Full disclosure, I’ve never been real interested in the original LOTR trilogy. I never saw any of the movies and read none of the books. However, I was kind of pulled into the trilogy and was quite entertained. It was no surprise that a marathon was going on for the final movie and I figured it might be worth it.
Before I really begin I think everyone knows but its still worth mentioning that the movie is heavily CGI. It’s probably more than the previous movies. I personally did not have a problem with it because even though some have issues, I felt it kind of worked especially in this world of monsters and magic and it looked really nice on screen. The movie was apparently shot specifically for 3-D which also worked to its benefit. Along with the other two movies, it was easily the best 3-D experience I have had and one of the only movies have seen it work for in such a way that is beyond a gimmick.
Of course everyone should know that the movie begins exactly where the last one left off. It is pretty intense and one of the best parts of the movie… for like the first 15 minutes or so. It honestly didn’t need to be apart of this movie and could have been included in the last movie to put it over the top as a great movie instead of a great tease. Other than that this movie really is all about the battle of the five armies (I think, I don’t know if it was five armies because no one I talked to counted five, maybe I could get some help with this). The battle really was the majority of the movie and while epic in grand nature, it really played up the suspension of disbelief with some of the spots (don’t worry, no spoilers). There were some standouts during but it’s your usual suspects with guys like Thorin (Richard Armitage), Thranduil (Lee Pace), Bard (Luke Evans) etc. I was perplexed by the shoehorning of Legolas (Orlando Bloom) into the movie as I’m under the impression that he wasn’t necessary for anything but to add depth to an awkward love story that was less than needed and turned me off in a way the movie before didn’t for whatever reason.
The only thing was that in order for the battle to really mean something you have to have some sort of reason which would have come across better if the circumstances surrounding Thorin were not so… odd. The motions he was going through were a bit forced and coming out of it was just as convenient. Not only that, it doesn’t help that Thranduil was almost as bad and if you blinked you missed the whole reason he was such a tool. Bard seemed to be the best part of the movie from a character standpoint as he was kind of an everyman that became a hero to his people and led them was because those following him weren’t warriors. They were just people (which by the way either speaks highly of his ability as a teacher or the orc’s futility as warriors… or both). Once Thorin and his people joined it really meant something. I needed Thorin to settle his score with Azog in spectacular fashion and for the most part I was satisfied.
Bilbo (Martin Freeman) had somewhat of a smaller role but the moments with him in the film did count as he played the foil to Thorin and did so in this one and their scenes (especially at the end) felt natural and heartfelt. This was his story and it was an extraordinary journey taken on by an ordinary guy to get a small group of people their home back. Also, having Gandalf (Ian McKellen) looking over you and providing his wisdom doesn’t hurt. Which brings me to the only part I didn’t touch on which the film kind of glossed over too. The necromancer seemed to be a bigger issue than even Smaug or the treasure hidden in the mountain. Instead, it got resolved by a couple of overpowered wizards and another mary-sue of a wizard that seemed to be on her death bead at one point before no-selling everything the big bad Sauron could throw at her. I don’t know, just thought it deserved more (but the nine rings thing was pretty cool).
Verdict: For it being the final installment, they sure threw everything at it they could from a visual and action aspect. Some were still left wanting a cleaner battle but it’s fine for me. My time in the theaters (nine hours) was pretty worth it as I think seeing them all consecutively made the movie slightly better than it may have been alone. I don’t claim to know about LOTR or any of the lore surrounding the franchise so I’m sure there were some displeased in one way or another (there always is). I’m just speaking as a person who wanted to see a good ending to a solid trilogy and I guess I got that much. There were clear instances were the movie was more flash over substance but in the end it is a children’s story. The movie (especially some of the lines and characters) actually felt like I was watching GoT for kids to which both stories teach the same lesson… just learn to share.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies gets a 3.5 out of 5
+ Best movie to date to see in 3-D
+ Loved Bard at just about every part of the movie
+ The battle for the most part was quite enjoyable
– Love story was highly unnecessary
– Wished they would have fleshed out some of the characters and plot points instead of taking the easy way out
You can watch The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in theaters worldwide now