Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies


Its one thing to complain about the decision to make The Hobbit into 3 films for monetary purposes. But when that decision legitimately affects the quality of the films, its something else entirely, and that is just what has happened here. The third Hobbit film has an odd story structure which pretty much relies on you not only seeing the previous films, but remembering them exactly. I mean, the big villain from the last movie is  SPOILER:killed within the first five or so minutes of this film. So basically, they put the true climax of Desolation of Smaug and just added it to the beginning of this film so that they could pad out a third movie. SPOILER END
There are other moments which seem like they get right into things with absolutely no build up.  Rescuing Gandalf from Dol Gulder was a big example of this.  He was just there.  Then the other elves and wizards were just there, and then suddenly it was all over, as though they just wanted to get that scene out of the way.

Okay, so story structure problems aside, what else?  Battle of the Five Armies is actually  an interesting exercise, since this movie, above all the others in Jackson’s Middle Earth series, is where he really just lets loose and explores the world in his own way.  He basically throws a bunch of ideas at the wall; sometimes they stick, sometimes they don’t.  For example, he has dwarves riding bighorn war sheep.  That’s actually kind of cool.  But then he has giant rock worms straight out of Dune making tunnels for the orcs.  That doesn’t work so well.

As a Lord of the Rings fan, it is neat to see a different part of the world on screen and a different story being told.  And the action and battle scenes were pretty solid.  One fault of this third movie is that there are no real standout scenes.  Unexpected Journey had the Gollum-cave scene.  Desolation of Smaug had the barrel chase and the Bilbo’s conversation with the dragon.  Battle of the Five Armies doesn’t have anything like those.

But the real problem with this movie is the plethora of stupid things that they had to throw in.  Ready?

  • Wacky action stunt Legolas returns.  This time he acts like Super Mario.
  • The dwarf-elf romance is back and as stupid as ever.
  • The character of Alfred.  Who the hell is this guy?  He was an absolutely horrific attempt at comic relief, which they went back to way, way too often.  Just terrible… felt like he was in a different movie entirely.
  • The “dragon sickness”.  Okay, lets look at this for a second.  They make up this idea of a “dragon sickness” connected to the gold to basically absolve Thorin of his selfish behaviour, which leads the events of the film, robbing the story of any real character development and consequences of actions.  Thorin is a greedy character; let him be greedy.  Let his downfall come at his own hands; don’t create an outside force responsible so that you can keep the character pure. Pathetic decision there.
  • They threw in Beorn back into the mix with again absolutely no introduction or build up.  And we have one shot of him running as a bear. Lame.

I just… I don’t know.  I’m giving it a 5 out of 10.  Maybe that’s too high. Oh one more thing to mention: though I liked Martin Freeman as Bilbo, I have to say it always seems like he’s in a completely different movie then everyone else.  He feels foreign acting among all the other very serious characters and never quite blends right.  They accomplished inserting the hobbits into the world much better in the first trilogy.  But when it comes down to it, that could be said about every aspect of these two trilogies.  The Hobbit movies are a far cry from the Lord of the Rings films.


2 Responses to “The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies”

  1. Good review Ian. I can’t say I’m terribly depressed to see the trilogy over once and for all, but I can say that I had a better time with it than I maybe wanted to.

  2. Completely agree. This felt self-indulgent and unnecessary. The first and second had great moments to redeem it while this one didn’t. We’ve seen battles before and it didn’t nothing to really differentiate itself from that.

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