Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies Is A Surprisingly Exciting Finale
ARTH VADER (AV): In what has likely been described as a horrific re-interpretation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novel that chronicles gentle Bilbo’s discovery of Sauron’s ring of power, The hobbit films have been a mish–mash of too much CGI, over-inflated plot and drawn-out story telling. Tolkien’s grand prequel to the great ‘war of the ring’ has been studied in middle-schools and high schools all over the world for nearly 40 years. The continuity of this film with it’s two predecessors is in alignment, though they have scant little to do with the original content but lets face it, these days that just doesn’t matter anymore, does it Pontificator?
THE PONTIFICATOR (TP): There is little to discuss here with regards to continuity Vader, since the films left the books a long time ago. Legolas is not even in the Hobbit, nor is Tauriel…but it was still entertaining to see them in this film. If it’s about accuracy to the book…we’ll have to read the book. This film was not made for accuracy, but to deliver entertainment and rake in dollars, and it does a modicum both.
CASTING, DIRECTION & ACTING
AV: Nothing really new on the casting front for this film, old friend. The acting was solid, as each character reprises their roles from the previous films with some interesting introspection from Richard (Thorin Oakenshield) Armitage and Benedict (Dr. Strange) Cumberbach; as both the dragon Smaug and the frightening Necromancer. In his portrayal of the Dwarf lord struggling with his own inner turmoil, Armitage puts on a somewhat cardboard but nonetheless convincing tortured soul, adding to the old adage ‘heavy is the head that wears the crown.’
One thing that must be reiterated is how much of a master Peter Jackson is at depicting epic battles where massive armies collide, pan in, bring us into the battle up close and personal and then back out, is breathtaking.
TP: There is really nothing to say concerning the casting and acting in this film–both were superb. I was especially pleased with Thorin (Richard Armitage) and Bard (Luke Evans). The directing could have been better though as I had some issues with the way the battle unfolded but I’ll get into that later.
AV: Here is where every Lord of The Rings film excels, P-Man. The opening engagement with Smaug The Terrible is CGI at its finest. While not breaking any new ground in the digital visual effects arena, the entire film is as impressive as ever. Say what you want about Jackson’s film making but these films are a wonder to behold. From the fantastic beasts to the grotesque monsters, movie-goers will be astounded at how good these films look.
TP: We all should be very familiar with what to expect for effects in these Middle-Earth films…and this film delivers, although because of the subject of the the film, I had higher expectations than normal. The CGI was superb and the costuming was second to none, however, with that said… there is so much more that could have been done given we had an army of Elves that should have been doing all the things we have come to expect from watching Legolas (although Legolas is exceptional, regular Elves are also extremely impressive).
TAKING A DEEPER LOOK
AV: I must confess, that after the last film (The Desolation of Smaug) I was very much expecting another visually compelling flop. What we got was a pretty good action flick, but one devoid of story, dialogue, and ultimately merit. What this says to me is we got exactly what many thought we were going to get—a long, drawn-out over-indulgent, over-blown and over-the-top series of films that told in nearly eight hours what should have taken about half that time. The Hollywood self-inflicted formula of three-film trilogy franchises makes great sense to investors, producers and the studios, Not so much for film integrity. Fantasy film giants like George Lucas (prequel trilogy) or Peter Jackson (LOTR) seem to take truly landmark works and destroy their own legacies. It’s very literally snatching defeat form the jaws of victory. And Pontificator, it is so demoralizing. How say you?
TP: Battle of the Five Armies had me expecting to see the most epic fight scenes… ever. I mean, both “300” films and “Troy” stand out for the fights and battles. Now I’m not suggesting that there be more blood and gore, that would have detracted from the film, but I am suggesting that Jackson should have taken FULL advantage of presenting an ARMY of Elves. Why didn’t we see wave upon wave of Orcs being obliterated by the more agile and skilled Elves? Look at all the Elves armed with bows and realize there is not a single arrow shot from them during the entire forty-five minutes of battle. Although there was a great showing for the Dwarven King, there should have been incredible showings for any Elf on screen. I just didn’t get the sense that the Elves were the absolute elite and most feared combatants on Middle-Earth, and that’s exactly what anyone watching the film should have gotten…from the battle, not the formation displays before the battle.
Also, where was the resolution at the end? Did the Elves get what they came to mountain for? Did the men get what was promised? Why did the battle end when the good guys were so clearly outnumbered…even with the introduction if the Eagles? There were just too many open questions the battle created instead of resolutions to the problems at hand. Am I also the only one that noticed the premier Orcs were played by indigenous New Zealanders’ Manu Bennet and John Tui (message?)?
AV: While I have (mostly) enjoyed each LOTR film installment, I don’t need anymore.
Thank you for the wonderful experiences Mr. Jackson, I'm happy we went there and back again with you. Now lets just move on shall we? I’m sure Mr. Jackson has more tales to spin and this Tolkien world / franchise has been tapped out. That said, I vote ‘no’ to further Hobbit-flavored sequels. P-Man?
TP: I second that vote Vader! It seems the Tolkien family has the rights to the Silmarillion so we won’t be seeing any film adaption to that any time soon. Given the way the Elves were treated in this film, that’s probably a good thing. I’m against any notion to start making up Middle-Earth stories just for films (although that works fine for video games).
ARTH VADER rates The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies: The best thing I can (probably) say about this film – and hopefully the franchise – is that its over. This last film was a fun watch from a visual effects standpoint but it was a hot mess, no story and even less reason for being. I'm happy to have seen them all and I’m done. Still, the movie could have been worse (hardly a selling point) so for that, I give Battle of the Five Armies a fitting five (5) Busted Blocks.
THE PONTIFICATOR rates The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies: A good film with superb acting and great effects. Out of all the Hobbit films, this should have been the one to blow the doors off the hinges. Instead I came away with a sense of unfulfilled opportunity and thoughts how it could have been better. That alone has this film cleaving only seven (7) busted blocks as the rest escape in battle.
The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies 6 /10 Busted Blocks