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MOVIE REVIEW: THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES – ‘A Spectacular Goodbye’

 

 
Overview
 

Directed by: Peter Jackson
 
Produced by: Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens Fran Walsh, Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner
 
Written By: Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh and Guillermo del Torro
 
Starring: Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellen, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Evangeline Lilly, Benedict Cumberbatch, Orlando Bloom with Cate Blanchett and Christopher Lee
 
MTRCB Rating: PG
 
Genre: , , , ,
 
FG RATING
9.5
9.5/ 10


User Rating
5 total ratings

 

Raves


Ensemble and Performances, Lake-Town, Smaug, CGI, Huge-scale Battle scenes, Pacing, Ending Song, Lord of the Rings Reference/Nostalgia.

Rants


The Battle of the Five Armies build-up could’ve done better, Dol Guldur scene felt rushed.


For every series, or any piece of medium of narrative has its definite end, and in that end, this is where the known world we knew and the characters that we loved, hate or empathized, their glorious moments and the lines that stuck to us. Since 2001, Peter Jackson has brought us the world of […]

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Posted December 15, 2014 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

HBT3-fs-341051.DNGFor every series, or any piece of medium of narrative has its definite end, and in that end, this is where the known world we knew and the characters that we loved, hate or empathized, their glorious moments and the lines that stuck to us. Since 2001, Peter Jackson has brought us the world of Middle-Earth: the ring, epic battles, breathtaking and haunting locations spanning on three films; and following the prequel movies that’s back for this year, does The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies lives up to its tagline?

The last chapter  follows Bilbo and company successfully reaching the Lonely Mountain and its wealth, but while others share interest of the treasure, they all face an approaching their common enemy.

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

The film picks up with Smaug’s attack at Lake-Town, the whole scene just gives a great fiery, chaotic start of the finale, it gives you a sneak peek the tension has its own rhythmic type of pace, the sheer terror and destruction that the people of Lake Town depicted was just spot-on that the way they evoke fear touches the audience in a way, making it one of the best Cinematic moments in Middle-Earth film series.

As for the narrative, it has its own kind of mechanism in terms of the pace and structure, mainly focusing on one theme: a darker aspect of humanity. Starting the first act’s carnage, it follows a somber aftermath, of the Lake-Town folks suffering their loss and as they move on to Erebor for refuge, then we see a Thorin in paranoia, succumbed to the obsession mountain’s wealth, this is where the byproduct of his ego which the previous two films has established.

 

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

And the Battle of the Five Armies itself was just a marvelous spectacle, the size of the battle raised its bar, after the tension between the Elves, Men, and Dwarves, Sauron’s forces led by Azog had a grandeur of an entrance, boasting their numbers and bloodthirsty presence builds up the battle alone. . It doesn’t have the cliché of which side is ‘winning’ or ‘losing’, but rather it the battle itself shows detail of brutality, body count and the terrors, which doesn’t shy out the horrific aspects.  Considering the demands of the huge scale and gritty scenery, the VFX team outdid themselves in this one, especially the Nazgul fight in Dol Guldur.

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

The ensemble piece of this film didn’t only kicked ass, but they acted the character through and through and fleshed out the different layers of complexity and nuance. Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield in this one is just surreal, his paranoid, power-hungry take just makes you shiver, and the way how he expresses his eyes like a madman is utterly terrifying.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF FIVE ARMIES

Martin Freeman’s Bilbo Baggins in this one has become a fully-fledged character, this is where we see his top form after the long journey from the previous films, the actor does a masterful job on manipulating the character’s sympathy and compassion, and in this one, you can easily see that he has the complete grasp of Bilbo, and he spoke his lines with conviction and sincerity.

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Ian McKellen as Gandalf is solid as always, but in this one, he’s got his acting chops amped up and you can see and his love on playing the character, he nailed it in every scene – whether giving a battle speeches, words of wisdom or just being badass. Also, this is his performance that made us drawn to Gandalf and Ian McKellen as an actor.

HTBOTFA-14

As for Elven characters like Thranduil and Tauriel, who were always came in with grace and pride, their respective actors, Lee Pace and Evangeline Lilly were very much in to their characters that they were able to juggle their other sides as well. Lee Pace’s ability to channel a great amount of humanity towards the end of the film paid off very well as he did it naturally.

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Evangeline Lilly knocked it at the park, she gave it all on the given screentime all with heart and soul, and while she did a great job in her fight scenes as usual, she was also able to portray her character’s dramatic moment with vulnerability, her grieving was one of Lilly’s best acting on her scenes, allowing emotions flow and was able to express her eyes in subtlety, which also had a poetic essence, not to mention, the actress interacts well with the cameras.

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Luke Evans as Bard made the most out of the given material to him, he totally owned his role, considering that the character in the novel is just a random individual who came out of nowhere to confront the dragon. His non-verbal acting was just evident, particularly in the Lake-Town scene, his showdown with Smaug, and with the minimal dialogue, he expressed his determination through his eyes. And in the latter parts, he pulled off his range well and pulled off charisma, intensity and his soft side.

As for the Lake-Town bit players, I love how they were given acted like a surrogate audience, the few scenes gave them an opportunity to show their dynamics: they had some quirk, wit, great humor and courage in the battle itself, their acting remind me of a theater ensemble as well as some parallel to Eissenstein’s Strike, which mostly featured on the common people.

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee and Hugo Weaving, the series’ regulars were great to see on rescuing Gandalf, fending off Sauron and the Nazgul in Dol Guldur, it felt rushed, but I wish they had more screentime to churn their acting, but hopefully, the extended edition will address that scene, who knows?

Now going back on the question of living up the tagline, I think this last film on the Middle-Earth saga was paid off perfectly, mainly because of focusing on closure itself, in a sense that it didn’t only lived up on the spectacle and J.R.R. Tolkien’s vision and spectacle, but the film also gave a huge opportunity to the entire cast and crew on their effort on making this great film and saying goodbye to all of us, plus the nostalgia, references from the Lord of the Rings series reminds us that the world of Middle-Earth has a special place in our hearts. This finale gave a remarkable end in any series in many years, because it has its own voice that gave a goodbye.

Remembering The Fellowship of the Ring, Peter Jackson and co. managed to overcome the impossible on bringing Tolkien’s fantasy epic to the big screen, which innovated cinema mainly of its luscious storyline and scale, we’re very much grateful to have him helm all the films and for doing a tremendous job on giving justice on the material. Thank you to Mr. Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, the cast and to the rest of the people who made this journey memorable.

Another shout out would be Billy Boyd’s The Last Goodbye has its mesmerizing, bittersweet and a thank you note , it’s like a cherry on top.

Lastly, whether you’re a 2D, 3D, IMAX 3D or HFR 3D person, the film is just worth watching in any format you prefer (great replay value). The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies marks not only the best of the trilogy, but truly a defining chapter.

Photo credit: Warner Brothers Pictures

Thank you very much for Warner Brothers Pictures Philippines for the warm invites and sharing this memorable finale experience!


Mico Orda

 
A passionate, enthusiastic writer, Mico Orda utilizes his filmmaking skills to keep his writer’s edge. He enjoys a lot of outdoor activities, which juice up his creative juices.


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