Concluding a trilogy is a very tricky thing indeed. That aura of finality clings to each roar of dialogue and every slice of action. The filmmakers have a duty of care to their audience - make sure all loose ends are tied up while delivering a well-executed final blow that wraps up years of agonising waits, shock twists and undeniable grandeur.
So when the third film in a series, a series that never should have been stretched into three parts in the first place, and the concluding romp is more of a lacklustre affair, it feels like a bum note to end on. Not just for the initial trilogy it is part of but for the wider series that depends on this finale to smoothly transition into the next, giving a wider sense of completion. Sadly, The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies is a film that leaves Middle Earth with less of a bang and more of a fizzle.
The Battle of The Five Armies is just as flat as the titular creatures feet and definitely just as hairy. The film is valid and the atmosphere is tinged with a definite lack of passion from Peter Jackson that made The Lord of The Rings such a sweeping epic. Coming from the high of Desolation from Smaug, as the beast falls into the waters of Lake Town as does our excitement. The rest is over long and over worn, empty in most places with the actors bleating out hollow lines that are only held together by the talent of the likes of Martin Freeman, Lee Pace and Ian McKellen (not Luke Evans who is still as watchable as a piece of wood.)
On top of this Jackson and his team do not skimp on the frankly awe-inspiring battle sequences. From Lee Pace’s Thranduil riding majestically on a mother-fucking war elk to Orlando Bloom’s Legolas doing some bat-shit Mario movies up falling bricks amidst a battle with a monstrous orc, it’s clear that all of the budget went into these sweeping bloody montages that are well synchronized pieces. The problem is is that because this is a prequel and therefore, the danger and suspense is torn away from you. Apart from the dwarves, who you’ve never met before, you know that Legolas is going to kick orc butt because he is in The Lord of The Rings amongst others and without jeopardy, there is no real reason to watch this fantastic epic.
It's sloppy and underwritten, a complicated mess that tries too hard and fails to establish a lifting point into the better acclaimed LOTR series. Unfortunately, this is a waste of talent including Jackson's. The whole production has an air of studio demands and a desperation to please critics and fans. It falls painfully short. Imagine The Hobbit as an elastic band stretched between your index finger and your thumb. That's the first that comfortably sits there and doesn’t cause much strain. The second is the middle finger is across your entire hand - it’s straining but the tension is palpable. The third tries to take a singular elastic band and stretch it across realms and realms of underdeveloped lands. It breaks and pings back to the owner with a whole lot of pain and for Peter Jackson….this is an awful lot of hurt for the Oscar winning director.
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As well as our swan song to Ian McKellen aka God!
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is out on DVD now!