Peter Jackson finally brings us the final instalment in the Hobbit Trilogy entitled, The Battle of the Five Armies. For those few not in the know , The Hobbit takes places sixty years prior to The Lord of the Rings.
The Battle of the Five Armies is the epic finale of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. The third instalment deals mostly with Thorin’s newly acquired kingdom and homeland of Erebor or The Lonely Mountain.
As word gets out that Smaug the dragon does not occupy the treasure of The Lost Mountain, armies gather to the site for riches and power. If that wasn’t enough Sauron, The Dark Lord, has assembled an army of Orcs to take over The Lonely Mountain. Dwarves, Elves and Men must decide to either work together or be vanquished by Sauron’s army.
This 15 year journey that started with The Lord of the Rings should have ended on a high note with The Battle of the Five Armies, but in my opinion, it was a bit of a letdown. Peter Jackson is a great story teller but his use of new technology has a lot to be desired. The manner in which Five Armies was filmed was to give the moviegoers the feeling of being with the characters in the film. Unfortunately, I felt as if I was sitting in on a rehearsal instead of watching a movie. Gone was that feeling of being swept away to another time and place. Another problem was the absence of Bilbo Baggins in the film. Bilbo represented the audiences’ point of entry into middle earth. Without him, I felt that the film lost its direction and I was not on this quest with him but was reduced to a simple spectator.
Another problem that I could see: the battle scenes looked epic but lacked that sense of realism or urgency with the use of CGI instead of real people and actual sets. For the most part, the battle scenes looked like something straight out of a video game. There is an action sequence with Legolas that looked like a rip-off from Prince of Persia…even audience members called it out, so I wasn’t the only one thinking it. Last but not least, as I am sure most fans of this series would agree, that perhaps the Hobbit should have been reduced to two films at most.
All in all, the last installment of The Hobbit is worth your time, if you invested yourself into this series but dial down your expectations on this one. I find that this film franchise once made with passion, has been reduced to a CGI spectacle and it deserves to be so much more.