The final film in the excessive Hobbit trilogy is a complete disaster.
I am a huge fan of The Lord of The Rings Trilogy, and the works of J.R.R. Tolkien in general. I saw each of the original trilogy several times in theaters, and have watched the extended edition DVDs, and now Blu-rays, from top to bottom, including most of the innumerable appendices. Naturally I was pretty pumped when Peter Jackson announced he was returning to complete the journey of the One Ring with a film for The Hobbit.
Then it was announced it would be split into two parts.
And then it suddenly became three parts.
But then the first part, An Unexpected Journey, came out, and it was actually pretty good. Padding out the story to extend a single book into three films definitely wore on the film, but I was pleasantly surprised. The Desolation of Smaug was even better, mostly due to some excellent voice work from Benedict Cumberbatch for the titular character.
All of that goes out the window with the final film, The Battle of Five Armies. Beyond having the worst title of any film this year, it is also, in my opinion, the worst film released in 2014.
Watching this film was painful at moments, and downright laughable in others. While the CG elements in The Hobbit trilogy are far more obvious than they ever were in LotR, they seem to standout especially in Five Armies. Quite honestly they just aren’t that great, with the exception of Smaug. I’m not one to complain about CG that often, but in this case, it really detracts from the film. Characters look and feel floaty with movement, and the coloring is just off. The action scenes definitely lack creativity seen in previous films. Legolas particularly, normally given the coolest action moments, is boring and made to look like he’s a part of video game rather than a living breathing fantasy world.
Action and visual elements aside, the rest of the film is just broken. The strongest characters in this trilogy have always been Bilbo and Gandalf, and they’ve given a pitiful amount of screen time. Most of the film is devoted to Thorin, played by Richard Armitage, and his downward spiral. It’s not at all engaging, and his eventual story arc is just silly. The surrounding story and characters aren’t as weak, but only mild entertaining nonetheless, and brought down by Thorin’s melodrama. Also, while LotR‘s Return of the King was criticized for it’s “multiple endings”, I much preferred that to the abrupt ending we get with Five Armies.
At one point during the climatic, extended finale of this film I turned to my wife in bewilderment as to how this film was so bad. I expected to see the same look on her face, but instead she was just laughing hysterically for the same reason – we were stunned. The Battle of Five Armies is a terrible film, and a sad note to leave the Lord of the Ring‘s universe with. Also, having paid $45 for two 3D High Frame Rate tickets only pours salt in this wound.