A Quick Review: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (dir by Peter Jackson)


TheHobbit5Armies

It seems kind of weird to do a quick review for a 144 minutes film that not only serves as the end of one epic trilogy but also as a prequel for yet another epic trilogy.

Well, so be it.  I hate to admit it but I really don’t have that much to say about The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies beyond the fact that I saw it on the day after Christmas, I enjoyed it, and I thought Aidan Turner was really hot.  It’s not a perfect film but then again, The Hobbit has never been a perfect trilogy.  As opposed to the Lord of the Ring films, The Hobbit told a story that could have easily been told in two films.  As a result, whenever you watch one of The Hobbit films, you’re aware of all of the filler that was included just to justify doing three films.

But so what?  The Hobbit films are fun.  Despite the cynical economic reasons behind turning The Hobbit into a trilogy, director Peter Jackson’s love for the material always came through.  In the title role, Martin Freeman was always likable.  Ian McKellan and Christopher Lee made for properly enigmatic wizards.  Though apparently his inclusion caused some controversy among purists, it was nice to Orlando Bloom as Legolas.  I also liked Evangeline Lilly’s elf character, even if everyone else seemed to dislike her and her love story with Aidan Turner.  And then there was Benedict Cumberbatch providing a perfectly evil and self-satisfied voice for Smaug.

I have to admit that, with the exception of Aidan Turner, I was never a big fan of the dwarves.  They were all so surly and bad-tempered and it didn’t take me too long to get tired of Richard Armitage showing up as Thorin and acting like a jerk.  However, in the final part of the trilogy, Armitage’s surly performance started to make sense.  As Thorin grew more and more paranoid, I saw that The Hobbit was actually using both the character and Armitage’s performance to make a much larger point.  Power corrupts and most conflicts are ultimately all about money and property.  It was a good message.

When the Battle of the Five Armies started, I was shocked to discover how little I remembered about the previous two Hobbit films.  It took me a while to get caught up on who everyone was and why they were all fighting over that mountain.  As opposed to the LoTR films, it’s not always easy to get emotionally invested in The Hobbit films.  But, Jackson is a good director and he’s a good storyteller and, even though it took me a while to get caught up, I was still often enthralled with what I was watching on screen.  The images were so stunning and the battle scenes were so spectacularly done that I could handle being occasionally confused.

Battle of the Five Armies is a fitting end for the Hobbit trilogy.  It’s not a perfect film but it is exciting and fun and that’s really all that matters.  At the end of it, the audience in the theater applauded, not just for the film but in recognition of everything that Peter Jackson has given us over the past 14 years.

It was a good way to spend the day after Christmas.

7 responses to “A Quick Review: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (dir by Peter Jackson)

  1. Some have called this prequel trilogy as similar to the Star Wars prequel and to those people I have a high-five ready to meet their faces.

    Yes, this prequel trilogy was bloated like the Goblin King himself and, at times, during this final film one could sense that something had been edited out to keep the running time from reaching Return of the King levels.

    The thing which people always seem to gloss over has been that Peter Jackson never wanted to direct this trilogy. But once Guillermo Del Toro had left the project due to delays of over several years, Jackson was pretty much forced to get back in the director’s chair to get the films’ budget approved and get filming started.

    I do believe that The Hobbit was hobbled from the start and one wonders what sort of vision Del Toro had for the prequels.

    My final thoughts on this prequel trilogy can’t be complete until I’ve watched the extended editions of all three films and see if the added scenes make some of the weird veers and zags in the trilogy’s narrative make much more sense.

    Plus, it would be a good reason enough to spend a full day just watch all six extended editions in one marathon sitting.

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    • There’s no such thing as a perfect film, but sometimes people like to use that term to describe a film that manages to hit positive marks on every part of the film. From the direction, acting, writing, editing, music, design…all the way up to whether it was enjoyable, thought-provoking and a lot of other descriptions that raises a particular film to high-art status.

      Some who call The Hobbit trilogy horrible well I can’t argue with them on that, but I like the property and always enjoy returning to the world Peter Jackson and company were able to create from something that for decades many were calling unfilmmable.

      Should The Hobbit have been just two films instead of three or maybe even just one long film? Sure, the original plan was to have it as two films, but the powers-that-be wanted something that would bring in more money hence tacking on a third film. This is why we get so many inserted items that were never in The Hobbit, but instead in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings which tied the two books together.

      Not saying Peter Jackson had no hand in how the trilogy underwhelmed when put up to the standard of the original LOTR trilogy, but I don’t think any film following up the LOTR would’ve been seen as anything but underwhelming. If The Hobbit had come out first I think people’s opinion of it would be a bit ore forgiving. Having the LOTR has measuring stick showed the flaws in The Hobbit. Pretty much every review I’ve read about this prequel trilogy manages to mention the original LOTR trilogy once if not more in comparison.

      Like I said, I enjoyed the films for what they were despite their flaws which were many. I’m biased since I loved the original trilogy, but having followed the The Hobbit’s troubled production from beginning to end I can see where Jackson had to literally put out a perfect trio of films to even come up even to his first three visits to Middle-Earth.

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  2. No doubt the three film release structure was a blatant cash grab. Two less-than-two-hour films, or a single three-plus hour one were the ways to go. Eight hours with the 270 page “The Hobbit”! Jackson tarnished the reputation he built, and the respect he acquired, after “Dead-Alive”, the marvelous “Heavenly Creatures”, and the original “Rings” trilogy. ML

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    • LOL, I wouldnt go that far myself. If he follows through in his comments that he wants to go back to naking smaller films then people will forgive him. I, myself, hope he goes back to his horror roots.

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  3. Pingback: Christopher Lee, R.I.P. | Through the Shattered Lens

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