THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES | MOVIE REVIEW

How does one begin a review on the concluding episode of one of the greatest movie sextets in cinema history? One deliberates for a week after seeing it. If we separate the movies into two trilogies then by far the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy is the superior, original Star Wars Trilogy of the two and THE HOBBIT is the prequels, literally. And like the Star Wars prequels, THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES comes out as the last and best of the prequels but if we compare it to any of the movies from the original masterpieces it falls to bits. THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES still makes my top 20 movies of 2014 and I will see it again. It is out in Australia on Christmas Day with thanks to Roadshow Movies, it is M rated and is the shortest movie in the sextet, coming in at 144mins. 

 

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THE HOBBIT: BATTLE OF FIVE ARMIES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY JASON KING

THE HOBBIT: BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES begins immediately following the conclusion to THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, Smaug is flying towards Laketown and shit is about to hit the fan. Shit does hit the town, on an epic scale. The battle scene over Laketown is remarkable, but from my addled memory of reading the book years and years ago I thought most of THE HOBBIT was about the dragon, Smaug, yet Smaug’s demise comes to its climax at about 20mins into the movie. The rest, well, the battle for the mountain, oh and the very cooly handled bridging bits with THE LORD OF THE RINGS.

I usually attend THE HOBBIT premieres with my Tolkein bestie, Sam, work dramas saw him have to cancel, and cry, on the day, so I got to take my 13yr old nephew/ ex-neighbour/ godson/ cool kid I worship, Finn, to the premiere, let’s just say he now worships Sam for giving up his ticket. We had a ball, dinner, free popcorn, free drinks, softdrink and wine #winning and we got the best, my favourite, seats in the house. We then discovered we were experiencing the premiere in the new ATMOS sound system, speakers also all over the roof, something as a cinema technician I was yet to experience. Technically, the presentation, sound system and movie were flawless, 5/5, amazing, ATMOS is the future people!! Sydney needs to catch up with more ATMOS. Twenty minutes into the movie Finn and I looked at each other beaming, big grins on both our faces, we just nodded, this was going to be awesome!

 

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THE HOBBIT: BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | SMAUG

 

Now, after Smaug’s demise, the movie shifts to The Lonely Mountain, and the battle for it. To me, it seemed of little relevance, to Finn, who remembered the book much more than me, he says it was a very swift battle that took up little of the book, for the movie though, it is a conclusion to a sextet that had to be epic in every way, and epic it is. They throw it all in, giant headbutting trolls, humongous Elvin battle maneuvers, huge Dwarven pigs, and a battle scene that trys and succeeds on levels of epic as much as the battle scenes in LORD OF THE RINGS, the issue was the motive behind the battle. I always felt the Elves were a peaceful, logical, highly intelligent, race, much cooler, early Vulcans so to say, but then why is the Elvin leader, Thranduil, a heartless dick, who is there for rare diamonds that belong to the Elves and little else, the motives of the Orcs is pretty flakey and the Laketown people throw it all in (do or die) because they want the reward they were promised, compared to the reasoning of the battles in THE LORD OF THE RINGS, as in the end of Middle Earth, this is a pathetic backyard squabble.

Even worse, Thorin, has dragon treasure greed envy illness, and turns into a tool. By the end of the movie I wasn’t really a Thorin fan and thought Kili (Aidan Turner) would have made a better leader, speaking of Kili, didn’t remember him from the book, he made me shed many a tear in his dramatic demise! Never expected that, I loved him, he was my Zac Efron looking dwarf, why was he so hot for a dwarf anyway? Oh yeah, he was that way so they could add into the trilogy at least one love story, that of him and Elf Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly). She learns about love and goes from a battle hardened warrior to a blithering love-struck idiot in this one. She wasn’t in the book, and shouldn’t have been in the movie. Although I preferred her in all THE HOBBIT movies over having Legolas (Orlando Bloom), who IS NOT EVEN IN THE HOBBIT BOOKS!! He is in the movie purely as a familiar face and familiar moves and to be the lovestruck Elvin royalty who is a superspunk and loses out to Kili in the love stakes. Don’t get me wrong, has has some awesome scenes, but I felt they were a bit over done and way more over the top than what we got in LORD OF THE RINGS.

 

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THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES | MASH UP PHOTO

 

I  was also disappointed in Gandalph in this one, he just felt like an extra, I did love Radagast (Sylvester McCoy) and the awesome battle with Elrond (Hugo Weaving) getting in the action and using his sword when Sauron decides to apparate (thanks Harry) – I could have handled more of this fleshed out. I found Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) was unnecessary but it was cool seeing her uber angry demon-like elf appear again. Saruman (Christopher Lee) was pointless but it was these scenes that we start seeing the commencement, the echoes, of THE LORD OF THE RINGS take hold and the bridging of these two trilogies is superbly handled, I loved seeing that because of this action in THE HOBBIT, that will take place in THE LORD OF THE RINGS.

Upon much pondering I do feel that THE HOBBIT fails as a trilogy compared to THE LORD OF THE RINGS because it lacks the superior essence that made the RINGS work, character cohesion and chemistry, developed and strong storylines, a story that was cut down immensely to make a work of tight brilliance. THE HOBBIT has underwritten additional characters, characters that don’t make sense or are unnecessary and besides a few key members an incredible lack of group chemistry. I fear what Peter Jackson avoided the most about making these films came to be, studio interference, or did Jackson sell out to make the movie into three? I think two better fleshed out movies that were compacted would have been much better than three drawn out and underdeveloped movies.

 

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THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | THE DWARVES

 

I know I have been negative a lot, but the battle scenes are truly great and it these scenes that I felt tinglings of the greatness of THE LORD OF THE RINGS appear, it was this passion of the protagonists knowing they may die but still going for it that was truly epic. The closing scenes that complete the bridging with the RINGS had me dribbling tears knowing this was the end. I really hope they do not do any more, they need to let this lie and allow other fantasy books to be made on the same level.

I do recommend seeing it in 3D, some great effects and the majority of people will hate 48fps – I quite enjoyed it, once used to it. If you can find a cinema screening it in ATMOS watch it in that one. Realistically this movie should not have made my top 20, I am kicking myself, that spot should have gone to ALL IS LOST, but the experience I had watching it with Finn, the way it was presented and the hype of the night made me love it much more than I do in deliberation and hindsight, a reason I have equaled out by balancing my score with Finn’s.

RIP MIDDLE EARTH – I SHALL VISIT YOU IN THE BOOKS AGAIN SOON.

 

HONORARY KERNEL FINN POP SCORE:

5 Pops

JK POP SCORE:

3 and a Half Pops