The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

December 31, 2014 at 7:08 pm | Posted in 2014 | Leave a comment
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I think that a better title for this film might have been, “The Battle of the Five Stories.” A cogent, over-arching story was one of the key elements that made “The Lord of the Rings” possibly the best trilogy ever and yet that is exactly what has been lacking in the Hobbit movies. Sauron made a compelling enemy and the task of destroying the ring was a strong story arc that viewers could invest in over 3 films. Plus, the 3 films all really focused on Frodo and his own evolution during this journey. This time, it feels as though the first two films had their own story arc (go to the mountain, kill the dragon) that was over before the opening credits of this film. Director Peter Jackson then gives us over two hours of a jumble of characters and plot lines and (yes) armies that all seem like an excuse to stage one massive battle sequence. The action was dramatic, sometimes funny and cleverly choreographed but it was never really exciting. Part of the reason why is that it felt like there was less at stake and less for the audience to invest in. Bilbo does not feel like the focus of this film, though he was in the first two. Here it focuses more on the Dwarf king, Thorin. He does have his own story arc, to be sure, but it has nothing of the grandeur of LOTR, partly because it does not have the time to build. That leaves only the visuals but, what wow’d me a decade ago, just isn’t going to have the same effect now. In the end, the LOTR series was monumental because it was so visually stunning but also because the story was epic in nature. The Hobbit series is neither epic nor particularly stunning. So, what are we left with? A fairly standard action flick, I’m afraid.

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