The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Will you follow me, #OneLastTime?
Those were the words that resonate throughout the trailer for the final instalment & probably the last Middle-Earth movie, The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies.

I had many mixed feelings after watching the trailer. First, I was excited because there'll be an epic movie to look forward to during Christmas. Second, I felt a slight tinge of sadness that this movie will probably be the last movie related to Middle Earth by Peter Jackson. Lastly, but not surprising, I was apprehensive about how good this movie will be. After all, The Battle of The Five Armies is only a couple of pages long chapter in the book. One wonders how on earth the plot would stretch up to more than 2 hours.

But Peter Jackson did it again & I must applaud him for his effort. True as my instincts tell me, I was deflated by how this defining chapter ended. The film was a little empty & somehow detracted from the main focus - the hobbit. Poor Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) had minimal onscreen time which is almost forgettable.

Jackson decided to put the battle scenes as the forefront of the plot which befits the movie title but not exactly the most compelling storytelling. Take off the battle scenes & there's nothing much to talk about for a 2-hour movie. So the rest of film mostly consist of filler plot which is non-existent in the book. I welcome the additional scenes with the casts from previous movies to establish the connection leading up to the Lord of The Rings. Good for those who didn't watch the past trilogy.

Most tacky scene I came across is Galadriel carrying the wounded Gandalf while Elrond & Saruman fought with the Nazgul. It looked so fake as if Gandalf is tied to an invisible rope & being hoisted mid-air while Galadriel pretends to carry him. Weird...

Visual effects are stunning without doubt but the battle scenes can be quite a bore after watching it for about 40 minutes. At least the pivotal scene when Thorin died from serious injury was worth the wait. Richard Armitage's brilliant acting made me tear up & wished that the story didn't have to turn out this way.

My only complaint is that there was not much thought put behind about adding in a scene of Thorin's funeral. I know it's not in the book at all but Thorin deserved to be honoured for fighting gallantly to his last breath. The farewell scenes between Bilbo & the remaining surviving dwarves was touching but seemed something amiss & rushed too.

Anyhow, the film is still an entertaining piece & I'm truly grateful to be part of this 14 year journey. This last chapter ties all the loose ends of one of the best literary work ever written. Although Tolkien fans may detest the film's lack of loyalty to the book but I personally felt it serves the movie-going audience well who may not fancy digging the books. If only Warner Bros wasn't too money minded from the beginning & allowed Jackson to keep The Hobbit to 2 movies only.