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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014): 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.
The disappointing conclusion to a disappointing trilogy.
Ok. Everyone who is a Lord of the Rings fanboy reading this, please leave. I don't want to hear your sh*t about how this franchise deserved a three movie trilogy and how you're really glad that you got to spend three times the money to see one movie's worth of content spanned out over 8 hours. You wonder why the Tolkien estate won't allow any more LOTR movies after
Once again this quantity over quality style shows here, as we essentially get two hours of battle scenes that could've just as easily been condensed into the final hour of a three hour movie over the course of this 144 minute film. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't mind getting two hours of battle LOTR-style battle scenes, but I didn't care about any of it. Unlike the climax of Return of the King in the Battle of Minas Tirith, where you feel an incredible feeling of despair and emotion as you see Sauron's army for the first time as it approaches the gates, you never feel that in The Battle of the Five Armies.
Ok I'm going to talk about one other thing that really pissed me off before talking about good stuff, ok? Remember that cliffhanger ending in The Desolation of Smaug that drove you (hopefully) and me absolutely crazy? Ya. So they pick up right where they left off and the resolve the plot line involving Smaug within the first 15 minutes of this movie. Can you imagine if The Two Towers just ended as Gandalf appeared at the top of the mountain while the orcs were about to break into the keep? The fact that ANYONE can be ok with Peter Jackson ending The Desolation of Smaug the way he did is just.....mind boggling. It's honestly idiotic to be ok with this. And it really just put a sour taste in my mouth for a large part of this movie. Shame on you for doing this to The Hobbit franchise, Peter Jackson. Shame on you.
I'm going to shut up now, but there's still a lot of disappointing things in this movie that I haven't covered. Like how fake the cgi characters look. They look less realistic than they did in the original trilogy, which is really, really depressing. Or Tauriel. I spent a lot of time bashing her character and its existence in my Desolation of Smaug review, so I won't do it again here. Just....I love Evangeline Lilly. Bless her soul. I really want to see her do well in Hollywood post-Lost. But not here. That character sucks. I wish they had gotten someone like Jessica Biel to play her so I can bash the performance in addition to the writing. But I can't. The performance is good, but her entire existence in the series is frustrating. Ok! Moving on.
In short, this movie is above average, but painfully so. It is so disappointing to me to see one of my favorite franchises decimated like this, but we're still ok with it. This movie has set a terrible precedent in Hollywood that (hopefully) us the consumer will eventually speak out against with our wallets, but until then, we are just going to have to accept that quantity over quality is the new norm with film adaptations of great novels. I'm going to go cry now. Again.
The Critique: A painfully above average final installment in the LOTR franchise.
The Recommendation: Hobbit fans have already seen this movie and already hate me, but if you haven't seen a single LOTR movie yet, please please PLEASE watch the original three. Then maybe sludge through these.
The Verdict: 6/10 Above Average
Well....we come to it at last. The end of the LOTR franchise. I wish I had better words for this movie. Really. One of these days, I'll return to this franchise and review the first three, but it is not this day that that will happen. This day, I must focus on other things. But some days. Until then, I'll see y'all again in my next review!