Friday, January 16, 2015

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Lee Pace, Graham McTavish, Ken Stott, Aidan Turner, Dean O'Gorman, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Sylvester McCoy, Billy Connolly, Mikael Persbrandt, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage

As Bilbo (Freeman) and the Dwarves watch from Lonely Mountain, the dragon Smaug (Cumberbatch) proceeds to destroy the human township of Laketown. Finally defeated by Bard (Evans), he leads the survivors towards the mountain as Bilbo is forced to deal with Thorin (Armitage) whose battling inner forces while searching for the royal jewel, the Arkenstone. Meanwhile, an entrapped Gandalf (McKellen) battles a much larger force.

It's not the most fitting way to the end of the Middle-Earth series and what's most obvious is that unlike The Lord of the Rings trilogy, this new set of films have difficulty standing on their own two legs. There's no denying it looks wonderful and Jackson's vision works perfectly but like so many film series these days it's over length and unnecessary elements are too much to take, and certainly here it's obvious that time is being stretched out as all the characters come and go and given less focus than the action.

Acting-wise the film belongs to the dwarves, especially McTavish, Stott and Turner whose Kili romance story with elven warrior Tauriel, played by Lilly, works best. Gage as the conniving Alfrid adds some nice comic relief and Connolly is fun as the newest member of the cast. Holm appears only briefly in the final scene. What's really missing from this one is a sense of adventure and wonder which is everything the previous films had in its favour.


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