The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Directed by Peter Jackson
Starring Starring Ian McKellan, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luke Evans, Lee Pace, Evangeline Lily, and Orlando Bloom.
At long last, we have come to the end of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy. I’ve been enjoying the trilogy for the most part, but in expanding one novel into an entire trilogy, you can feel the padding. At the end of the second film, I left the theatre thinking, “But what’s left? The slay Smaug, there’s the Battle of the Five Armies, and then it’s done!” However, the Battle of the Five Armies — the epic conflict that ends the novel — is something I’d wanted to see on the big screen ever since I saw the first film in The Lord of the Rings back in the day. Once more unto the breech, dear friend….
The dwarves have reclaimed their mountain kingdom of Erebor. However, their leader Thorin is being consumed by “the dragon sickness,” an overwhelming greed for the mountain’s treasure as he searches for the Arkenstone…the jewel which symbolizes his reign. Meanwhile, the humans of Laketown have slain Smaug the Dragon, and their new leader Bard takes the refugees and heads for Erebor, hoping to seek shelter from their ruined town and use the share of the gold promised to them by Thorin to rebuild. The woodland elves led by Thranduil then arrive, wanting the return of the treasure that Smaug has stolen from them. And, the orcs are on the march to claim their vengeance on the dwarves once and for all. The armies are at the ready, and the stage is set for a battle to determine who will claim the treasure of the Lonely Mountain. And in the middle of it all is one Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, who hopes to make peace between all the forces before blood is shed.
What I Liked
We finally get to see the Battle of the Five Armies in all its glory, and it is magnificent. Bard the Bowman doing away with Smaug is a wonderfully tense scene, even though it was made a bit bigger and more spectacular than it is in the book. And it’s great to see Thorin’s story come to a satisfying conclusion.
What I Didn’t Like
I’m a little miffed that Bard the Bowman slaying Smaug is kind of relegated to a James Bond-style pre-credits sequence here, when it would have made a much better climax to the last film. And I’m still not sure what the whole stuff about the Necromancer had to do with the whole saga of the Hobbit, but at least it was done with in the first 20 minutes so we could get back to the plot. Even though this is the shortest in the trilogy, I kept glancing at my watch wondering when they’d get on with it.
Same assessment I’ve been making for the rest of the trilogy: it’s fun, and it’s great seeing my favourite scenes from the book on the big screen at last, but you can feel the padding.