Peter Jackson's second Middle Earth trilogy wraps up in this shortest entry. That is, if short is 2 hours 24 minutes to you. Although the battle portion of the Hobbit book is thought of as an epilogue to the whole adventure and doesn't have all that much time attended to it, Jackson decided it was worth 2 and half hours of screen time. Some of the content really is worth the time, but the rest like parts of the previous two films before it isn't so much.
Fortunately and unfortunately Smaug's opening scene is fantastic and the highlight of the film. It serves as a fantastic opening, but then puts to shame the actual battle of five armies. You also know deep down watching it that the Smaug scene would have improved Desolation's ending ten-fold.
Martin Freeman is great as Bilbo Baggins and one half of what holds this movie together. But it's Richard Armitage's fashionably late turn as Thorin that truly sticks scenes to your eyes with a fantastic performance as he fights the Dragon's Disease, which is another way of saying he has lots of gold and gets greedy.
When the actual battle begins Jackson handles the camera with a beautiful eye for capturing the battles as he has done previously but if someone was to walk past and look on screen, completely out of context of what was on they might ask; "What's this animated one called then?"
The Hobbit films have all had a very plastic look to there CGI but it was quite awful in The Battle Of The Five Armies. Combine that with an awful fight scene with Legolas and the movie can be outrageously ridiculous. It just seemed like Jackson got an amateur special effects and CGI kit for hi birthday and went crazy with it.
When I watched The Fellowship of The Ring for the first time I had no idea what I was in for, I hadn't read the book, I didn't even know it was a book. That movie filled me with joy and genially scarred me with it's villains. But I just don't find Azog to be as menacing as even a pawn Orc from The Lord of The Rings Trilogy, he simply looks to be made of play-doh.
If you wasn't a fan of the Jackson injected folly of romance between Evangeline Lilly's Tauriel and Aidan Turner's Kili don't expect to be moved here either. Although the romance coped a lot of slack online I will stick by my comments of enjoying the aspects it had to offer. That said; Battle of The Five Armies ruins any hopes and dreams I had for the relationship, instead going on a very stereotypical route and leaving Tauriel in a stupid place as a character.
The Battle of the Five Armies manages to leave many things and people in weird place or simply un-explained at all. For continuing characters into the Lord of The Rings Trilogy it makes sense but leaving someone like Bard and his co un-explained or even not explaining what exactly happens to the gold and jewels in the mountain. Instead of any of the information that might be interesting to tying up this trilogy we receive several corny scenes involving Bilbo, Legolas and Gandalf setting up for you to boot Fellowship of The Rings following this feature. Jackson tries to tie the films together nicely but it's not coy or cute, it's loud and obnoxious, we as an audience aren't that dumb and we know what we're watching as we know the sky is blue.
The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies isn't a bad film and it's certainly leaps and bounds ahead on the chart compared to an Unexpected Journey. It still just misses everything that made Jackson's first trilogy so great. It's a decent finale to the trilogy but you will be sticking those Lord of The Rings discs in the blu-ray played nine times out of ten before you put any of the Hobbit films on.
+ Smaug's Descent
+ Freeman and Armitage
- Corny Tie-In
- Un-answered Questions
- CGI still bad