The new and final Hobbit installment, The Battle of the Five Armies is set for release this weekend, and it delivers in spades. The action-packed ending to director Peter Jackson’s second trilogy within the Lord of the Rings universe provides fans of the franchise with enough eye candy to keep them reeling in their seats long after the epic has concluded. Though it strays from the Hobbit canon quite heavily, that aspect of Jackson’s interpretation of the novel will be nothing new to film goers. If it did not please them in the previous two installments, Five Armies may not be what they were hoping for.
At the heart of the third Hobbit is one giant conflict. It has very little to do with Smaug the dragon and much more to do with the greed and corruption that arise as a result of the Misty Mountain’s treasure cache. Five armies literally do show up, and they battle it out for the entirety of the film. Most of Jackson’s Lord of the Rings installments have had a similar formula that leads up to a climactic battle at the end of the film. Battle of the Five Armies, however, elected a different route. The film just has the massive fight the whole time. As a result, the fighting can be a bit of a drain. Fortunately, Legolas has no shortage of physic-defying madness to keep audiences entertained once they become a bit bored with the incessant orc massacre.
One of the reasons that The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies delivers in spades is because it finds ways beyond the initial conflict to compel the audience. Besides the large war, there are a few beautifully organized character developments in the Hobbit story line as well. Thorin Oakenshield battles with his inner demons as greed corrupts his mind, Tauriel’s awkward romance with a dwarf persists to Legolas’ dismay, and everyone and their brother attempts to lay siege to the mountain for their “right” to some of the gold. Most of these situations have been crafted by Jackson’s willingness to deviate heavily from the Hobbit source material, but his artistic license actually carries the story line, driving much more drama into it. It is important to remember he did suck nearly ten hours and three movies out of 304 page children’s book.
There is one thing that must be mentioned in a review of the film. It is not necessarily a spoiler, but must be acknowledged. At the end of the film, there is an incredibly massive plot hole that holds no logic or legitimacy. Legolas is told to go watch over an up and coming ranger who calls himself “Strider,” for he may be important one day. Someone at New Line Cinema needs to lose their job. As Lord of the Rings fans are aware, the Hobbit takes place 60 years prior to the events of Lord of the Rings. As fans will also know, Strider is Aragorn. There is no possible way that Aragorn, a man, is an adult ranger who calls himself Strider during this time. Someone from the studio will likely attempt to remedy this plot hole, but it just leaves fans of the franchise mystified by the error at the end of the film.
The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies delivers in spades and audiences must make their way to see it on the big screen. Jackson claims it is his last outing into the franchise, so it will likely be the last Lord of the Rings content fans will get in a long while. There is hope, though. The Silmarillion has quite a few good stories, too.
Review By Brett Stewart