With the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Peter Jackson puts a cap on his Middle Earth Saga. And much like the way George Lucas wove his Star Wars epic, Jackson’s second prequel trilogy does not hold up to his first masterpiece.
There is an irony in all of this, since the Lord of the Rings trilogy – released during the time Lucas’s Star Wars prequels were being released – proved that a CGI movie could tell a good story. The Lord of the Rings had a rich story with complex character development and the special effects only enhanced the tale.
Unfortunately, The Hobbit does not have the same source material. The 1937 novel is only about 300 pages long and far too short for three movies. And with The Battle of the Five Armies – the shortest of the movies at 144 minutes – the thin source material shows.
The movie picks up right after The Desolation of Smaug ended with the titular dragon flying to Laketown to punish the people with fire. The destruction of the town and ultimate defeat of Smaug too the first half hour and then the other two hours contained a drawn out battle for the riches in the mountain.
We see Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) go mad with what was called dragon sickness while the Elvish king Thranduil (Lee Pace) and the dragon slayer of Laketown Bard (Luke Evans) look for their cut of the riches, which were promised to them by Thorin and then reneged.
Ultimately a CGI battle occurs with the Elves, Dwarves and Men fighting the orcs. An army of giant eagles ago come to the aid of the good guys to round out the five armies.
Much like Lucas’s Revenge of the Sith, The Battle of the Five Armies wraps itself nicely and connects it with the original trilogy.
There are some nice scenes in the flick, especially the one with Lady Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), Lord Elrond (Hugo Weaving) and Sarumon (Christopher Lee) coming to the aid of Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and fighting the ring wraiths. But those are few and far between as the movie does drag.
And even though, it’s called The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is not the focus of this film and his fine work gets lost in the shuffle.
Looking back, a Hobbit trilogy would have been better served with shorter movies. Sure New Line and MGM want to make as much money as possible with their franchise, but if they kept all three around two hours each, a much tighter story would have been told.