The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Thus, the final chapter of the Hobbit trilogy brings the Tolkien film saga to a close. At least until Peter Jackson pulls another trilogy out of his ass, because why stop the money train now?
Directed by Peter Jackson, The Battle of the Five Armies stars Martin Freeman as our hero, Bilbo Baggins, as he gets knocked out and sleeps through the final battle. Along with him are thirteen dwarves, none of whom have any defining traits aside from their leader Thorin as played magnificently by Richard Armitage. They are all completely interchangeable with each other and it would be of no consequence if any of them died because they’re all exactly the same.
Except none of them are actually even the focus of their own movie, because inexplicably the plot has shifted focus away from the protagonists towards Bard (Luke Evans) and the story of his command of the people of Dale after Smaug’s attack. This portion of the film is completely uncaptivating and frankly, would have been better off cut out of the movie and left in the inevitable extended edition release on home video.
The plot also shifts focus towards resident jackass king of the elves, Thranduil, as played by Lee Pace. Frankly, Mr. Pace needs to be given credit for his performance. He perfectly captured the essence of Thranduil as a pompous, arrogant royal who you’re supposed to gain some sympathy for at the end but really just still feels like a dick.
The viewing audience also has the dubious benefit of multiple characters being introduced without any implication of their mere existence beforehand, let alone plot relevance. For example, Thorin’s cousin Dain, who had a CGI generated face which just barely rivaled the graphics output of a PlayStation 2. This is fairly understandable due to Dain’s actor, Billy Connolly, having Parkinson’s and therefore having to record his lines in a booth while his character was animated. At least, it would be understandable if they couldn’t cast someone who had the capability to deliver his lines in the first place. I do have sympathy for Mr. Connolly, but the fact of the matter is, if your actor is incapable of playing their role, for whatever reason, you either recast the character or cut the part.
Another issue with CGI in the film was one scene where resident elf Legolas (Orlando Bloom) does some interesting parkour-style running. In that moment, the character looked more fake than professional wrestling. There were some disturbing acrobatics and flexing that looked in no way, shape or form anatomically possible for any human or elf.
Aside from those two instances, however, there was absolutely no problem with the CGI. Let me reiterate this one simple point: there was in no way, shape or form a problem with the CGI. The CGI didn’t stand out in any glaring way, it fit in with the universe and frankly, I couldn’t tell that it was computer-generated imagery. To be frank, anybody who claims to be able to see the difference is a liar unless the CGI in question looks something like Roger Rabbit.
Finally, we have Galadriel (Kate Winslet), Saruman (Christopher Lee) and Elrond (Hugo Weaving) responding to Gandalf’s capture at the end of The Desolation of Smaug. None of them get any closure in the ending of the movie either, although you have the Lord of the Rings trilogy to continue their story so it gets a pass.
The standard congratulations go to Howard Shore for making a fitting soundtrack that is completely forgettable except for the Shire theme with those pan-flute notes repeating in your head ad-nauseum. It was an alright soundtrack but you will remember virtually none of it and for that I can completely understand why, unlike it’s predecessor trilogy, the Hobbit trilogy will not win any Academy Awards for its score, let alone be nominated for one.
To sum things up, the Hobbit was an alright movie and an alright end to an alright trilogy. It is a perfectly mediocre film that you’ll probably forget about unless you’re a Tolkien fan at which point you’ll never shut up about how it butchered the original novel, if you can call a glorified children’s book a novel.
It is a perfectly average, run of the mill, by-the-numbers blockbuster. It takes no risks in its plot, it asks nothing of the viewer and by the end it simply degenerates into the good guys defeating the bad guys. It’s the movie equivalent of comfort food and if that’s your thing, you’ll enjoy the movie. If it isn’t your thing, then take a pass on it. Life is short and there are better films to piss away your time watching.
End of story.