Staring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Benedict Cumberbatch
Directed By: Peter Jackson
Written By: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 2 hr 24 min
It might be just a coincidence, but the shortest Hobbit movie turns out to be the most entertaining. In The Battle of the Five Armies, Peter Jackson brings his epic (and very thorough) adaptation of J. R. R Tolkien’s classic story to a close. We’ve traveled with Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and the dwarf company now for three years. Witnessed the trials and tribulations, and watched the pieces of this massive game of Dungeons and Dragons assemble. Now it’s time to bring the noise!
Five Armies starts with Smaug (you remember the dragon?), and somehow manages to keep upping the ante during its relatively short running time. The plot hops around covering the whereabouts and actions of each major player in this story, and there are of course the usual nods to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Unlike the prior two installments, the story telling in Five Armies felt tighter. Covering what we needed to know in each scene, and not lingering to admire the pretty visual effects and landscapes.
It also doesn’t waste time getting into the action, which I initially thought was going to be a problem. As the armies arrive and everything kicks off, I wondered how long Jackson could possibly sustain this level of action without it getting repetitive and dull. He pulls it off though, and the movie delivers epic scenes of warfare between orcs, dwarfs, elves and humans, but sprinkles in great individual showdowns between chief players in this tale. Five Armies starts out strong, delivers top quality fantasy entertainment, and concludes a solid set of films in fine style.
If you’re somehow being dragged into the theater with friends to see this, and you haven’t already watched the first two installments. Do not go! This is 3 of 3. Watch 1 of 3, then 2 of 3 before approaching this film! The movie is rated PG-13, so while there is a lot of action, and the occasional severed orc head, the violence never gets too graphic.
This is a big screen event all the way. The epic scale and visual effects are best enjoyed at your local theater. If you wait, a HD viewing at home on your awesome surround sound system and big TV are recommended! This movie is going to feel a lot less epic on something portable.
Best Moment: << mild spoiler >>
A was pleasantly surprised to see Billy Connolly arrive as Dain, the leader of the dwarf army. Riding in on the back of a huge battle pig!
“Good morning. I see we’re in a bit of a crowd, so if you’d just accept my proposition to… SHOVE OFF!”