Movie Review -The Hobbit-The Battle of the Five Armies: End of an Era

Jan 23, 2015 by     No Comments    Posted under: Entertainment, General, Screenplay

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the last installment in The Hobbit trilogy and with it brings the end of the Middle Earth saga.  Only ardent fans of Tolkien’s works can appreciate the tornado of emotions running through at the thought of saying goodbye to Middle Earth for good.


One of the most infuriating decisions in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was to end the film just as Smaug was flying into LaketownThe Battle of the Five Armies starts off where it’s predecessor, The Desolation of Smaug left, meaning the ferocious dragon intent on wrecking fiery havoc to Laketown. Admittedly The Battle of the Five Armies does suffer a bit because of this decision as the film begins with what should have been the ending of The Desolation of Smaug, but who can pay attention to that mistake when we get to see the brilliant showdown between Bard and the dragon Smaug.


The prologue is basically one huge fiery CGI fest but these visual effects are exactly what make the Middle Earth films so much fun to watch, there is never a dull moment.  Once the prologue is over, the tone of the film changes dramatically. It wouldn’t be a surprise to find out that Jackson was originally going to include the Laketown sequence at the end of The Desolation of Smaug only to bump it to the next film for the sake of suspense because it’s just one of those that Peter Jackson does to instill suspense into his viewers. Surprise surprise.

Besides the extensive use of visual effects something else that typically makes these Middle Earth films so richly beautiful is the New Zealand landscape, and Jackson has utilized that to full effect for every single one of his Middle Earth films. The way his camera swoops in and flies around the scenery to reveal more and more beautiful images is consistently breathtaking. This is better than constantly relying purely on CGI and Jackson’s CGI creatures work better in real surroundings.




I may not be an expert when it comes to the use of visual effects , but as far as i can say The Battle of the Five Armies isn’t one of the most impressive displays of visual effects , it is way behind the Lord of The Rings movies and even the previous Hobbit films when it comes to the use of visual effects. It could have done better but at least the way the effects were utilized was artistically sound.

With a subtitle like The Battle of the Five Armies, it was pretty clear that a big chunk of the film was going to center around a battle. Real battles are exhausting, but watching good movies about them don’t have to be. The battle sequence takes up approximately a third of the film’s two hour and 24 minute run-time, but the sequence is beautifully crafted in such a way that its length isn’t felt in a tiresome way.

Jackson does this by filling the battle with smart character moments. By now, the trilogy has a number of characters of varying degrees of importance. Many of these characters , though they may not be mentioned in the book, are still given important roles and bits and pieces of their personality and background is revealed to the audience throughout the course of the film. The way Jackson shifts between these important narrative moments and the action that surrounds them is extremely well-balanced.








If the first two parts; An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug seemed to lack a central theme, this wasn’t the case with the last film. Although if the first two parts were connected instead of being split into two, they might have made more sense. But The Battle of Five Armies makes sense standing on its own because it has a central theme, something is happening. It’s an interesting take on the bullheadedness of leaders and the responses of their followers. The decisions of multiple leaders are true to life; in not always being the most sound, the most sensible and the dynamics of the repercussions of these decisions is something that is interesting to follow.

One thing that makes The Battle of the Five Armies a little less impressive than its previous parts was that Martin Freeman’s character Bilbo Baggins, around whom centers the entire story, was not given as much screen-time as he deserved, which resulted into Bilbo practically cast aside as a side character. It’s understandable that the whole point of this trilogy was to expand the world set up by Lord of the Rings, so it makes sense to put Bilbo as a side character in certain scenes. But Bilbo is easily the best part of the film and his idiosyncrasies bring about some of the film’s brightest moments.



Perhaps the best thing about the entire Hobbit trilogy especially The Battle of the Five Armies that will immensely please ardent fans of Tolkien and Peter Jackson such as myself was how Jackson uses his genius to create threads connecting The Hobbit trilogy to The Lord of the Rings movies. And the way Jackson does this is interesting. And it is extremely satisfying, The Battle of the Five Armies is filled with details that will please fans of Middle Earth. The inclusion of characters more prominent in the Lord of the Rings trilogy works well. Throughout the Hobbit trilogy there has been setup to attempt to bridge the gap between the two trilogies, and this connection is finished in a surprising but effective way.

The soundtrack of this film, like all the ones before it, is flawless. Howard Shore’s magnificent score makes the film even more breathtaking. Shore continued his trend of creating very fitting themes for the film and the end result was a score that fit the final installment of Middle Earth perfectly and is very essential to the success of the film.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was a good and fitting end to the Hobbit trilogy. Jackson hasn’t recreated the heights of the Lord of the Rings trilogy here, but all in all he paid full respect to Tolkien and his creation.

How wonderful it would be if Peter Jackson changes his mind about leaving Middle-Earth to adapt more of Tolkien’s work, particularly The Silmarillion.

Also, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has been nominated for the 2015 Oscars for the category of Best Sound Editing. Fingers crossed! It surely deserves a win.

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