Posted by: greercn | December 29, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Smaug is an amazing dragon. Martin Freeman is an engaging hobbit. But three different movies? From one little book?

If you’ve seen all three films and read the book, you’ve probably spent more time watching the story unfold than you spent reading “The Hobbit”. And that just seems wrong.

The opening scenes pick up about 20 minutes before “Desolation of Smaug” ends. There are a bunch of new perspectives on that dramatic conclusion and – given the whopping and bottom-numbing 144-minute length of this – careful cutting could have been considered.

But it is what it is.

Dwarves, elves, orcs, wizards, humans and hobbits are all present and the visual details of each shine out. It feels like you are watching a proper epic. Howard Shore’s portentous music enhances the action.

The battle scenes are truly weird and wonderful.

Peter Jackson directs and everyone in the cast and crew went off to New Zealand for 14 months to film in extraordinary locations.

Of the enormous cast, Freeman’s Bilbo, Ian McKellen, Christopher Lee, Sylvester McCoy (ex-Doctor Who), Evangeline Lilly, Cate Blanchett and Aidan Turner elicit your feelings while Richard Armitage and Luke Evans have great moments. It’s a terrific ensemble.

Everyone at the Stratford East Picturehouse enjoyed it, albeit the length provoked that flashing light of people playing games on their phones.
This hurts my eyes. Please stop that, okay?

Scenes and actors designed to add humour felt forced, as if a pantomime scene was suddenly being introduced to a more sombre tale.

There is just so much CGI everywhere that I had to slip off the 3D glasses, occasionally, to actually see what was happening.

It’s all overkill, but works as a bridge to the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

If those are your favourite films ever, you’ll be very happy watching this. For me? I like my films to tell a simple story and get it all wrapped up within two hours. I didn’t mind watching the whole thing. but it won’t make my Top 10 list of 2014.



  1. Good review Greer. While I didn’t wholly care about the trilogy, it was still fine enough for me to enjoy. Same goes for this movie.

    • Thank you! I agree with you and I enjoyed it while I was watching it. But it doesn’t make my top 10 list of the year.

  2. Got to give it to Peter Jackson and Warner Brothers for taking a 150 page children’s book and turning it into three 3 hr long movies. All three are good movies, not as good as the Lord of the Rings movies but still good. My kids and I enjoyed watching all of them but they do not make a lasting impression on you.

    • So true! My Unwin edition runs to 278 pages, but I agree with the point you’re making. I think that amazing dragon and some of the gorgeous settings might stay with me. Time will tell. Thanks for the comment.

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