Review: ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’

By on December 23, 2014

The end is nigh … or is it just the beginning? In the story of Middle Earth “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is just the midpoint. But this is the end of the films directed by Peter Jackson based on the works by author J.R.R. Tolkien.

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” begins exactly where “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” ends and it is also the end of the fire breathing, gold hoarding dragon under the mountain. “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” ends-with an actual flashforward — where “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” begins. In between there are appearances from all the characters moviegoers have grown to love: Gandalf the wizard (Ian McKellan), Bilbo Baggins the hobbit (Martin Freeman), and Legolas outlaw elf (Orlando Bloom). What is missing is the magic present in the previous five hobbit-featured films.

The dwarven company of Thorin Oakenshield (and one hobbit) — each of them a gifted actor — couldn’t save “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” from being a cap on a canister of film to put this double trilogy to bed.

The dwarven company of Thorin Oakenshield (and one hobbit) — each of them a gifted actor — couldn’t save “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” from being a cap on a canister of film to put this double trilogy to bed.

A few new characters dot the landscape of what is otherwise a reintroduction of familiar faces. The scenery is there. The action is there. The acting — especially Bloom and Freeman — is there and good. But there was just something missing. What was missing was the impending adventure of battle. It seemed like this movie was just a cap on a canister of film to put this double trilogy to bed.

I just came away feeling Jackson and his production crew simply mailed this one in. If this is the trend, I am glad there is not a fourth Hobbit movie, because it would surely be a bad one. Of course, this movie has a specific draw. Those who have invested time in the series will surely fill theaters to get their resolution. Those who have not followed the six-film, fantasy epic of all things hobbity surely are not going to shell out cash to see the final installment.

So, essentially, there is nothing I can say to sway people to see or not see this movie. I can only say I saw and I was disappointed — disappointed because this is the end of films based on the magnificent novels of J.R.R. Tolkien and disappointed at the lackluster finish provided by Jackson.

So, what’s next for Peter Jackson? The kiwi has admitted his sojourn into Middle Earth has taken many years off his directorial career and he hopes to create films on a smaller scale in the years to come. Jackson reached cult acclaim with his first couple of films: “Dead Alive,” a zombified story of a mother on the hunt for flesh; a gruesome love story named “Heavenly Creatures,” which is also set in New Zealand (starring Kate Winslet); and his first foray into full-length feature filmmaking, “Bad Taste,” which introduced us to alien fast foods of human meat.

Jackson, as producer, will continue his relationship with directing genius Steven Spielberg in their continued hopes to bring Tintin to worldwide audiences. “The Adventures of Tintin” (with Oscar-nominated score by Oscar by John Williams), which is based on the 20th-Century European comic strip of the same name, was released to a lukewarm audience in the United States in 2011. “The Adventures of Tintin: Prisoners of the Sun” is scheduled to begin production soon in anticipation of a 2016 release date.

Through Middle Earth, Jackson has introduced millions to the beauty of his homeland, New Zealand. He plans to focus on the stories of his native land. One upcoming project will focus on the English “dam busters” of WWII. The last surviving bomber pilot from the expeditions to destroy German dams is a kiwi and Jackson has commented in numerous interviews the time to make the based-on-a-true-story film is quickly approaching. Stay tuned …

Agree or disagree? Reel Reviews works like this: 1) Watch a movie; 2) Send suggestions, comments and criticism to Michael at SomeProMCU@gmail.com.

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