The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom. Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Lee Pace, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee
Will you follow me...one last time?
Battle Of The Five Armies winds up being one of the most brisk and fast paced journeys through Middle-Earth we've yet to see. It might help that there really wasn't much left of the book to stretch and it could just sit and enjoy the story at hand. But, it winds up being a fine sendoff for a less than beloved trilogy than the originals. It feels like it went for broke and gives each character somewhat of a nice closing moment of triumph.
As the title promises, this movie basically is just one big battle. We open right up with a battle, then take a short break, and then get back to the battling. This was the first of any Lord of the Rings movie that I felt just really got right into from the start. Where we left off from Desolation, there really was no choice. We pick up with the attack on Laketown which is actually quite engaging, even though we have to pick up the pieces and reacquaint with our characters through a panic and utter chaos.
I really enjoyed how the big battle that takes up this whole movie felt like it had nice split sections. There were general scope fights and just random chaos, but then there were also personal battles, missions and stealth stuff that gave it such a different and unique flavor from the big battles of the original LOTR trilogy. The most important aspect is that this thing moved and it felt like it went by really fast. No matter how good or bad any LOTR film is, they always have felt like some grand epic movie and long. This one was I guess the ADD one and flew by for me.
The film isn't without its excess though. There were some subplots that easily could have been removed from the film had some unnecessary obstacles in the way of getting to the end credits, but overall it was just fine. This entire trilogy has been stretched, padded and rung dry, so why not a little more before its out? There was though, one INCREDIBLY cringe-worthy line of dialogue in the film to set up a character's place and relations in Fellowship that was pretty awful, when I felt for all the faults of The Hobbit trilogy, something like this was never one of them. It's one of those "I like that name...Robin" type moments.
The Hobbit Trilogy comes to a close in as grand a fashion as it could. While this film is all about the grand action/battle finale, its a very entertaining watch and manages to leave us in a most satisfying fashion. I actually found myself actually invested in the fate and well-being of the characters during the final battle. And one of the villains had an "all-timer" death scene. It left me with a positive feel about this trilogy overall, which I think is a good success of this film, because the merits and highs/lows of this trilogy will sure be a point of contention for years to come like that of another prequel trilogy. But, for now, like that one, Middle-Earth was left in a satisfying fashion.