Friday, December 26, 2014
"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" Review - Written by Tim Hellman
THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES': Five Stars (Out of Five)
The final installment in director Peter Jackson's three-part film adaptation, of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic 1937 novel 'The Hobbit' (following 2012's 'AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY' and 2013's 'THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG'); which also serves as a prequel trilogy to Jackson's blockbuster 'THE LORD OF THE RINGS' movie series (also based on Tolkien's popular books). Jackson once again directed and co-wrote the movie; with his wife Fran Walsh, his other usual writing partner Philippa Boyens and acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (who was also originally going to direct 'THE HOBBIT' film series, in two-parts). Walsh and Boyens also co-wrote all of the other Tolkien movie adaptations (as well as multiple other Peter Jackson films) and del Toro also co-wrote the other 'HOBBIT' movies. The film once again stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch and many other returning cast members (as well as a few new ones). I highly enjoyed it, surprisingly to me, and think it's the best of 'THE HOBBIT' film trilogy; but I still don't think it quite lives up to any of 'THE LORD OF THE RINGS' movies. It's definitely one of the best films of the year though!
The film opens, where the last installment left off, with the dragon Smaug (Cumberbatch) attacking Lake-town (which is resolved 12 minutes later, before the title of the movie even appears). Gandalf (McKellen) is still a prisoner of the orc prison and Thorin (Armitage) has gone mad with power and greed. He desperately wants to find the Arkenstone, which he still doesn't know Bilbo (Freeman) has. At the same time armies of elves, dwarves, people and orcs approach the Lonely Mountain; ready for war. A shitload of action ensues.
Although I enjoyed 'AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY' (a lot) and thought it was true to the book in spirit, I was deeply disappointed with it's first sequel. That whole movie feels like excessive filler, packed with uninvolving video game style action scenes (that go on for way too long); which makes it a pretty boring and uneventful film. It also lacks it's natural ending (which was instead used to open this movie with) making it by far the weakest installment out of all of Peter Jackson's Tolkien film adaptations. I once was a big fan of Jackson's because he does have a lot of talent and passion for making films but 'THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG' is the biggest example of how much of a sellout he's become (kind of obsessed with power and greed, like Thorin is in this movie). For that reason I went into this movie with pretty low expectations and I was pleasantly surprised to find out I was wrong. The film is completely fast paced, filled with brilliantly thought out and involving action scenes, and it also has a great deal of emotional depth and character development (everything the second film was lacking). It's far superior to 'SMAUG' and definitely the best film of this trilogy (which should have never been a trilogy). Still it's a great movie, one of the best of this year, and a fitting conclusion to the entire epic six film series. Obsessive book fans and purists will still be disgusted, and hate it, but most others should at least have a fun time.