Good, Bad & Ugly Review: The Hobbit – The Battle of The Five Armies

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 60% (Critics) / 80% (Audience)
Directed By: Peter Jackson
Written By: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, and Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly and Luke Evans
Studio: Warner Bros.
Synopsis: Bilbo and Company are forced to engage in a war against an array of combatants and keep the terrifying Smaug from acquiring a kingdom of treasure and obliterating all of Middle-Earth. – (Source)

The Good:
It has become a bit nice to see the cast of this movie as these now familiar characters all together. And there were a lot of really emotional beats that were successfully hit upon by the conclusion of the movie.
The titular battle was a epic visual display and Peter Jackson deserves credit for getting so much on screen while still making everything easy to follow.
And I would be remiss if I did not once again mention how much I absolutely love the way Lee Pace plays Thranduil. He is just so sassy!

The Bad:
With all of the liberties taken with the source material I cannot figure out why Bilbo Baggins wasn’t written a much larger part of the proceedings. He played second fiddle to almost ever other character and it seemed like a waste of Martin Freeman’s talents.
There was just a little too much time spent on Thorin acting like Daffy Duck in Ali Baba Bunny…I get that he was under the influence of “Dragon Fever” but it got really tedious after about 5 minutes and his insta-recovery from it didn’t help make it any more tolerable.
Still feel absolutely no chemistry between Tauriel and Kili or even Tauriel and Legolas for that matter. Conveying believable romantic chemistry seemed to be one thing Peter Jackson was not quite skilled at putting on film.
And I understand that Warner’s gave Jackson a hefty budget for effects but it seemed like he was just tossing in CGI for no good reason. A character riding a horse at a distance is complete CGI but then once the character gets closer it is the actor on a real horse. If you have a human and a horse on set why not just film the whole sequence using them?

The Ugly:
The opening scenes of Smaug attacking Lake Town would have been so much more successful if they had been added to the end of the second film instead of the beginning of this one.

Final Verdict: A flawed film to be sure but in the end it delivers a satisfying conclusion for the long journey that Bilbo (and the audience) has been on over the past few years. Maybe a little restraint would have helped make a more focused movie (and trilogy) but I cannot honestly say that I wasn’t wholly entertained at the of this one.

Grade: B-

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