The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

hobbit the battle of the five armies poster 2014 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 8/10

The series is over, some ok visuals

Unnecessarily bloated, full of characters you don't care about, poorly timed humor

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Hobbit:  The Battle of the Five Armies

Studio:  New Line Cinema/MGM/WingNut Films

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  December 1, 2014 (Premiere)/December 11, 2014 (New Zealand)/December 17, 2014 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

hobbit the battle of the five armies smaug laketown

The insurance rates at Laketown are going way up

The final battle is on!  When Laketown and Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) deal with Smaug, a new series of problems arise as the battle for the gold inside of the Lonely Mountain has brought out enemies all staking claims on it.  Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) has succumb to a fever brought about by the riches and Bilbo (Martin Freeman) holds the key to the kingdom in the Arkenstone.  As Gandalf (Ian McKellen) tries to stop a potential future threat, armies are forming and the battle for the Lonely Mountain will be costly.

Directed by Peter Jackson, The Hobbit:  The Battle of the Five Armies is the third and final part of the adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic 1937 fantasy novel The Hobbit.  Following The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug in 2013, the movie was released to big numbers at the box office (like its predecessors) and mixed reactions from critics.  The movie received an Oscar nomination for Best Sound Editing.

hobbit the battle of the five armies thorin oakenshield gold richard armitage

We all go a little mad sometimes…

The Hobbit holds a special place for me in that I vividly remember my sister reading it to me as a kid.  I like the action adventure of the first half but refused to let her read the ending when the characters begin to die in the battle (she wasn’t happy).  When they announced The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I was upset that they skipped The Hobbit…now, I’m wishing they had continued to skip The Hobbit.

The trick of The Hobbit is that the tone of the book is far different from the tone of The Lord of the Rings.  It is a much lighter story and only this part of the story is very, very dark.  None of the movies have gotten the tone of the story right and the jokes just don’t work when they come up.  Part of the reason for this is the obscene “trilogy” factor that was imposed on the book for money making purposes.

hobbit the battle of the five armies vs sauron

Sauron…you’ll get your chance in the next three movies

There was absolutely no reason for this series to run three movies.  The story could have been done in two longer parts or even pared down to one long film.  This movie (the shortest) doesn’t even have much of a logical structure.  The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug should have logically ended with Smaug’s death, the humans moving to the mountain, and Bilbo questioning what to do with the Arkenstone.  This movie needed action at the front of the film and the Smaug battle slid to it and ruined any chance of a flow or story arc for the movie.

In an effort to expand the film, the movie is loaded with side stories of characters we don’t know (or particularly care about) like Alfrid (Ryan Gage) who was created for the movie or characters who weren’t in the story but returned to “Middle Earth” to create more ties to The Lord of the Rings like Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Elrond (Hugo Weaving), Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), and Saruman (Christopher Lee).  I don’t care about the added in cheesy, cliché star-crossed romance between Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and Kili (Aidan Turner)…just knock thirty minutes off the whole story and give a more concise and balanced story.

hobbit the battle of the five armies thorin vs azog

Hey…can we just shake hands and call it even? Oh…sorry…

Due to the fallacies of the script, I found the actors also struggling.  The dialogue is over-the-top and drenched in forced emotion.  It is pretty amazing how far the series has fallen from the previous entries which garnered Ian McKellen an Oscar nomination for Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings:  The Fellowship of the Rings.  I have seen these actors in other films and know that they can do better, so I look heavily at the script for a lot of the problems.

When The Lord of the Rings came out it was epic and grand, but the visuals of this movie demonstrate that Peter Jackson hasn’t found a way to grow or change in his filmmaking.  The faster frame rate shooting style gives the movies an almost video quality and the smaller story of The Hobbit lacks the epic nature of the first films.  The movie comes off almost like a BBC mini-series with ratcheted up action sequences instead of the quality you’ve come to expect.

hobbit the battle of the five armies bilbo baggins martin freeman

At least my adventures are over and everyone lived happily ever after…

I’m kind over The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  The first set of movies enhanced the tales by elaborating and showing connections that might not have been picked up upon by readers.  They took J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing and demonstrated the best parts of it.  The Hobbit films shows Tolkien’s weaknesses and faults (yes, let’s just have the eagles show up every time that it is inconvenient to write something else but not any time before when it would actually be helpful).  I can’t give this movie a completely negative review because it does have some quality to it, but it is tedious and the culmination of three movies of frustration.  It reminds me of watching the The Chronicles of Narnia TV adaptation.  You watched it because you were happy to have a live action Narnia, but it wasn’t that good.  I’m thankful that the series is over and I no longer feel an obligation to it…which is sad since the book holds a special place.  I think I’d rather watch the 1977 Rankin-Bass animated version.

Related Links:

The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey (2012)

The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

The Lord of the Rings:  The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

The Lord of the Rings:  The Two Towers (2002)

The Lord of the Rings:  The Return of the King (2003)

The Hobbit (1977)

The Return of the King (1978)

The Lord of the Rings (1978)

The 87th Academy Award Nominations

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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