Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Battle of the Five Armies

The Battle of the Five Armies by Peter Jackson

Last night I finally watched The Battle of the Five Armies (2014), the third and final installment of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy. I had very much liked An Unexpected Journey (2012) and The Desolation of Smaug (2013), and so I was more than a bit excited to check out the finale, which somehow I failed to catch in the cinema. What better way to wrap up a long weekend than with elves, orcs, dwarves, hobbits and dragons?

To battle!

The skinny

The Dwarves have finally reclaimed their homeland from Smaug, watching him attack and destroy Laketown from the Lonely Mountain. When Bard the Bowman kills him, he becomes the new leader of Laketown's people. As they seek refuge in the ruins of Dale, Bard asks Thorin to honor his promise, but the Dwarf King, struck with dragon sickness, refuses. All he cares about is the Arkenstone, even when Thranduil arrives with an Elf army, declaring war over an elven necklace that he wants back. When Gandalf arrives to warn Bard and Thranduil of the Orc army, Dwarves, Elves and Men have to fight together for Middle-Earth.

The review

Where do I begin? Whenever you turn a 445-page book into three movies for a grand total of 513 screen minutes, you are bound to run out of interesting material. Even when you're enamored of Bilbo Baggins and absolutely love eye-popping battle scenes, you will find that The Battle of the Five Armies has little meat to it whatsoever, instead falling back on too-long battle scenes and CGI. Don't get me wrong, no one can put on a show like Jackson, but I would have liked some more screen time for Bilbo, a hint of a plot somewhere, a quiet scene or two, and a bit more Smaugh (who is underwhelmingly killed in the first ten minutes). My conclusion? TBOFA is 144 minutes of epic overkill.

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