The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of my favorite film trilogies of all time, second only to the original Star Wars trilogy. It really is a shame that the Star Wars original trilogy had to have such a bad prequel trilogy that tried and failed to recapture the magic of its predecessor. It had way too much CGI, ridiculous and confusing stories, and tried desperately to make forced connections to the much better, previous trilogy. I sure am glad The Lord of the Rings didn’t make that same mistake. I’m Linus Schill, and this is my review of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
As the final movie in one of the highest grossing film franchises of all time ($5.8 billion), my first impressions of the film were underwhelming. I had assumed going into it that I would get really excited for an epic finale that would ultimately be saddening, as I realized that the world of Middle Earth would have to come to an end. As it turns out, by the end, my emotions were mostly neutral because I had not become attached to any of the characters. The movie had no plot and felt more like the third act of a story. Honestly, this movie should have been combined with The Desolation of Smaug. The remaining 5 or so chapters of The Hobbit desperately needed to be an entire third film, but because of the lack of content to draw from, Peter Jackson had to add in extraneous albeit Tolkien-created storylines that were both terrible and bland. But because that still didn’t make the runtime long enough, the only thing left to do was drag on every scene twice as long as necessary. The battles themselves were fairly interesting, but each fight went on for way too long. There were many different kinds of fights throughout the battle, and each one on its own was interesting, but when they extended them it just became boring to watch. Even with all the scene-extending and new storylines, the amount of time Bilbo was even IN the movie became so small that you wouldn’t even think you were watching a movie called “The Hobbit”.
One thing that this trilogy seems to love doing is throwing all physics out the window. There was one scene in particular that pulled me straight out of my Middle Earth fantasies and into the real world of impossible to believe film stunts: Legolas was fighting an orc, and when he destroyed the bridge they were standing on, Legolas jumped up the pile of debris that was FALLING and managed to do a backflip to safety on the side of a cliff. Legolas has done many remarkable things throughout the movies, and I get it, but any person over the age of 7 would see straight through that. Another thing in this movie that was frustrating and avoidable was the surplus of clichés. As I said, in my review of The Imitation Game, every movie seems to have the “If you __ them you’ll have to __ me too” cliché. Legolas did this when Evangeline “Made-up Elf” Lily was ordered to return home. Also, the number of times that a villain stood over a hero about to kill them, but ultimately gave a monologue instead, giving the other hero a chance to swoop in and save them, was likely over 20.
This movie also suffered from the massive over-usage of CGI. The only visual effect that looked good in the movie was Smaug. The visual effects department must have had two separate companies working on the project, one for Smaug, and one for everything else. The work done on “everything else” was both bland and numbing. The elf army looked like one model was copy and pasted 50,000 times. Granted, the army probably is supposed to have the same overall appearance for each person, but the armor should vary, and it did not. I was not invested in the battle scenes because there was nothing to get invested in. It was one CGI army versus another CGI army and in the end CGI army #2 ended up winning! It doesn’t drive much excitement to have 20 minutes of constant fake imagery thrown in your face. This goes for all of the CG’d orcs that had speaking roles. In The Lord of the Rings the orcs that were in charge had lines looked terrifying, and dangerous. The orcs in this trilogy are smooth, bland, and boring. I also found it irritating that Smaug died within the first 15 minutes of the movie, because it furthers my point even more that it should have been combined with The Desolation of Smaug.
However, despite the many problems with this movie, I did not hate it. It was not an absolutely terrible movie, and I do not regret watching it. While bland at times, the action scenes did have their high parts. On a scale of 1 – 10, I give it a 6.5. Thank you for reading my review of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Be sure to check out a companion piece tomorrow, where I will discuss my thoughts on the Hobbit trilogy as a whole. My name is Linus Schill, and I will see you next time.
Edited for content and clarity by Diana Myers.