Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Review of THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF FIVE ARMIES: Not the Spectacular Finale Expected

December 16, 2014




Even for the past two installments of this film franchise, I have been wondering why the title is "The Hobbit", when the main story had really been more about Dwarves. In this film, the chief Dwarf Thorin Oakenshield and his internal conflict was the central plot around which the other stories revolved. Even the Elves Legolas and Tauriel had more scenes than our solitary hobbit, Bilbo Baggins. The only scenes Bilbo totally owned for himself were those in the last five minutes.

Within the first 10 minutes, Smaug, the dragon (with the booming voice of Benedict Cumberbatch) who attacked Laketown at the end of Part 2, was already down and out of the story. For the rest of the 134 minutes running time of this film, we will be watching battle after battle among various armies trying to gain control of the massive trove of gold that Smaug left behind in his old lair in Erebor. 

Because Thorin was overcome with madness from "dragon sickness", he refused to peacefully negotiate with the Humans (led by the Bard) and the Elves (led by Thranduil). This eventually leads to war -- a five-way battle along with two groups of vicious evil Orcs (led by Azog) and finally, the Great Eagles (with Radagast and Beorn). 

If you have seen the past two episodes, the level of acting of the cast is basically the same. Nothing so special, but nothing so bad. Richard Armitage does very well in the major role of Thorin. He imbues the character with dignity and honor, despite his initial turn to the dark side. Martin Freeman does his best with the limited screen time of Bilbo. Other actors who stood out were Aidan Turner as the lovestruck dwarf Kili, and Luke Evans as the Dragonslayer Bard. 

Aside from seeing Ian McKellen (Gandalf) and Orlando Bloom (Legolas) again, it was also very good to see a lot of cameos from other members of the original LOTR cast, like Cate Blanchett (with an intense Galadriel vs. Sauron scene), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), Christopher Lee (Saruman) and Ian Holm (Old Bilbo). On the negative side, there is Ryan Gage and his supremely annoying slimy character named Alfrid whom I'd rather not see or hear.

The expectations for a truly spectacular finale in this film was not really fully met because of some really disappointing visual effects in a lot of key scenes. There were scenes of Dwarves riding goats up a rocky mountain or Legolas hitching a ride on a bat in flight that really looked fake. The worst was the scene where Legolas was climbing up rocks as they were falling down from a crumbling tower/bridge. The CG was so bad in that one, it looked like Legolas was running up in thin air. Someone slacked off at post-production and the usually meticulous director Peter Jackson complacently allowed the subpar work to end up in the final print.

Speaking from the point of view of a non-LOTR fanatic, this whole Hobbit film franchise could have been just one big film or maybe two at the most. Even if it was interesting and engaging, the story felt too overstretched when director Peter Jackson decided to make it into a three film series. Despite taking three films to tell, the story still felt incomplete. At the end of the third film, there was no scene telling us the political aftermath of the battle, nor the fate of the gold, which was the main cause of the war in the first place. 

I felt that the second film, "The Desolation of Smaug" was the best of the trilogy. It had the best part of the story, the best action sequences and the best special effects of the three. (My review of the first two films is posted HERE.) Anyhow, I liked the tying-in of certain details in this film to the first LOTR film. It makes me want to watch that first series all over again. 6/10.



28 comments:

  1. Review 4/10
    Since nobody has ever commented on your not so spectacular reviews (sorry).. why not try understanding the books and make your own movie.?

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  2. This is barely a review. Read first and UNDERSTAND what the whole trilogy is about.

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  3. 2/10 for you buddy.

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  4. is this a publicity stunt? you clearly have not read the book. Peter Jackson even added characters and scenes that are not in the book, but still managed to stick to the story. I bet you will have a "Great" comment for upcoming movies on MMFF (Mediocre Movie Film Festival)

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  5. Such a sad sad review... I pity you.

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  6. Any review for that matter is very subjective. It is so too dependent to the one who did it whether he is paid or not. Whether he did it for personal reason. Whatever it is, he or she is entitled for what he/she had written. Go ahead of what you think you're right. I do respect your position in presenting and expressing your thoughts.

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  7. Just saw the film yesterday with the whole family...you are right, the CGI on this film is awful, not at par with LOTR. The minute I and my kids saw that scene with Legolas climbing on those crumbling rocks, we all said it was the worst CGI on a huge film, reminiscent of that awful scene in DIE ANOTHER DAY, where you have James Bond surfing between ice bergs... Laughable.... Not much of a story on this third installment, but some of the fight scenes were stylish and spectacular... Okay na rin.

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    1. Don't you know the power of Elves and how they manage to overcome the impossible scenarios of events?

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  8. I can't say much about the movie because I haven't watched the former films nor I have read the books so I can't really relate to this review. But I heard from my friends, they liked it.

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  9. I'm going to watch it anyhow. Already made my reservation last week for my tickets to this Sunday show! Can't wait!

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  10. so if there'll be a Silmarillion movie you be like "Oh and they have giant fire beings that looks like devils which is impossible since this is not earth. They are called Balrogs like in Street Fighter

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  11. But I'm still gonna watch it just to connect some missing links from part 1 and 2. Then I'll have my own closure.

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  12. Great review. I am going to watch Hobbit. I liked all the series of hobbit and lord of rings. Thanks for sharing.

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  13. ooh, this movie is my one of must watch. will definitely check this out to complete all the collection.

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  14. I have not seen a single LOTR movie. (cue in shock face hehehe) I know the attraction of this movie. I have seen the trailer. The cinematography looks amazing.

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  15. i am going to watch this The Hobbit the battle of five armies this weekend

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  16. I can't wait for this movie. I actually never read the whole review.I think there's a spoiler? Lol I'l just watch it tomorrow.

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  17. I might watch this one after I watch the first two movies this Christmas break. It's nice to know that they brought back the iconic characters from the LOTR franchise. i would love to see that.

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  18. I totally missed all three hobbit films. That's the problem when you stretch the story, you tend to disrupt the flow of the story line and you compromise the quality.

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  19. This is something I haven't read. So I can't really say much. It's safe to say though that we have different opinion on different matters, so people would either say it's great or not, depending on their perceptions and preconceived notions. They have their impressions and their expectations. Well, I am up for watching this film soon. Waiting for my friends to give me a copy.haha

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  20. I can't wait to see this movie! One this is for sure, I like the sound track of Hobbit by Ed Sheeran! There will be different reviews, and im sure people will still love this movie!

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  21. It will take time for this movie to be released in India but I am definitely going to watch it. Your review has really made be hyper excited to watch the movie :D

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  22. Hmm.. not a fan of this kind of movies. Still lot's of friend are asking me to join them so maybe I will .....

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  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  24. I've never watched The Hobbit series and don't quite get the script either. I enjoy reading your reviews because you are thorough and balanced. The great thing about movies is that there is something for everyone.
    BTW, why are you approving rude, troll comments on your blog? Don't give them space as their comments are offensive and distract from the excellent work you do. :-(
    PS. Deleted the last comment because of a typo.

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  25. I think this is going to be a spectacular movie because of the special effects of the epic battles, probably that is what makes the film worth watching, anyways great review as usual!

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  26. I only watched one part of it and I'm too lazy to continue all haha :p

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