The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
Critic Consensus: Though somewhat overwhelmed by its own spectacle, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies ends Peter Jackson's second Middle-earth trilogy on a reasonably satisfying note.
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News & Interviews for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Critic Reviews for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Untold manpower, pixels, and money culminate in the gangbusters final installment. It can't redeem the useless tedium of the first two, which exist for gargantuan profits and structural necessity.
Well, at least there won't be another one for a while.
It's adequately visionary, it's routinely spectacular, it breathes fire and yet somehow feels room-temperature.
It plays out as if someone chucked a whole bunch of carefully detailed Warhammer figurines into a centrifuge -- goblins, goats, dwarfs, wizards and wolves bouncing off one another in waves of alternating tedium and punishment.
It's a big, bold, schizophrenic pageant that still manages to work on a surprising number of levels -- creative liberties and indulgences be damned.
Audience Reviews for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Here we are, the final chapter in this blatantly over-milked adaptation of the Tolkien Hobbit book. If you've been following this franchise up to this point (stupid thing to say really) then you'll know this movie completes the story arc for Smaug the dragon, Bard and Thorin. Sauron himself pops up along with Saruman to hint at what is to come in the follow up trilogy, after freeing Gandalf, but as the title suggests the main crux of this movie centres around the battle at Lonely Mountain for the treasures deep within. The most impressive part of this entire movie is right at the start, the destruction of Laketown by Smaug. Whether or not you agree that this sequence should have been at the end of the second movie is no longer of importance really, we all know it should have been. Nevertheless this sequence is mightily impressive with full-on dragon kickassery as Smaug swoops down, back n forth, carpet-bombing the town with a tsunami of fiery death. Even though we have witnessed much death and destruction in these movies up to this point, there is something quite brutal and genuinely terrifying about this slaughter. Alas its all brought to a stupid conclusion with the way Smaug is brought down, one black arrow hitting one small chink in the dragons armour. I believe this is in the original book but the way it plays out on the big screen just feels totally unachievable, even for a fantasy film. What's more, this entire sequence is the climax of the original book, yet here its all done and dusted before the opening credits. From this point onwards its merely a case of Jackson moving the various chess pieces into position for the long drawn out CGI battle at Lonely Mountain. Unfortunately that is exactly what makes up the rest of this movie, an elf army turns up to help the people of Laketown and retrieve a precious elven item from the mountain. There is already an army of men led by Bard, there are a couple of orc armies marching to the mountain, and a dwarf army arrives on the scene too. There is virtually no plot here, its quite simply...everybody wants the gold...fight!! What little else you see is basically padding and invented for the purpose of the movie. Lets get gritty, the battles, that's what its all about, how good are these battle sequences. Well first off we've all seen the LoTR's trilogy and the previous two Hobbit movies, so basically we've all seen this before. No I'm not being harsh, this movie actually feels like a rehash with the same CGI battles over and over, nothing new, its been done to death by Jackson and co now, battle fatigue much! The CGI in question looks pretty bad too, I kid you not, its like the quality is basically about on par with the original trilogy or worse! (LoTR's trilogy finished in 2003). Seriously there was very little here that actually jumped out at me, accept for the Smaug devastation at the start, everything else just felt like watching solid videogame sequences (again). To make matters worse the greenscreen was horribly obvious throughout, obvious and everywhere. In general, I think watching masses and masses of CGI men, elves, orcs and a variety of beasties, clash in a clinically sterile CGI arena or environment, has just become tiresome. Yes I know everything does have an aged, weather-beaten appearance but it still doesn't detract from the shiny plastic looking visuals and rag doll effects we get with CGI. What really amazes me though is how this movie franchise never seems to grow up, the amount of deus ex-machina bullshit that still goes on is mind numbing. Time and time again various characters could and should be killed outright but the enemy pauses, or uses a non-lethal blow, or falls over, or gets shot with an arrow by someone else at the last second etc...It really becomes a joke, the entire climax for the this movie is one big deus ex-machina, everything that Legolas does is a continuous deus ex-machina moment...with gravity defining skills. During the main overly long battle sequence Azog and some of his orcs appear to be watching the battle from the peak of a mountain or cliff, what mountain/cliff is this?? The battle ground is quite flat and expansive, so where on earth is Azog standing because from his viewpoint its right over the top of the battlefield. Oh and how do orcs control Were-worms?? During the battle the elves and dwarfs suddenly appear with these battle rams? like...where the fuck did they come from??! Oh and the way they run up the steep mountain pass with riders on their backs is inane. One other thing that made me laugh, the orcs are winning at one point, the dwarfs were staring defeat in their hairy faces. Luckily Thorin and his tiny band of fellow dwarfs decide to join the fight and run headlong into the battle, and this somehow rallies all the dwarfs to fight? eh? I also love how predictable Jackson is with his battles. I think in every one of these movies he's had a moment where one army, or group of people, is saved at the last minute when another army, or group of people, decide to attack and save the day in a stirring heroic manner. Then at the end of all that, after all that fighting and bloodshed, the battle just ends. Bilbo and Thorin have done what they needed to do elsewhere and that's all we need to know, so apparently the hundreds of thousands of elves, men, orcs, goblins, dwarfs etc...all just finished the battle and went home. Bilbo is a secondary character in his own story (its more about Thorin), we don't actually see what happens to most of the characters at the very end after the battle (Dain?), the battle itself was an anti-climax. Billy Connolly was dreadful as Dain the dwarf, I hated how Legolas is told to go find Aragorn at the end (this makes no sense if you do your homework), I hated how Legolas is at the forefront of this movie, and the Grima Wormtongue rip-off character Alfrid, was a cringeworthy rehash. What's so utterly ridiculous (and kinda insulting) about including Legolas so much is the fact there is zero tension in whatever he does. He keeps getting into these tight situations of certain death, but its all for nothing because we know damn well he isn't gonna die (facepalm!!). I'm not really an expert on the Hobbit book and its content but I do get the impression Jackson and co really really wanted to make these movies identical to the previous LoTR's trilogy. I think we all know now how much was stuffed into these films which wasn't suppose to be there, and I think its obvious that it was done to ride on the coattails of the previous trilogy. Its funny that Jackson is actually trying to leech off the success of his own movies...and can't manage it. The fact he clearly tried to cash in on the franchise by making this adaptation into a trilogy was probably his downfall. This final chapter really feels very anti-climatic, the main criticism being its badly over stretched and padded out (obviously so). I mean come on, virtually the whole movie is that one battle between the five armies, and its not even that good! (thank God for those eagles huh).
A deeply exhilarating thrill ride but if not a little exhausted! Nothing new brought to the cinema.
The film is essentially a 2 hour and 30 min action sequence with the best production values money can buy. Forget having a narrative, lets just throw as many action sequences together and loosely string them together with a premise that we'll call a plot. The pacing isn't even good either, Smaug's death was underwhelming and completely overshadowed by later events. Rather than "The Battle of Five Armies" why not call it "A Dragon dies and Legolas beats everyone up."? The Hobbit trilogy started out as a decent set of films but has whole heartedly embraced the fact that it's nothing more than fanservice for the LOTR franchise. Some may love it for that fact but as a film critic I simply can't be so forgiving.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Quotes
|Tauriel:||If this is love, I do not want it. Take it away, please. Why does it hurt so much?|
|Thranduil:||Because it was real|
|Thranduil:||Because it was real.|
|Thorin Oakenshield:||If more people valued home above gold, this world would be a merrier place|
|Thorin Oakenshield:||If more people valued home above gold, this world would be a merrier place.|
|Legolas:||These bats have been bred for one purpose.|
|Gandalf:||This was the last move in amass up there, a plan, long in the making.|
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