By Nico Beland
Movie Review: A- (3 stars)
WARNER BROS. PICTURES, NEW LINE CINEMA, AND MGM
So it has come to this, the third and final installment of The Hobbit film trilogy based on the book by JRR Tolkien. It is also the final adventure in Middle-Earth with director Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong, District 9) who delivered a monumental finale to The Lord of the Rings film trilogy with Return of the King, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies on the other hand certainly ended The Hobbit adventure on a strong note, but not quite as strong as Return of the King.
Battle of the Five Armies feels like it took the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 route where most of the movie consists of epic clashes between our protagonists and antagonists. Now that’s not a bad thing, but it is rather noticeable, in the previous films, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug, the stories offered enough time to develop the characters, send them on their journey, and introduce new characters along the way.
Honestly this is a nitpick, but Smaug’s entire screen time in this movie could have been added into part 2, it feels like he just comes in, burns down the village, makes threats, and BOOM, he gets stabbed by an arrow and falls to his death, literally that’s it.
After the fire-breathing dragon, Smaug (voiced again by Benedict Cumberbatch-Star Trek Into Darkness) takes his revenge out on the dwarf village, burning everything and almost everyone, and falls to his death, we find Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman-The Pirates! Band of Misfits, The Office UK, The World’s End) and the entire company of dwarves, Fili (Dean O’Gorman), Kili (Aidan Turner-The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones), Oin (Adam Brown), Gloin (Peter Hambleton), Dwalin (Graham McTavish-Rambo), Balin (Ken Stott-King Arthur, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian), Bifur (William Kircher), Bofur (James Nesbitt-Match Point), Bombur (Stephen Hunter), Dori (Mark Hadlow-King Kong), Nori (Jed Brophy-The Lord of the Rings trilogy), Ori (Adam Brown), and their leader, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage-Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Into the Storm) having reclaimed their homeland from Smaug and on the brink of war when the truce between dwarves and elves comes to an end, thus resulting in Thorin leading the dwarves into battle with the elves. Obsessed with his reclaimed treasure Thorin sacrifices friendship and honor to hoard it as Bilbo attempts to make him see reason, which results in the burglar Hobbit to make a dangerous choice.
But there is a greater danger coming, only seen by the wizard, Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen-X-Men franchise), the great enemy, Sauron sent four armies of Orcs to attack the Lonely Mountain. As the Orcs approach, the races of Dwarves, Elves, and Men must make a decision, unite or be destroyed and thus the battle for Middle-Earth comes to an end.
Overall, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is a satisfying ending to The Hobbit trilogy and it was wonderful to experience the Lord of the Rings world on the big screen again, it was quite a journey, but all great journeys must have an ending and I’m glad they ended the franchise on a strong note. It was certainly more satisfying than the ending from The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2, the less I say about that mess, the better.
Although I would have liked it if Elijah Wood from the original Lord of the Rings trilogy returned at the end as Frodo Baggins, much like what they did at the beginning of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. But one thing I really liked about the ending was that it ended exactly where The Fellowship of the Ring began, which left me very satisfied once the credits rolled.
But I like I said, it’s no masterpiece finale like Return of the King, but I don’t think it needs to be, just a satisfying conclusion to an iconic film trilogy, with action, drama, and impressive special effects. I’m glad I had the opportunity to visit the Lord of the Rings world once again back in December 2012 and I treated all three movies in The Hobbit trilogy like The Lord of the Rings films, swashbuckling adventures from start to finish, it’s a shame that no matter where Battle of the Five Armies ends, we all know the One Ring will eventually be thrown into the volcano.