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MOVIE REVIEW The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

By Jason Ooi

What should really have been called “The Battle of Five Armies and about a dozen other varieties of creatures, characters, and whatnot,” the final addition to the Hobbit franchise feels bloated by its own success. It follows Bilbo Baggins and his group of dwarves as they are pitted against dragons, elves, humans, goblins, giants, bats, worms, orcs, and greed to finally reclaim their homeland, and the ensuing battle caused ultimately by the vice of greed.
The entire film is a hodgepodge of throwbacks to the Tolkien’s Middle Earth and is a spectacular mess of action and fighting. The Battle of Five Armies’ titular battle is extremely gratifying and rewarding, a mindless display of entertainment, without getting too numbing or repetitive. The film wastes no time in getting straight to the action, and, except for a small lull in the middle, is effectively filled with the outright action that the first two films in the franchise lacked; it’s essentially a fan service masterpiece.
Yet at the same time, the film felt extremely hollow. Way too many supporting characters felt way too simple, while way too many different creatures and components during the battle felt completely ignored after making a big entrance; as if they disappeared from the fight after their ten seconds of screen time. Smaug, who was given an entire movies’ worth build up in The Desolation of Smaug appears and disappears after a few minutes, which makes the events of the last film absolutely meaningless. The Battle of Five Armies tries to cram way too much in its run time, which would only be beneficial had it tied up all of its loose ends.
This film in general, when placed in contrast with the rest of its franchises’ films feels a lot sillier and childish in general. The beauteous New Zealand or the horrifying orcs didn’t come with the breath of realism that the last additions did. Because of this, the film felt a bit tonally inconsistent, unsure of whether it was trying to be a drama or a comedy, at times becoming laughably cheesy. I understand that it’s a product of making a film mirror its source material, but at times it felt like it was trying too hard to be serious and dramatic as well, which broke immersion. The film also lacked the practical effects that made the original Lord of the Rings series so breathtaking and electrifying, replacing them with a cartoon-ish excess of CGI.
The costumes were insanely cool, and just seeing the scale and intensity of all of the armies and their different tactics was very satisfying. A lot of the fight lacked practicality, but honestly, who cares?
Ultimately, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies feels like a will that leaves nothing to its constituents; a very fun, entertaining movie, that did not feel like a worthy good bye to a phenomenal universe that spanned six movies, four books, and countless hours of entertainment.


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