Review: ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies’ ends bloated trilogyWritten by James A. Molnar | The Gold Knight | firstname.lastname@example.org
The annual holiday Hobbit tradition is coming to an end.
This unexpected journey from director Peter Jackson lost its spontaneity as it has trundled along.
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” the conclusion to the trilogy out nationwide Wednesday, adds its 144-minute runtime to a bloated total of 474 minutes for the three-film series. That’s six minutes shy of eight hours (not counting the extended edition runtimes) and about four hours too many.
For comparison, this trilogy is based on one 300-page book, along with various other writings and “Lord of the Rings” appendices by author J.R.R. Tolkien. Each film of the far superior “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy was based on a specific book — each about 400 pages — for a total runtime of 558 minutes (682 minutes for extended editions). That series, while long, earned its length.
In this series, there is a big dragon in the mountain who doesn’t want to give up his gold.
That’s Peter Jackson and Warner Bros.
Both of whom appear so intoxicated with that gold and the Middle-Earth universe that neither want to part ways with them.
Jackson and Warner Bros. did not listen to the megalomania manager, if such a position even existed.
There is no doubt Jackson is adept at telling these stories in excruciating detail. So much detail is spent on fight sequences that this third film fails to offer much in the way of plot or character development.
One character in particular is so one-dimensional that he changes personalities halfway through the film with only a montage to try and explain this change.
These 144 minutes are not used wisely.
Martin Freeman as the titular Hobbit Bilbo Baggins and Evangeline Lilly as Elf Tauriel offer the few emotional moments in the film — a drop in the bucket as large the lake near the Lonely Mountain where most of the action is set.
“The Battle of the Five Armies” picks up right where “The Desolation of Smaug” left off 12 months ago. Smaug, being the actual dragon in the film, is busy incinerating Laketown and must be stopped with a sole arrow. That’s the first 15 minutes. The next 129 minutes are filled with war and battle sequences of five armies, thus the title.
Originally titled “There and Back Again,” Jackson changed the movie’s name in April to better reflect the story.
It’s an epic CGI battle worth titling the film after, but it gets boring.
When the final credits roll, there is no satisfaction in having taken this journey — no where close to that of “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” which swept the Academy Awards and won Best Picture.
This film will be lucky with a few technical Oscar nods.
Now that the three films are out, this reviewer would love to see an edited, one-film version, picking and choosing the great moments from the series — something that should have been done from day one.
Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images.