The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (12a)
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage
Running time: 144 min
Bilbo and Company are forced to engage in a war against an array of combatants and keep the terrifying Smaug from acquiring a kingdom of treasure and obliterating all of Middle-Earth.
Picking up directly where The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ended, The Battle of the Five Armies goes straight into the action with Smaug unleashing his firebreathing torrent of flaming hell on the inhabitants of Laketown.
From that moment on, there is virtually no rest in the action for The Battle for the Five Armies is exactly what this sequel is. For fans who have read the book, you will already know the fate and outcome of this story, but thankfully Peter Jackson takes us there in action-packed fashion.
Saving the best for last, there is little in the way of lengthy dialogue exchanges (save for one very poignant exchange near the end), this is a film of action. With the five armies comprising of various factions and beings of Middle Earth, there is tremendous build-up before the battle even begins. It may take a while for it to start (let’s be honest, we’ve waited two years so what’s another half hour?) but once it gets going, it is one action set peace straight after another.
Casual cinema goers may not have had the stamina for this final entry, but for those that do, this is film making for fans of the highest order. With the various threads of storylines to tie up, Jackson has given us a film that not only ties up this saga, but is more than nodding to The Lord of the rings Trilogy. Indeed, there is more than one occasion where fans will be smiling at the dialogue on screen as they know what happened ten years ago (has it really been that long since the ring of power was destroyed on screen!?).
Thorin (Richard Armitage), Gandalf (McKellen), Bard (Luke Evans) and Bilbo (Freeman) are basically the only characters given any real depth to their character in this movie, and at times it does feel as though a number of the other secondary characters are only there to wield an axe or look either glum or angry, whig is unfortunate.
The highlight though is the full introduction of Billy Connolly as Dain, cousin to Thorin and leader of the Dwarf Army. Indeed his typical gruff manner is the only humour in the film, which he virtually steals.
The Hobbit has had some pretty big shoes (or feet) to fill and at times it has received a fair amount of criticism for its overly long story length and creation of a character that wasn’t even in the book to begin with. That said, this is without doubt, for me, the best movie of the year; it has action; it has suspense; it has humour. But more importantly, it gives fans one last chance to say farewell to a land that has wonderful scenery, terrifying creatures and wonderful characters; and it does it in style!
5 (Gold Rings) out of 5