Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Movie Review: "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" (2014)

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Movie"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies"
Director: Peter Jackson
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 24 minutes

After Bilbo (Martin Freeman), Thorin (Richard Armitage), and the dwarves awaken Smaug from his long sleep, Smaug is ready to unleash his fury on the people of Laketown. He delivers a continuous wrath of fire and destruction until Bard (Luke Evans) is able to succeed where his ancestor failed and slay Smaug. With Smaug dead, Thorin is able to take his rightful place as king of Erebor. With his treasure in hand, the extreme wealth of The Lonely Mountain, as well as the search for the Arkenstone have started to drive Thorin mad. When Bard seeks payment from Thorin for his promise to help rebuild Laketown, he is turned away as Thorin is not willing to give up even one single coin. To make matters worse, Thranduil (Lee Pace) has led an army of elves to stake a claim in the recovered fortune. Despite his best efforts for a peaceful resolution, Bard has gathered an army of men to take the payment they were promised. On top of that, Thorin's cousin Dain (Billy Connelly) has brought his army of Dwarves to defend Thorin and Erebor. But, when Azog (Manu Benett) and his army of orcs and trolls attack, the other armies must band together to defeat Azog and his horde.


Is this truly the end for Middle Earth? Probably, and we'd be lying if we said we didn't cry a bit when all was said and done. "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" will probably not be anyone's favorite movie related to "The Lord of the Rings." Hell, it probably won't be anyone's favorite movie period, but damn if it's not a worthy conclusion to this trilogy. While the same problems that have plagued the series since "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" are still here in this third movie (for example, poorly done CGI, using CGI over prosthetic pieces, condensing scenes here and adding details there), BigJ and I think that this was our favorite movie in "The Hobbit" series. As one might expect, all of the "good stuff" was in this final film, and from start to finish, even as the movie opens with Smaug disintegrating Laketown, you know you're going to be in for one hell of a ride. The action never stops for a moment to catch its breath. Between Smaug and the Five Armies descending upon The Lonely Mountain, their battles are impressive and grandiose. There are even some scenes that might be considered frightening to kids under 13, so parents, be aware of that. What we like that is added in "The Battle of the Five Armies" is something that is seemingly missing from the LotR movies altogether, and that is heart. Let's face it, Frodo was sort of annoying. What "The Hobbit" has that LotR lacks can all be attributed to Martin Freeman, who we must reiterate was the greatest, bestest choice for Bilbo Baggins. His end scenes made us totally cry and gave us the feels. While the laughs and touching moments are brought by his character, the person who really stood out in this final film was Thorin, played by Richard Armitage. Here, we finally see Aritage immersed so deeply into the role of Thorin as his obsession with gold and money and power and "dragon sickness" have gone to his head in a sickening and mood-altering manner. Gone are the days when Thorin was just serious, now he's serious and downright crazy. He is not willing to part with one single coin and it drives him mad. All of the actors found in the first two "Hobbit" movie reprise their roles with the addition of Billy Connelly and all of them do so well and wonderfully.

When all is said and done, sure, some things are left out, some characters were introduced and never appear again, the movie might feel a little truncated to some but overly long to others, yet we loved this film for what it was and are sad to see the series end. No one should have to read a book to understand the characters in a movie. If the movie isn't clear enough, filmmakers and directors haven't done their job properly and have failed in not just the character development aspect, but the storytelling aspect as well. We believe this movie links the two series together nicely as we marathoned both of them back to back, and what an undertaking that was! "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" won't win any Oscars, but it's still a decent movie. Though it is not the best movie of the year, it was certainly one of the better movies of 2014. Contrary to others, we were so looking forward to this movie and it didn't disappoint us in the slightest.

My Rating: 10/10
BigJ's Rating: 10/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 60%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!
To see our review of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," click here.

To see our review of "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," click here.

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