'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' Review: A Fitting End to the Trilogy
I am very critical of book to film translations, but with the understanding that you cannot put all Lord of the Rings' 481,103 words into a screenplay. I totally understand that. I know that I'm not like the average movie goer, but for the record, I would sit through a nine hour version of Return of the King. It would be glorious to witness and I'd have a raging Tolkien-boner the whole time.
However, I'm part of the group of fans that give The Hobbit films flack for being divided into three movies. We're only dealing with 95 thousand words here, and as fantastic as the book is, it doesn't even come close to Lord of the Rings in length of content. Realistically, a good telling of this story on film could have and probably should have been accomplished in one film, however, this is Hollywood.
Here is where things may get a little weird for some of you. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is one of the most important films to modern cinema and to pop culture. Humanity loves to tell stories. Whether it is in writing, spoken or sung, acted out, and now on film. We are a culture driven to tell stories, and The Hobbit gets to make the claim that is part of one of the greatest sagas ever told on film.
I grew up watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I remember being 11 years old and crying in the scene from Fellowship of the Ring where Gandalf fell after dueling the Balrog. I went to every midnight release and loved it. So, I understand that there is a new generation that are growing up watching The Hobbit trilogy. There is even a large group of people that are watching The Hobbit and they have never seen Lord of the Rings. It is this group I think along with future generations that these films are made for. As someone who grew up with Legolas, seeing him in The Hobbit is a complete bore. I know he lives, so any suspenseful moment of possible death you try to create for him is only going to agitate me, but for those who have no idea who Legolas is, I'm sure those were powerful moments.
I will admit that one of the ending scenes between Bilbo and the remaining dwarves actually hit me harder than the parting scene in Return of the King. What about the scene where Frodo gets on the boat you say? The farewell between Bilbo and the dwarves is much better and less drawn out. Not going to lie, I nearly cried.
I did start to get agitated as the film continued past this point. We've now passed numerous spots to end the film and it's starting to feel like it's dragging on a bit, but then the final reveal happened and I could help but smile. I will not spoil any content, however they loop the end of the film perfectly into Fellowship of the Ring. Now I can waste almost 18 hours doing a Middle-Earth marathon instead of just 9! It will be glorious, don't judge me.
Martin Freeman is fantastic. In fact, there wasn't a performance that I was unhappy with. The aesthetics of the film are also on point. Peter Jackson continues to show off his brilliance in film-making and I can't wait for his next non-Tolkien project. Howard Shore's score for this film is amazing as always; very few film composers get iconic themes to their name. In fact, there are only really five or six composers that movie goers probably know the name of, and Howard Shore is in that list. Welcome to John Williams Land, Mr. Shore!
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is an incredible testament to story telling and it is well worth the watch. I'll concede that if spending $10 to see a film isn't for you, its ok to wait for it to come out on DVD or hit your local dollar theater, it's not a "Must See Immediately" film and that's the glory of it. The Tolkien films have and will become iconic films that will stand the test of time, just like Star Wars.
Final Say: Watch It