Wednesday 17 December 2014

The Hobbit; The Battle of the Five Armies - A Review

As my last post intimated, I have been looking forward to this movie a fair bit and managed to get to see it yesterday.

The title of the movie pretty much sums up what the movie is all about and most who will go a see it will have a pretty good idea of what the movie is all about.

As with all Peter Jacksons' LotR/Hobbit movies, it is credited as being 'based on' the works of mr Tolkien and as with any Hollywood blockbuster they've got to play about with things a fair bit to make it acceptable to the great unwashed. With that said and understood and knowing that the film was going to be an action-fest with characterisation and indeed the plot loosely based on the book I was happy to go in a watch a 'switch your brain off' entertainment film.

And all in all thee were no disappointments as Mr Jackson has delivered more of what he promised and the franchise goes out with a suitable bang.

No surprises with Smaug getting his just comeuppance at the hands of Bard the Bowman in the opening stages of the movie after he has torched most of Laketown. (I do like what they've done with Laketown and the look of the urban environment definitely tickles my terrain making juices).

The whole early piece of the movie sets up the situation nicely and still keeps the pace up while reminding everybody on what happened in previous episodes.

The mid part of the movie tidies up some of the set pieces which had been left un-resolved in the previous Desolation of Smaug. A particular favourite is the freeing of Gandalf from Dol Guldur, with some nice touches and cameo's here which are totally non-canon but good movie stuff.

The bulk of the rest of the movie is un-surprisingly the main action in the title and generally worth the wait though again the drift of the action has little to do with the battle as described by Tolkein (which doesn't go into a great deal of detail anyway) but goes the winded up hollywood story version instead which is a good visual feast.

Again I'm happy with this and the film concentrates on the main characters individual actions and builds detail around these which all makes good cinema. I particularly like Thranduil here (very nicely played by Lee Pace) and is suitably haughty and Woodelf King-like (though his mount with the nudge bars is bit over the top), not my usual elf-disliking self.

All the cameo's are well done in fact and the cast throughout is well cast with Richard Armitage doing a good job of Thorin's gold lust and doesn't get too cheesy.

I also noticed some of the cut scenes.

There are a number scattered across the film and the locations are very picturesque and indeed again several are very cinematic. A good job there too, a couple being very Japanese art cinema inspired I'm sure.

Of course the bit everybody wants to see is the main action and the battle is well done but as said only a few scences have the 'big picture' particularly in the early opening stages of the battle.

Lots of epic action and big nasty monster types and all the evil protaganists are suitably bad and as ever in these things always seem to be better a killing folk.

All in all the troops depicted I liked the most were the Dwarves of the Iron Hills. I like the look of them and how they behaved in the battle.

Actually with that said, all in all the people that don't come out in a very good light all in all are the humans. In the film very small in number (compared to everybody else) and generally looking quite shabby compared to the more (I suppose stereo type racial cousins).

I did groan a bit when I saw (or more rightly heard the voice) of Dain when the Iron Hills Dwarves make their appearance, with the light relief character being in the form of Billy Connelly. Though I did get the joke of the 'Big Yin' playing a Dwarf, I would of been happier with someone like Ray Winston as Dain,

I can see the script for the character did sit with someone like Billy, who does what he kind of does now a days. But that's a minor gripe, I still liked the dwarves.

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable romp with all the usual heart strings being plucked, heroic stoicism, self sacrifice, bravery, love, loss etc etc. All that you could want from an epic.

Once the dust has settled, this one gets a 9 out of 10 'must see' from the Warblog.


  1. It was a nice end to a trilogy that could have been a bit better. But nonetheless, was still a fine watch. Nice review Hendrid.


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