Review By Skylar Stone. Scores by Skylar and Javin Stone
Biggest detriment to the score here is that this is third movie that starts off with how the second one should have ended. It does not even backtrack like the previous film as this is literally the next part after The Desolation of Smaug. No time is lost between the two films making it hard to see with knowing at least how the previous film went. Other than this issue the movie does progress in an organic manner and much the like the previous movies tries to balance all of the main characters, which as you can tell from the poster is a large cast. The movie ends wrapping up The Hobbit Trilogy and sets up the Lord of the Rings, which is exactly how you want a franchise to end.
So many dwarves, so little time for development. Only a few of the Dwarves feel like main cast members and this movie does not do much to change that. Given that this movie takes place 60 years before The Lord of Rings trilogy it has given a chance for some of the characters like Saruman (Christopher Lee still casting spells at 92!), Elrond (Hugo Weaving), Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), and even Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellan) to show off their skills. This is a highlight for this movie as the endless warfare in the majority of the movie is rather underdeveloped as it does not show anything not previously in The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings. The role of the Necromancer introduced in The Desolation of Smaug does not really develop much in this movie making the role a bit odd given how his involvement is resolved. Bard (Luke Evans) and Bilbo (Martin Freeman) are probably the only characters in this movie that felt like a improvement from the previous film giving them both their due and cements their impact on the Universe.
The first “Visual” I saw for this movie was in the music video for Billy Boyd’s “Last Goodbye“, since I had already planed on seeing the movie I did not watch many trailers until they aired on TV after Thanksgiving. This music video kind of framed how I saw the movie; reverent and bittersweet. From the snow covered battlefields to the ruins and empty halls both in Erebor and in Bag End, solidified that victory and adventure against the odds come at price. This symbolism provides a lot for movie goers that have made the journey with the Dwarves or Hobbits to show that this is the end of one trilogy and the beginning of another. New Zealand once again provides the perfect backdrop for a world lost in the past of endless forests, massive battlefields, and rolling hillsides filled with wonder and magic. I personally had some issues with the differences in the look of the Trolls (and Wargs but that was obvious in An Unexpected Journey), I wrote off the 3 in the first movie as they were Mountain Trolls but in this movie they have slave Trolls just like in Lord of the Rings and they barely look the same. I know it sounds a bit nit-picky but for a film franchise that pioneered Motion/Performance Capture and special effects, this seemed like an easy thing to keep consistent.
Overall, we give The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies 3 and 1/2 Rings out of 5.
Since I saw The Fellowship of the Ring 13 years ago, I have been mesmerized by the Medieval, fueling interest in Renaissance Festivals and even Dungeons and Dragons so to see the end of that franchise is sad for me as I know that Peter Jackson‘s New Zealand based Middle Earth will never again light up my imagination as I have now see everything there is to offer from it.