As Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) race against time and evil to destroy the Horcruxes, they uncover the existence of the three most powerful objects in the wizarding world: the Deathly Hallows.
With their warning about Lord Voldemort's (Ralph Fiennes') return scoffed at, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Dumbledore (Sir Michael Gambon) are targeted by the Wizard authorities as an authoritarian bureaucrat slowly seizes power at Hogwarts.
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.
On Orlando Bloom's last day of filming, after he had completed his scenes, Peter Jackson recorded a video of Bloom "covering" the viral "They're Taking The Hobbits To Isengard" song on his phone. See more »
When Bilbo is carrying his chest of treasure it appears to have little weight. If it was full of gold, it would weigh more than a hobbit could carry. See more »
Is that your child? You cannot save him from the fire! He will BURN!
See more »
The film's opening title is divided into two parts: "The Hobbit" appears at the beginning of the film, and after Smaug's death "The Battle of the Five Armies" appears. See more »
2015 Extended Edition Blu-ray contains twenty minutes additional footage, including more graphic violence, increasing the run-time to 164 minutes. Due to the extra amount of violence, this version has been rated R by the MPAA. See more »
A fitting adieu to Middle Earth, but one that lacks that special something
I should have loved this film. One of the aspects I love most about Return of the King, my favourite of Jackson's adaptations and one of my favourite films of all time, is the sprawling, mass fantasy battle scenes and The Battle of Five Armies is pretty much one elongated battle scene. However, there's something that's not quite right.
It's not the lack of emotion, characterization or plot. Indeed, there are plenty of those, there is just something I just can't put my finger on that stops the film from being truly epic. Perhaps it is because, for me at least, this film will always live in King's shadow but, really, where I think the film falls down, is that the battles simply aren't done well enough. The context is not explained very well, the actual engagements not that exciting too much repetition and, most crucially, too much cutting away from one place to another. This cutting worked fine, well, even, in Two Towers between the crucible of Helm's Deep and the quiet conversation of the Entmoot, but, here, there are just too many places that the actions flits between. I appreciate this is a battle of five armies, and that there are plenty of characters, but, sadly, the action did seem to be all over the place. And the repetition I mentioned earlier: a huge portion of the film seemed to be entirely composed of either someone running to warn others, a main character leading the charge into battle, and several one-on-one battles. The latter may be entertaining, sure, but there is a line which is stepped over in this film.
The ending, too, seemed like it was rushed by the filmmakers, especially when we consider that we don't actually find out what happens to the Arkenstone in the end. Many people criticised Return of the King's dragged out ending, but that was full of emotion and was a fitting, yet sad, farewell. Here, where not only does Bilbo say farewell to Gandalf and the Dwarfs, but where we say an almost certain farewell to Middle Earth, the end is far too brief and unlikely to instil emotion. Though, it is, to be fair, nicely linked into Fellowship.
Ultimately though, the film has plenty of positives. Despite being full of battle sequences, Jackson fits in plenty of emotional scenes and develops many of the characters fantastically. In particular, Armitage's Thorin is different and darker, yet changes a great deal throughout the film - all in all, a fantastic performance. There's plenty of typical Jackson humour, some brilliant cameos and some great nods to the Lord of the Rings films and some elements of the film's production, which die-hard fans will no doubt pick up on with a smile. It's also important to realise that, whilst it's easy to criticise the long battle sequences, they are entertaining, and keep the pace of the film up throughout.
So, whilst it is easy to concentrate on the negatives and, in particular, the lack of a Grey Havens-esque adieu to Middle Earth, The Battle of Five Armies is still a great film and a fitting end to what has been a true achievement: a series of beautiful film adaptations that many will be sad to see end.
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