The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Is One Epic Film
Seventeen years after Sir Peter Jackson won the rights to film The Lord Of The Rings, he is finally taking leave of JRR Tolkien and Middle-earth with the conclusion of The Hobbit. The new film marks a magnificent, Wagnerian-style finale, full of sound and fury, and with an unexpected emotional kick, according to reviewer Geoffrey McNab in The Independent.
“If you haven’t seen the first two episodes, expect to be baffled. Jackson doesn’t make any concessions at all to newcomers to The Hobbit. The Battle Of The Five Armies begins just where last year’s The Desolation Of Smaug finished off. We’re plunged straight into the action with the dragon laying waste to Lake-town, with only Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans in Errol Flynn mode) offering the townsfolk any chance of survival.
“Generally in big budget fantasy epics, the filmmakers go to great lengths to establish character and set the plot rolling before they introduce the real spectacle. Here, Jackson, obviously feeling he has done the groundwork in the earlier episodes, starts letting off the fireworks right at the outset and doesn’t let up. The film is shorter than its predecessors and is essentially one long series of battles.
“Almost all the action is set against the backdrop of the lonely mountain of Erebor. Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his dwarves have taken control of the castle but Thorin’s character is being corrupted by the gold. He forgets his honour and his promises to the people of Lake-town.
“By the end of the film, several armies have converged on Erebor. Elves, dwarves and humans are all at loggerheads and seemingly unaware of the threat posed to them by the hordes of murderous Orcs about to converge on them.
“A movie comprised almost entirely of battles could have become very tedious indeed. Jackson, though, is always able to give an intimacy to even the biggest, noisiest scenes. Howard Shore’s music plays a crucial role in driving the action forward and in providing emotional shading. Martin Freeman’s role as the down to earth everyman Bilbo Baggins provides much needed contrast to the bombast that runs through The Battle Of The Five Armies.
“The Battle Of The Five Armies is the strongest, boldest film in the Hobbit trilogy and Jackson provides just the send-off that the series deserves.”
Original article by Geoffrey McNab, The Independent, December 2 2014
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