So here we are. The final Hobbit movie, and the final movie to be set in middle earth for the visible future.
I’ve been one of those people who actually like the Hobbit movies. I mean compared to LoTR, yes, these are inferior movies. But I personally never felt that these were supposed to be compared to LoTR. The Hobbit book came before the LoTR’s books, and was always a much smaller and more focused adventure. There was never too much at stake on the line, just some dwarves trying to get back their gold. And I think it’s an accomplishment to the devotion of Peter Jackson that he was able to widen the scope and stakes in a believable fashion using a combo of original ideas and other stories from Tolkien lore.
So now that we’re at the end of this, admittedly a stretched and bloated “trilogy” of movies, the question still remains, “Is this as good as LoTR?” No, not really. Does it at least connect smoothly to LoTR? Surprisingly yes. Is it fun? Oh you bet your butt it is.
It’s pretty apparent now that Peter Jackson must’ve been showing a lot of restraint when it came to the LoTR trilogy, because there’s so much fan-service here I feel like I’m at freaking comic-con.
“Just how are we going to wrap up this situation Gandalf has wound up in Mr. Jackson?”
“I know! Have Christopher Lee and Hugo weaving come in and kick the crap out of the ring-wraiths!”
“That’s awesome! But what if we had Lady Geladriel come in and go all creepy voice on Sauron?”
“Let’s do it!”
Actually the really surprising part is just how well all the added in stuff works. I think that might actually be this trilogy’s greatest strength. (well except for the dwarf/elf love triangle thing, that’s still bonkers) You’d think that this being the movie called, “The Battle of the Five Armies,” that the movies greatest strength would be action. And while that’s mostly true, the action does feel a little to CGI heavy most of the time. It’s mostly apparent at the start of the battle itself. Now this might be contributed to the fact that I saw this, not only in 3D, but in the really high frame-rate 3D; so this flaw might not be as noticeable if you just go for a normal showing.
No, what’s really surprising is that this films strongest strength might just be how well these characters are rounded out in this last movie. As weird as the elf/dwarf love triangle thing is, it’s actually given a pretty strong resolution.
Martin Freeman continues to do a great job as Bilbo, Ian Meckellin is still awesome as Gandalf, and hey even some of the dwarfs get some nice thoughtful character moments. But the movies greatest strength might just be Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. He really gets to show his full range of acting as Thorin in this one, who by this time has gone full on crazy due to the Arkenstone, or lack there of. It’s surprisingly deep for all the crazy fantasy stuff going on.
But let me stress the fact that once this film enters the “final” final battle, it’s pure fantasy gloriousness. The movie just starts not only going over the top, but blowing the freaking roof off with insane one on one duels, crazy kills, and all the insanity that actually makes the whole series unbelievably worth it. If you’re one of those people that doesn’t like this series, I dare you to get to the end of this movie and say you weren’t entertained by the final act. It manages to give the best action this franchise has scene while still sneaking in some really emotional gut punches. And one word. EAGLES!
So could this movie have stood to be a little better? Yes, in fact I think ‘Desolation of Smaug’ was a little bit better. But I still had a lot of fun with this, and the entire trilogy. This one will still probably make my top 10 for the year list just for how much fun I had with it alone. And well, it’s pretty sad to see this series go. It’s been a long, pretty darn good haul, and I don’t think that we’ll be seeing Middle Earth on screen again any time soon.
So, so long Middle Earth, and good job Battle of the Five Armies. You may not have been the Hobbit film we needed, but you’re defiantly the Hobbit film we needed to send us off.
The Media Fire gives this movie 8/10