'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies'
(Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, et al / 2-Disc Blu ray+DVD / PG-13 / 2015 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: In 'The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies' (Blu-Ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet Combo Pack), after the Dragon leaves the Lonely Mountain, the people of Lake-town see a threat coming. Orcs, dwarves, elves and people prepare for war. Bilbo sees Thorin going mad and tries to help. Meanwhile, Gandalf is rescued from the Necromancer's prison and his rescuers realize who the Necromancer is.
Blu ray Verdict: Let me start this certainly biased review with a big confession: I absolutely loved the three (3) LOTR movies back at the time, they looked fantastic, sounded fantastic both in dialogue and music, they also felt great. For films set in a fantasy world, they felt very real somehow. Even if they seem more cheesy after after time has passed, I have a very fond memory of how good a movie each of them was. Well, count the final Hobbit movie under "gone are the days".
Based on a much thinner children's book the first two (2) 'Hobbit' movies seemed to be lacking too much in comparison, however Part 2 was a hope-inducing improvement. After having sat down and watched 'The Battle of the Five Armies' today, I leave the 'Hobbit' trilogy disappointed and frankly, saddened that Peter Jackson has left me with these feelings.
THE BAD: The biggest problem of the movie is certainly its careless reliance on computer generated images. The viewer gets reminded every minute that he/she is constantly watching CGI armies, since the filmmakers did not care much to put any lifelike or individual characteristics on the armies' apparels or movements. Most creatures look very copy and paste. Except for the shire-based ending you never get the feeling that you saw much of the beauty of New Zealand.
Instead most of the locations seem to be CGI made with mediocre textures, like the battlefield or the blurry gold floor Thorin imagines himself sucked in. The later is also an example of how the movie mostly goes the simplest ways. Because of the CGI the camera has to stay too far away from the happenings many times, and sadly the movie does not get close to most characters story wise too. Gone are the beloved moments of the LOTR movies, where you rooted for even cameo soldiers who where in the moment and put you in the same.
The few real dialogue is also constantly simplistic and most characters scream "exposition only" while the LOTR had so many memorable lines from Aragorn, Gandalf, the hobbits. Here, even the most beloved characters are reduced to namedropping and stating the obvious. For a movie that seems rushed in graphics and solving the story lines, it spends too much time on unimportant plot like the useless storyline about Alfrid, the majors laketown weasel, or the hobbit auction, which does neither fit the mood nor remind the audience how nice the Hobbit once were portrayed. Also, middle earth fans will now have life-long eagle-fatigue. Gone is the extremely memorable music of the Ring saga, only the credit song really registered to me.
In keeping with the CGI reliance the physics in the movie go way below any normal suspension of disbelief, which is so noticeable that it takes you put of the movie even more. The Ork/pre-Uruk armor seems to implode on impact, how else do they die so easily. The tower where one end fight takes place would have collapsed instantly.
Anyway, enough of all that, so what's GOOD about it? Luckily enough strange ideas made it into the cut: like Galadriel going full meta-elf bitch again or some weird-ass "animal" moments. Orlando Bloom inhabits Legolas to the max. Maybe some other things, but again, why care when the film result of the certainly good spirited filmmakers does not reflect care.
In closing, well,the 'Hobbit' films are, at best, "inspired" by Tolkien's work. Most of it is the witty, cheeky ideas of the writers. While it makes for a very entertaining set of films (I have to admit at least that), it will leave you feeling very unfulfilled if you came with high expectations; because Jackson didn't put his heart into these, sorry. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
- Recruiting the Five Armies
- Completing Middle-Earth
- "The Last Goodbye" Music Video
- New Zealand: Home of Middle Earth - Part 3
Know Your Enemy Infographic!
'The Hobbit' Trilogy Infographic!