The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, 2014

Battle of the Five ArmiesDecember 17, 2014
Dir. Peter Jackson
Prod. Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner, Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson
Genre: Epic Fantasy Adventure
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Lee Pace, Graham Mctavish, Ken Stott, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, William Kercher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Sylvester McCoy, Manu Bennett, John Tui, Billy Connolly, Mikael Persbrandt, Stephen Fry, John Bell, Peggy Nesbitt, Mary Nesbitt

****Warning: This post contains MAJOR spoilers for The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies and The Hobbit book****

This is it. The final Hobbit film. Probably the last film to ever be based on any work by the brilliant J.R.R. Tolkien. The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies.

In this final installment of The Hobbit trilogy, loyalties are tested, families divided, and battle fought. We see death, love, and a war of epic proportions, pretty much everything that makes a good Tolkien/Jackson film.

And let me tell you, this was a good film. I actually think of all three films, Battle of the Five Armies might have been my favorite. It’s pretty close with the first one, some days it’s one and some days it’s three, but it’s definitely up there.

This is because of many reasons, the first of which is the special effects. It’s kind of funny because I know special effects (at least in regard to CGI) was something a lot of people hated about it this film, but personally it didn’t bother me.

I really can’t tell the difference between an army made up of thousands of CGI soldiers and an army of thousands of real soldiers. You know, since I’m typically more focused on the main characters and not the extras in the background. But I mean, if the CGI were really bad you would notice so I think it probably says a lot that I pay about as much attention to the armies in The Hobbit as I did in Lord of the Rings.

Besides, I think any displeasure over the use of CGI can pretty much be annihilated over the glorious being called Smaug.

I’ll admit I was kind of disappointed at how little Smaug there actually was in this film. I thought Desolation of Smaug ended in a great place, but it left so much hype for Smaug that the scene in BotFA just didn’t quite meet the mark.

However, the lack of Smaug in film three was not down to Peter Jackson and the rest of the crew, but rather the plot of the book which is something they followed very closely.

This is something I’ve always loved about Jackson’s adaptations. He sticks to, and honours, Tolkien’s story. If you look at other film adaptation like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson the story is there, the ideas are there, but there are so many changes that the emotions readers got from the book isn’t the same.

This is the total opposite of what The Hobbit does. Even when they have to cut scenes for time, Tolkien’s world and voice still shines through.

Of course, not everything is the same. Several characters were added into the films who either weren’t in the book at all or only had small roles. The most notable of these was probably Tauriel, who Jackson added because he said it didn’t feel right to have this huge film come out with now strong females characters in this day and age.

Now I did already talk about Tauriel in my review of Desolation of Smaug and I stand by what I said there, but I did a difference between films two and three that I quite liked. Tauriel is such a badass. Her character is spectacular and Evangeline Lilly did a phenomenal job bringing her to life. But in the second film, this badassery is overshadowed a bit by the love triangle she was thrust into with Kili and Legolas.

While the love triangle is still there, it didn’t feel stifling in the third film. It didn’t overpower or overshadow any of the characters and didn’t stop them from fighting or their lives when the time came. I loved what they did with Tauriel in the third film because she felt much more like the badass female character Jackson had been aiming for and less like an object of desire.

A character I wish we could have seen more of though was Fili. This was actually probably the thing that bugged me the most. They added in a love story, but Fili really didn’t get very much screen time.

Dean O’Gorman is a phenomenal actor (seriously, check out The Almighty Johnsons, it’s great) and we didn’t get to see that much in this film. But only that, but (*Spoiler Alert*) they totally changed his death scene which, in turn, changed Kili’s and Thorin’s.

In the book Kili and Fili die defending their uncle. In BotFA they die totally separately and, while both death scenes were incredibly sad (I cried), I feel like it would have been a lot more powerful if the brother had died together.

That being said, I thought Thorin’s death scene was pretty good. I thought at first it was really lame when Azog just slips off the ice and into the water. First time I saw it I was like, “Are you kidding? All that build up and… what? He just drowns?” But no, it was fine. They brought it back and Thorin’s death ended up being even more emotional than I’d thought it would be.

Overall I felt like Battle of the Five Armies was a great film, but I was a little disappointed (confused) by the ending. I feel like they really left things handing, especially if you haven’t read the book.

Like, now that Thorin, Fili, and Kili are gone, who will rule The Lonely Mountain? What happens to Bard and his children? What about Thranduil? I’ve read the book so I know all these answers, but it just really felt like their were a lot of loose ends when the credits rolled. It just didn’t feel finished.

Honestly though, I did love the film. For all the things I think could’ve been improved, Battle of the Five Armies really was a great movie and I will be watching it over and over and over again.

Have you seen Battle of the Five Armies? What did you think?

Which is your favourite out of the three?

Are you ready to say goodbye to Middle Earth?

 

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