12 December 2014 | jgarbett-510-54203
A fitting send off to the greatest fantasy film series ever.
Now I personally enjoyed the first two hobbit instalments as much as each movie of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, though without a shadow of a doubt the original trilogy is far superior (probably due to the fact the book it is based on, is far stronger) I still find each of them incredible films and after the agonising and excruciating cliff- hanger of the Desolation Of Smaug, I was highly anticipating the third concluding chapter: The Battle of the Five Armies.
The Battle of the Five Armies forsakes the tradition of prologues that would often go back in time from the main narrative and instead thrusts us into the action, sending us with a flurry of excitement into Smaug's attack on Laketown, it is truly a spectacle to watch, building up the suspense and then being the perfect pulse racing build up and is one of the standout set pieces of the year as we finally see Smaug the terrible lay wake to the town, and as the title card appears over the ruined Erebor, the film continues to be the ultimate goodbye to Middle Earth, high on energy, whizzing through scenes at a breakneck pace until the credits roll.
In an attempt not to reveal any spoilers about the film, I will not delve into anymore of the plot events, needless to say this movie has countless scenes that Jackson is known for. He masterfully strings together the best elements of his Middle Earth films into one package. Amazing characters with brilliant performances, standout and beautiful settings and design of Middle Earth, a beautiful epic yet emotional soundtrack and of course: incredible action set pieces to make one visual masterpiece. Jackson who has had two films worth of build up really tests the characters to their limits. Thorin has more to do than ever before and Armitage plays the part perfectly, not to forget Martin Freeman, who has a stunning emotional moment which had the audience blubbering with tears. Whilst the previous cast all fulfill their roles masterfully, Evangeline Lilly and Aidan Turner both continue this slightly cliché romantic subplot but one that is given far more weight in this movie and really contributes to the plot this time and does not feel tacked on which did seem to occur with Desolation of Smaug.
The action as well is the best of the whole middle earth saga, the battle of the Five armies feels like Jackson looked at Minas Tirith, saw everything that worked and decided to turn it up a notch. Full of epic moments, awesome fights, giant armies clashing and the final showdown with the long awaited Thorin vs Azog does everything right with brilliant performances all around and the best one on one action scene in the series between Legolas and Bolg is a pure delight to watch.
The film for me embodied what I loved about: The lord of the rings. Whilst the action is marvellous and the best of the series, it's the emotional tone that ends the last ten minutes that makes The Battle of the Five armies such a brilliant goodbye as it is the end to the Hobbit tale, whilst still being a set up for the Lord of the rings and being one last farewell to the series that has touched so many viewers across the globe as Billy Boyd ends the series with a nostalgic note with his song.
My only few complaints is that much like in the Desolation of Smaug, the lonely mountain theme from An Unexpected journey does not appear, instead the 'house of durin theme' seems to be the most prominent, though I have understood it could be a copyright issue which in that case cannot be helped. Also though the film went by in a blur, I wish it could of been longer, most of the dwarfs don't get as much screen time as they should of and the ending feels like such a flash but perhaps that may be because I was desperate not to leave Jackson's middle earth vision for the last time, there was a lot of questions that were left unanswered admittedly and it does feel like they took the climax of the second movie, when the Hobbit was only two films and then extended it for as long as they could without overstaying their welcome, but these are all very minor gripes in what is a magnificent experience to see on the silver screen.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the ultimate send off for the Middle Earth saga. In a trilogy where the quality of films has got progressively better, the Hobbit which easily could of been a supplement to the Lord of the rings, feels like a significant half of the Middle Earth saga. It's crammed with nolstagia, especially when Shore reuses some classic themes. There's some minor gripes but I frankly don't care, this is Middle Earth at it's finest and it ticked all the boxes of what I wanted to see and what I wanted it to do. It was an emotionally powerful, spectacle filled ending to the greatest fantasy cinematic series of all time.