The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies (Review)

As a box office smash hit and an iconic, genre-defining book series, Canada is waiting with bated breath for the December Seventeenth release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Since the last edition of the saga, The Desolation of Smaug, both casual watchers/readers as well as super fans have been raving about the cliffhanger ending of the most recent installment. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has vowed to return to the series after the bitter taste of disappointment with the last movie’s abrupt ending. And this episode of the series promises to be an even more exciting, rollicking adventure than the last. After finally defeating Smaug, a power drunk Thorin (true king of the dwarves), seeks the Arkenstone, described only as a “jewel of immense power, which has been in the dwarven royal family for centuries.” Amidst all this, however, an elven army has come to reclaim the Lonely Mountain, not to mention hordes of orcish warriors serving the necromancer. The races of men, elves and dwarves must decide whether they will fall as enemies or unite and survive.
The stage is set for a rare type of action movie, with enough action and adventure to keep it exciting and enough plot and story to make it stimulating instead of 2 hours of explosions. And Peter Jackson, instead of carefully balancing the two ingredients of the film, did-as so many directors nowadays do-made it just another high budget, high-octane action flick. By all accounts, the CGI and fight scenes were spectacular-but as National Film Review reports, “Yes, old favorites such as Baggins and Legolas are still there, but we barely feel a connection-a fact emphasized by the audience members who “oohed” and “aahed” at every darting arrow and burst of flame, but never fell silent enough to follow the dialogue”. Such is the way of modern blockbusters- The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, 007: Quantum of Solace- All sprung from great series filled with a perfect amount of shootouts and storyline, and turned into a 2-hour reel of sexy women, fighting, explosions, fast cars, high stakes, money, etc.
BOTFA also, in typical modern movie fashion, has no reason to root for the protagonist. There are simply 5 armies fighting over a huge amount of treasure. In the Indiana Jones series, you had the desire for knowledge, protection of education, honouring the past, and keeping powerful, dangerous relics out of the wrong hands. Luke Skywalker and friends, in Star Wars, fought for the force and to free the galaxy from a malevolent dictator. Pulp Fiction, Back to the future, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off- there is always a reason to root for the hero-that’s what makes a film an edge of your seat, nail biting, barely-breathing story.
Instead, The Hobbit has a whole lot of mythical races and beings fighting over shiny things like magpies. For such an amazing, pitch perfect set of books, The Hobbit series has been a serious let down for all the fans of the series, branching off from its true self and giving itself up to the uber-action films of our era. Perhaps there will come a day when the races of men create a fantasy series quite as amazing as LOTR and The Hobbit, but today is not that day. But until that day comes, we will never forget you, Tolkien.

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