DM Haight

There’s fire, Orcs, ice, Dragons, Dwarves, trippy scenes of wealth and madness. And then there’s a Hobbit who kind of has a non-essential role throughout the plot. So calling this film The Hobbit is a bit of a stretch. But hey, the whole franchise was stretched out, so no harm, no foul. All the same, I can’t argue with the scope and excitement Five Armies brings to the table. Peter Jackson, once again, manages to capture the heart of battle and interpersonal relationships of differing social and racial groups throughout middle earth. What I find so damn intriguing about the whole film is that it does lose focus on Bilbo, which, in the long run, was bound to happen, and it was necessary to keep our attentions.

The obvious milking of the Tolkien world was abundantly clear when we heard The Hobbit was being split in three. While I will maintain that all the films were entertaining, they were, for the most part unnecessary. Although the third and final act does run away with being the best crafted story of the three. Perhaps it’s because all the holes were filled, or because the story came to an appropriate end—no matter what, Five Armies does pack a serious punch in the heart strings for many fans. A plethora of deaths pepper the battle fields, many of the significant players for the last three years. Richard Armitage does a spectacular job of portraying Thorin for the last time, doing the character of service by driving the Dwarven king mad with greed and power. The character arch for Thorin was the most fleshed out of any character throughout the series, including the series title character. Armitage brought a stern, occasionally stoic aura to the Dwarf with his regal posture and commanding voice. He was, without a doubt, the perfect fit for the role.

The other twelve dwarves suffered in Thorin’s shadow, however. Talents like James Nesbit were squandered obscenely, while the love triangle that never was in the books, was brought to life, detracting from the group’s individual character arches. It’s a sad day when you have to rely on the cliché love triangle because you don’t know how to write an interesting film without one. Orlando Bloom and Evangeline Lilly did their best to make their characters matter. They inserted themselves a bit gruffly and felt out of place for the most part. Lilly acted Tauriel as a strong, independent elf warrior whose loyalty and love could fight off of a hundred Orcs. Unfortunately she was written as a weaker, less capable woman who enjoys the help of several male counterparts on numerous occasions, usually because she overlooks enemies during battle. It was actually frustrating to watch the very capable Lilly force herself into the position of a weaker character. Bloom, however, seemed lost and confused as to why he was even a part of the story—his far away stare giving away nothing except his disappointment with the script.

Although it isn’t all pessimism on my end. I have to admit that the battle scenes are outstanding, gripping, funny, and will keep you glued to your seat. The CGI is top notch, which is what we come to expect from Jackson and his team. The use of colors and the sweeping set designs will keep you in awe from opening credits to closing, and you will not suffer the burden of endless walking and pointless side quests like we did in the first two installments. Ian McKellen was stellar, as was Martin Freeman. From a technical side, and a pacing side, the film is far from boring, albeit the rougher script desperately trying to tie up loose ends does leave a lot of information being thrown at you. Overall I cannot complain too much about Five Armies, and honestly I don’t want to. For all its faults, I enjoyed it heartily, at 11 pm on a Tuesday night next to a belching movie goer trying to wrangle his kid. If Jackson can keep me entertained through that, then he’s done his job well.

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