The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies Review

I recently saw the third and final installment of the Hobbit trilogy. Well, that’s not entirely true. I saw the first two, and then the third. All in one day. I went to the Hobbit marathon on Monday the 15, two days before The Battle of the Five Armies was released for the rest of America. It took about 8.5 hours to watch all three movies, and I have to say, it was awesome. While I’m not a fan of all the changes that Peter Jackson has made, I still really enjoy the movies. I’ve given up hoping for them to be accurate to the book, and go into the theater simply looking for a good movie. That said, here’s the review.

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

Battles aren’t what they used to be.
Now, they’re just a few airplanes dropping bombs here and there. Long ago in Middle-Earth, however, battles were the stuff of legend. Vast armies, with thousands upon thousands of foot soldiers, clashed together. Mutual obliteration is assured, of course.

And that’s essentially what this movie is about. The fighting. That giant dragon from the end of the last movie doesn’t play into the plot much. In fact, he’s killed in the introduction, before the subtitle comes up. Instead, the movie focuses on Erebor’s treasure, and the conflict it creates.

I’m not going to try to summarize the entire plot, because that would take too long. Suffice it to say that Thorin won’t share the treasure he’s gained, and the elves and lake-men are prepared to fight him for it. Meanwhile, in Dol Guldur, the Orc army under Azog and Bolg that we see in the second movie marches upon the Lonely Mountain. The dwarves, elves, and men, seeing the Orcs, attack them instead of each other. And the Battle of the Five Armies ensues.

So, things I liked about the movie:
1. Thorin’s treasure sickness. Peter Jackson really focuses on how consumed Thorin is, and some splendid acting by Richard Armitage really makes it stand out. This is such an important aspect of the plot, and it’s done very, very well.

2. Faithfulness to the book for some main aspects. All the characters who are supposed to die do die: Smaug, Thorin, Fili, and Kili. While I admit it was hard watching them get killed, I’m glad that PJ didn’t deviate in that major detail.

3. The visuals. All the visuals are absolutely spot-on. Erebor, the ruins of Dale, Laketown’s destruction, pretty much everything! The character and location design are wonderful. One thing is a little weird, though: Dain’s mohawk. It just seems a little out of place. Aside from that, though, all the design is fantastic.

4. The creature design. Some of the creatures are a little weird, but they’re mentioned in the books, so I’m OK with it. Like the half-trolls and the Were-worms. Those are actually mentioned in the books, so I think it’s kind of cool that PJ included them.

5. The Dol Guldur battle. That was just plain awesome. Saruman dished out some serious wraith-fighting. And it’s very book-accurate. Sure, it’s not in The Hobbit, but Tolkien does mention it in the appendices in ROTK.

And now for the things I didn’t like.

1. First and foremost, Tauriel and Kili. I can understand that PJ wanted to add some romance to the movie, but between an Elf and a Dwarf?! Really? Absolutely, completely ridiculous. At least one of ’em dies so we don’t have to watch them get married. Ugh. Oh, and did I mention that Tauriel isn’t even supposed to be in this story?

2. The title. It’s supposed to be just “The Battle of Five Armies.” No extra “the” necessary.

3. The stunts. I’m all for cool stunts and action moves, but in this movie, they seemed a little excessive. (I’m looking at you, Legolas!) And that entire battle on the fallen-tower-turned-bridge is just crazy. Completely against the laws of physics.

4. Azog. A character who should have only occurred in a minor flashback takes on a major role in this movie.

5. Smaug’s death. It happened too soon. In the first 20 minutes, he’s dead, and the plot moves on. Not to mention the way he was killed. Bard strings up his broken bow, sticks the ends into two pillars, and uses his son’s shoulder as an arrow-rest. First off, this wouldn’t have worked. The two ends of his bow couldn’t have been attached strong enough to withstand the tension from the bowstring. And the whole William Tell-like thing was supposed to be touching, but it came off a little cheesy, in my opinion.

6. Beorn. We don’t see nearly enough of him. In the book, he plays a key role, killing Bolg, rescuing Thorin, accompanying Bilbo home, etc. In this movie, we see him jump off an eagle and change to a bear in midair. That’s it. Maybe 15 seconds, little enough that it could be called a cameo.

7. It’s so bad that I’ll mention it a second time: Tauriel and Kili.

8. The violence. It’s a bit excessive. Do we really need to see all those Orc decapitations? Enough said.

Spoilers end here

Well, that’s about it. Despite all the things that I disliked, it was still a wonderful movie. And seeing all three at one time was an amazing experience that I really enjoyed. So now all the Middle-Earth movies are done, and I’ve enjoyed all of them. I’m a bit disappointed that the Hobbit movies are so inaccurate to the book, but still, they’re extremely good movies that I enjoy wholeheartedly.

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5 thoughts on “The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies Review”

  1. I mostly agree with you. In regards to the Legolas falling bridge stunt, in the books elves are supposed to be the lightest creatures in Middle Earth (that’s how Legolas can wank on snow in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring). In addition, you don’t have to worry to much about Beorn because PJ has already gotten so many complaints about not having enough of his in the movie that he said he will include up to 20 minutes of Beorn scenes in the extended versions. But anyway, great review, and, like I said before, I agreed with you on everything else.

  2. Very good review, Kevin! We both did end up seeing the triple showing on the same day. I wonder if we were in the same theater. O_ o Anyway, I agree with everything that you said EXECPT for Azog, I actually really like what PJ did with him. And yes, while he may be a bit weird/overdone, PJ needed a “main bad guy” that wasn’t a ghost. 🙂 I mean if you think about it, in LOTR we had Lurtz, Saruman/Grima, and the Witch King. All were good bad-guys but were overall ruled by Saroun. But back to Hobbit, yes. Oh and while Legolas’ stunts were overkill, he’s an elf. But besides those two things you said everything just right!

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