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.