Peter Jackson’s final instalment of the Tolkien franchise, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies offers similar strengths and weaknesses to the director’s previous concluding film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and his band of dwarves have roused the dragon Smaug, who flies out to destroy Lake Town. Meanwhile, the mountain and its riches attracts various armies…
The third and final part of The Hobbit, The Battle of the Five Armies functions as a prolonged climactic scene. The majority of the duration is filled with this action, allowing for cutaways to other key players in Tolkien’s universe.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies begins in the midst of the action, carrying on straight after the end of The Desolation of Smaug. The opening gambit is an impressive one; viewers are launched immediately into a frantic episode. The sustained nature of the film’s central battle, however, loses the peaks and troughs expected of an adventure such as this. As the fighting lasts for much of the duration, it is difficult for viewers to muster the excitement these sequences usually bring. Battle sequences are finely executed, but the duration does hinder enjoyment.
There is some appealing foreshadowing in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, which should please fans of The Lord of the Rings. The characterisation in the film is decent, although Bilbo’s earnestness is overplayed at times. Production values are up to the standard expected from director Peter Jackson.
There are some great individual sequences in the film, even though there is a lack of momentum building overall. Cate Blanchett and Christopher Lee reprise their roles with aplomb. The film maintains a sombre atmosphere, with a few breaks for humour.
Whilst An Unexpected Journey moved at a glacial pace in terms of action, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies offers an abundance of action. The Hobbit trilogy may not be as satisfying as The Lord of the Rings, but the films still offer decent entertainment for fantasy fans.