Though I know it’s been a while since this movie came out, I wrote this when I first saw it and thought it worth sharing again.
The final installment of The Hobbit trilogy has come to the movie world and fans are not disappointed. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies only takes up a few pages in the book, but the movie is a riveting 144 minutes that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. The characters, from the majestic elf-king Thranduil to the terrifying dragon Smaug, are presented in an epic story that people want to watch again and again.
The movie begins with the death of the dragon in the first five minutes. Voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, Smaug looms in your nightmares. He is a truly terrifying character that leaves the viewers scared and breathless as the story begins to unfold. If the movie starts with the end of Smaug, the audience can only guess what Peter Jackson has in store for them at the finish.
Balancing out the scariness of the dragon and various orcs that are beheaded in the movie, there are a lot of elements in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies that make you smile. For example, the abundance of animals that are used as a mode of transportation. Radagast (Sylvester McCoy), a wizard very different from Gandalf (Ian Mckellen), rides a sleigh pulled by rabbits. Thranduil (Lee Pace), the elf-king, rides a great moose into battle. Dain (Billy Connolly), Thorin’s cousin, a character introduced in this movie, rides a big pig. Bats were used by the orcs to attack everyone, and used by Legolas to sneak up on the orcs. And there’s one point in the movie where a few dwarves find a few mountain goats, and for whatever reason decide to ride them. I’m not sure why there’s a whole zoo in this movie, but it makes the viewers smile.
Another funny element of the movie is the perfectly placed dialogue. Laughter could often be heard after little quips from Bilbo (Martin Freeman). The character Alfrid (Ryan Gage) makes everyone laugh in his attempts to evade the war and his participation in it, which included dressing as a woman.
The Hobbit, the prequel to The Lord of the Rings, isn’t a large book, and when Peter Jackson decided to split it into three movies, people were a little confused. There didn’t seem to be enough story for a trilogy of three-hour movies. But Jackson made up for the lack of story by embellishing moments and characters that only appear in the book for a sentence or two, such as the white orc, Azog (Manu Bennett). Other characters were added in too, such as Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom). Legolas isn’t in the Hobbit, and Tauriel didn’t exist until the movie.
Fans of Tolkien’s books were sorely disappointed at the changes, especially since it included a love triangle between Legolas, Tauriel, and a dwarf named Kili (Aidan Turner). This element of the story has been described as very “un-Tolkien” and has been a source of complaint for many fans. I thought it did seem out of place, but the tension between Tauriel and Legolas and the heart-wrenching final moments between Tauriel and Kili adds more excitement to the story than it takes away.
One of the main characters that takes away from the story is Thorin (Richard Armitage). He’s the reason the battle between five armies happened, because he’s prideful and annoying. His character stayed true to the way Tolkien wrote him, but that doesn’t make him any more likeable. His actions, such as calling the dwarves to war, asking if they would follow him “one last time,” caused the death of many other very likeable characters, including Thranduil’s moose. Without giving any spoilers (though the book is 75 years old, everyone should already knows what happens) I can say that Thorin’s pride is what leads to his downfall.
In comparison to the Lord of the Rings, I believe the Hobbit trilogy is significantly better. Some people prefer the Lord of the Rings because of all the singing the dwarves do in An Unexpected Journey, and because some believe that the Hobbit movies couldn’t possibly reach the bar that Peter Jackson set a decade earlier with the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I think that because the Hobbit trilogy was made ten years later, it had an advantage over the Lord of the Rings in technology and were made into better movies. Though they are pretty equal in awesome-ness, the Hobbit movies don’t have Frodo. Therefore, the Hobbit is better.
In summary, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, finishes off the Hobbit trilogy magnificently. Though it strays from the book, the changes made the movie bigger and better. I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys Lord of the Rings or the other Hobbit movies, or who enjoys an amazing story that will have you crying one moment, laughing the next, and sitting on the edge of your seat egging on the dwarves. Many fans are sad that the story has come to a close, but thankful they were able to experience Middle Earth one last time.