REVIEW — “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
The final installment of the Hobbit trilogy is everything you’ve come to expect… which is its biggest problem.
The sixth film in the Tolkien saga opens immediately where the last ended, with the dragon Smaug’s thrilling attack on the nearby town of Esgaroth. Fifteen minutes later, the title card is shown and arguably the best moments of the film have already past. What follows is just more of the same that was perfected in “The Lord of the Rings” over a decade ago. Familiar characters come and go. Good characters are overcome by greed or fear. Bad characters kill some of the good. Countless CGI soldiers and monsters battle. And just when things couldn’t get any darker, just when the last of our heroes are about to fall, giant eagles sweep in to save the day.
What can be said about this movie that wasn’t already said in the last two Hobbit reviews? The casting is great, the performances are great, the dialogue as good as it can be considering the source material. (A small children’s book in comparison to the massive LOTR) The CGI looks like it always has (Which is a bit dated now) While “An Unexpected Journey” can be praised for including some of Tolkien’s unfinished revisions to the original story, “The Battle of the Five Armies” makes it painfully obvious that this tale has been stretched too thin. There are too many scenes of pointless posturing by characters, and too many moments when there is a sudden lack of urgency to make a dramatic or comedic beat. Also, who exactly are the five armies? During the final battle scenes it seems more like 4 armies, with half of one group arriving a bit late?
What was once groundbreaking and Oscar-winning has been reduced to the mundane. If you are fan it’s definitely worth watching and will be required to complete your collection on disc, but it’s about as far from a unique cinematic experience as one can get.
Note: I swear I saw Bryan Cranston as one of the army soldiers…
3 out of 5 Stars