided the depth and obsession that comes with a man overcome by power and wealth, while Luke represented the hero not seeking personal glory but focused on the protection of his family and his people.

The battles and the fantasy action are what most movie-goers of the Middle-earth franchise. The fight for survival against Smaug was epic. Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel have an excellent battle against the beginnings of Sauron/necromancer and the shadow warriors. The best of the action, of course, waited until the second half of the film with the five armies converging on the Lonely Mountain. It throws together humans, dwarves, elves, orcs, and eagles between Dale and the nearby icy cliffs, building the landscape for the eventual timeline of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

It may not be perfect, but it is a fun film that Hobbit fans will still enjoy.

Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5

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