The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES (2014) ** ½

Finally. Here we are at last. The third and final chapter of what really could’ve been one movie.

After Bard (Luke Evans) slays Smaug the Dragon (Benedict Cumberbatch), dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) takes control of the Lonely Mountain. When Bard’s people come to the mountain seeking shelter, Thorin turns them away. This not only riles up Bard, but the elves (led by Lee Pace) as well. Bilbo (Martin Freeman) knows that Thorin is only acting like a jackass because he’s got “Dragon Fever” and wants to hoard the gold in the mountain for himself, so he sets out to make a truce. Then, wouldn’t you know it? The orcs show up and start a big brouhaha for control of the mountain.

After a strong start (where we actually get to see Smaug do some desolating for a change), director Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies quickly dives headfirst into overkill. At 144 minutes, this is by far the shortest Hobbit/Rings movie yet, and somehow it feels like the longest. Nearly two hours’ worth of footage is devoted to the titular battle and it all gets quite numbing after a while. Somewhere along the way, you start suffering from “Battle" fatigue.

Sure, there are some good moments here. For starters, we get plenty of decapitations in the battle scenes. There is a sweet part where Pace impales a half dozen orcs on his reindeer and then cuts all of their heads off with one fell swoop of his sword. I also liked the fight Legolas (Orlando Bloom) had in a crumbling tower, and I thought the giant trolls with slingshots on their back were cool. Still, there’s nothing here that comes close to matching the awesome barrel chase sequence from The Desolation of Smaug.

The best moments though are the ones that directly tie back to The Lord of the Rings movies. The highlight comes when Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), Elrond (Hugo Weaving), and Saruman (Christopher Lee) rescue the imprisoned Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and unwittingly unleash Sauron. I also dug when Bilbo got his armor, and when Legolas was sent on his quest to find Stryder. These moments are nice, but they don’t exactly make the movie.

As for the 48fps, it didn’t do much for me this time out. Maybe I’ve just gotten accustomed to its charms. The Smaug scene looked awesome, but the rest of the film didn’t really benefit from the technology. The 3-D isn’t all that great either as only the occasional arrow and errant sword protrude from the screen. So if you see it in 2-D, you really won’t be missing much.

I wouldn’t be surprised if in ten years’ time Jackson announces The Appendices: The Movie: Part 1 (of 6).

Tags: action, christopher lee, h, in 3-d, lord of the rings series, sequel
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