Review of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”

I still only count four armies: the dwarves, the elves, the orcs and the boring humans. What am I missing?

Since it is Peter Jackson’s last foreseeable Middle-Earth movie, no one is going to be too hard on him. Hell, there was a girl crying near the end of the movie in the back of the theatre I was in, during an “emotional” scene that no one would’ve cried in had it been any other film. But that’s the power Peter Jackson has. He can draw out anyone from the ages of seven to seventy-seven, just so we can all witness the finale to his cinematic elongation of a short Tolkien book.

There are a lot of minor issues with the movie. The extras have noticeably bad acting skills, taking you out of the experience. I mean, in a story all about communities and groups suffering, why should I care about them when only the main fifteen or so characters manage to provide noteworthy performances? And a few of the CGI effects look pretty fake. Not to mention the pacing of the movie is pretty poor. And there’s a horrible comic-relief character shoehorned in who I found to be MUCH worse than “the twins” from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Hell, if this were anything but a finale movie I’d say it’s probably not worth a watch. But since apparently everybody but me cares about Middle-Earth, I can say that if you’re a fan, you’ve already seen the movie and there’s no reason to read this. For the rest of us, it’s so-so.

To be real, the second half of the movie is entertaining. I mean, Bilbo and Thorin’s clashes are easily the best bits of the movie, but they’re so brief that at the end of the day you’re just there to see Thorin take down an Orc chieftain in one of the coolest fight scenes ever. And it’s not even a big fight scene, it’s just very tense and cleverly choreographed. I mean, I can still picture the blood darkening the ice from underneath the frozen icicle-laden waterfall… the imagery is stunning. But you have to sift through almost one and a half hours of “meh” to reach that point. In short, I recommend this movie if you are looking for a very satisfying matinee-price adventure.

Side-note: I didn’t really know where to put this in the actual review, so here is a bonus tidbit I feel compelled to share. This movie just felt like Peter Jackson jerking off in my face. Between the stupid romance that’s as cliche as it gets for adventure movies and a lackluster tying of loose ends to segue into The Lord of the Rings, it just felt like two hours of Jackson’s delusions of grandeur that I was sitting through, rather than a finale. Just a personal nitpick.

The Scrap Yard

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Movie Review

The sequel to Peter Jackson’s previous Hobbit movie, An Unexpected Journey, is a good time if you go in wanting dragons, but does little to satisfy the needs of avid Tolkien fans or movie-goers expecting more than a fire-filled final act.smaug and bilbo

The Desolation of Smaug has a whole of three major fights/conflicts in it: One near the beginning involving spiders, one near the end of the beginning involving orcs, and one at the end which takes up a whopping thirty plus minutes filled to the brim with dwarves being chased by a dragon. The problem here is that this time chart still leaves us with an unaccounted for two hours in the three hour movie, meaning that two thirds of your time in the theater will be listening to small talk between characters. Now, it’s a realistic approach to the cinematic representation of would-be heroes, as not every band of good guys can be out fighting the good fight every waking moment, but two full hours of shenanigans and conversations with dwarves can put an audience to sleep, as my yawning movie-going compatriots can attest.

With that said, the movie is good by all accounts which is why I have a hard time saying why I didn’t really like it. The cast is great, with Martin Freeman continuing his lovable Bilbo from An Unexpected Journey and Orlando Bloom being his obnoxiously attractive self. And lest we forget Benedict Cumberbatch, Smaug himself. Out of all the performances, Cumberbatch’s seems to be the best, and I’m pretty sure it’s just because of the awesome voice filter they put on all of his lines. Really, I was beyond captivated for the final thirty minute showdown with Smaug, all the way up until the shitty cliff-hanger ending (spoiler).

The best way I can illustrate why this movie didn’t seem very good initially was because it felt like I was watching the middle twenty minutes in a sixty minute episode of The Mentalist. I don’t really know what’s going on and while what I’m watching is well done, it feels out of place with my having not seen the before or after bits of it. So, with that said, I recommend you see The Desolation of Smaug in 2014 when most theatres will be showing all three Hobbit films back-to-back. Only then will The Desolation of Smaug feel like a complete adventure and not some disjointed three-hour long trailer for part three.