The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Review

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies movie posterSynopsis
After dealing with the dragon, Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch (voice)), who had been living in the dwarf home of Erebor, Thorin (Richard Armitage), and his soldiers must now protect it from those who wish to take the vast treasure for themselves.

I think it is interesting how much The Hobbit films have mirrored the Lord of the Rings films.  Each movie did a great job of building the characters and tension from the last. The second entry of the two series leaves each Baggins and their respective groups in interesting places for the third one to pick up.  Then the third film offers the biggest and best action sequences of the trilogies.

The Battle of the Five Armies picks up exactly where The Desolation of Smaug leaves off, with Smaug heading off the destroy Laketown.  I’ve compared The Hobbit series to the Star Wars prequel trilogy before and I’m about to do it again.  Slight spoiler warning.  Smaug’s treatment in this film was like Count Dooku’s in The Revenge of the Sith.  They were both the big bad from the second film in their respective series, and then they don’t last past the first scene of the third film of their series. It’s slightly disappointing because he was the best part from the previous movie.  For Smaug to appear for such a short amount of time made him feel out of place. I almost wish they would have finished his portion of the story in his film.  I know that The Desolation of Smaug was already long enough but with the power of editing it could have worked.

Like many modern blockbusters with heavy action sequences, this movie piles on the CGI.  When dealing with something like five large armies, it is to be expected, but some things that could have been done practically (and would have looked better if done so) weren’t.  For example, the leader of the large dwarf army, Dain, is completely animated and it is very easy to tell.  There are several close up shots of him that would have looked several times better if Billy Connolly had been in a costume.

One scene I found particularly interesting was not even one of the many action scenes.  After Smaug is defeated and Thorin is consumed by the large treasure, he walks into a great hall where a vision-like sequence begins.  My friend was telling me that this scene seemed to divide fans but I thought it fascinating.  The symbolism of him being consumed by the gold and him falling victim to the same greed that befell his grandfather, something Thorin swore to never do, was apparent without saying a single word.

Just like The Return of the King, the action sequences are on a much larger scale than the previous two movies.  There is also little time for the characters, or the audience, to catch their breath.  After the short Smaug sequence, there is a little breather where we see Thorin and how he and his relationship with his friends have changed since they started on their journey.  But before two long, the titular battle starts and it consumes the rest of the film.  The sheer scale of the battle is impressive, and very action packed.

I thought The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was GOOD :-).  Like The Return of the King, it gave the trilogy some of its biggest and best action scenes.  Although I think Smaug should have been confined to one movie rather than feeling stuck into this one and the CGI was overused.  But all in all, it gave a very epic and exciting conclusion to the series.

Also check out my reviews for the rest of The Hobbit trilogy: An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug.


Cast & Crew
Peter Jackson – Director / Screenplay
Fran Walsh – Screenplay
Philippa Boyens – Screenplay
Guillermo del Toro – Screenplay
Howard Shore – Composer

Martin Freeman – Bilbo
Ian McKellen – Gandalf
Richard Armitage – Thorin
Ken Stott – Balin
Graham McTavish – Dwalin
William Kircher – Bifur
James Nesbitt – Bofur
Stephen Hunter – Bombur
Dean O’Gorman – Fili
Aidan Turner – Kili
John Callen – Oin
Peter Hambleton – Gloin
Jed Brophy – Nori
Mark Madlow – Dori
Adam Brown – Ori
Orlando Bloom – Legolas
Evangeline Lilly – Tauriel
Lee Pace – Thranduil
Cate Blanchett – Galandriel
Hugo Weaving – Elrond
Christopher Lee – Saruman
Ian Holm – Old Bilbo
Mikael Persbrandt – Beorn
Sylvester McCoy – Radagast
Luke Evans – Bard
Stephen Fry – Master of Laketown
Ryan Gage – Alfrid
Manu Bennett – Azog
Lawrence Makoare – Bolg
Billy Connolly – Dain
Benedict Cumberbatch – Smaug (voice) / Necromancer (voice)