The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies is the last film in the Hobbit series, based on Tolkien’s story, which serves as a sort-of prequel for the incredibly popular The Lord of the Rings. The (relatively) short book has been turned into three films, because the Lord of the Rings series was also three films long, although they were based on 3 separate books, unlike the Hobbit. In this final instalment, the main characters defeat Smaug and join together to fight the Orcs, a villainous species on Middle Earth and an old foe of our heroes.
After the cliff hanger of the last film, when Smaug is set free from his lair and flies off to Lake-Town, where the humans live, the audience anxiously awaited the release of this film. As expected, Smaug and the people battle it out for their home and survival. Then, the Wood-Elves and some more Dwarves arrive as the final battle commences. Spoiler alert: if you’re not a fan of beloved characters dying, this definitely isn’t the film for you! Having seen all this, Bilbo returns to the comfort of his home a different man, changed by his experiences.
As with the previous films, the acting is top-knotch, but it’s particularly obvious here. Our characters change and develop – Thorin is almost driven mad by his new-found power and gold, and the cold barriers of King Thranduil break down to reveal a warm and loving heart. Featuring guest stars Cate Blanchett and Billy Connolly, we’re enthralled and charmed by the new takes on old faces.
The use of CGI is also particularly noticeable in this film, because of the animated legions of thousands of troops marching to battle. It’s also clever how tall actors like Richard Armitage are made to look half the size of the humans and elves – a long, long way off putting shoes on their knees and walking like that, as they might have done in the olden days! The siege and fires of Lake-Town are also particularly well done, showing perfectly the death and destruction wrought by the dragon Smaug.
Die-Hard Tolkien fans might complain that it doesn’t stick strictly to the book, because it adds in new characters and subplots that weren’t originally there. This is true, with the addition of female characters Tauriel and Galadriel. Nevertheless, many people will enjoy the new perspectives and original ideas brought to the storyline.
Another complaint that could crop up is that the final battle takes up the majority of the film. Much of the film is based on this, but it’s different to the Lord of the Rings in that it focuses more on how individual characters fought the battle, and what they did, rather than there being a lot of scenes with massive legions of CGI soldiers and shots of the battle from overhead. Also, the title is the “Battle of the Five Armies”, so it clearly centres on this climax of the story!
Overall, if you enjoyed the other two films, then you absolutely must go and see this film. That said, you probably were going to anyway! If you haven’t seen the other two films, though, don’t watch this one before you see them. Otherwise, it won’t make much sense to you. The film appeals to both loyal Tolkien fans and newbies to the franchise alike, and is suitable for everyone to watch – a worthwhile family trip to the cinema.
Image from: http://www.hypable.com/2014/09/18/hobbit-the-battle-of-the-five-armies-character-poster-lee-pace-thranduil/