HOLLYWOOD—I must say I was never a fan of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. I didn’t even care for the first installment of “The Hobbit” franchise, but its sequel, “The Desolation of Smaug” set the stage for a climatic finale I’d been eagerly waiting for.
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is a resonating conclusion to the saga that sees Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, Legolas, Tauriel, Bard the Bowman and a host of others going out on top.
Director Peter Jackson is a wizard at producing massive production pieces for cinema. He just knows how to take certain material that is already grand in nature and to present it in a way that connects with the audience. Even with movie lovers who are not necessarily fans of the sci-fi genre or the series.
This installment picks up precisely where its predecessor left off with the fire dragon Smaug (voice of Benedict Cumberbatch) destroying Laketown. His reign of terror is short-lived though, thanks to Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans). Yeah, I know I was expecting the fire breathing creature to wreak havoc for much of the movie, such disappointment I say.
“Battle of the Five Armies” is tale of greed and how everyone, even the nicest can be easily swayed to the dark side to have a slice of the gold. Anyone who saw the previous installment is well aware of the riches that were being highly guarded by Smaug, and I’d even say I’ll be willing to duke a battle for all those little riches. Even though most of it was CGI, it looked quite real from my viewing point.
As with any trilogy, lives are lost, secrets are unveiled and heroes are born, as Bilbo learns that that ring he has been totting around is ever so important and guards it literally with his life. The star of the movie is indeed its action sequences. Its been totted as an epic battle that includes elves, dwarves and orcs who all descend for a battle unlike anything I’ve ever seen captured on the big screen.
Does the narrative take a bit of time to reach the climax? Yes, but the result is worth every minute of it. It’s important to note “Armies” clocks in at a reasonable time frame, under the 2 hour and 30 minute mark. That hasn’t been the case for previous installments in the franchise. So Jackson works within the time constraints in place. The narrative doesn’t move super fast, but it doesn’t move at turtle speeds either.
Shall I dare say this? “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” have given me a newfound respect for the saga, so much to the point, that I’ve even considered going to back to watch the five predecessors to have a greater appreciation not just for the story told, but a respect for the characters who have become household names.