Friday, December 19, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Peter Jackson, 2014) Review

A lot of great franchises are coming to end this year. Anime fans are well aware of Naruto's finale, I myself have been emotional drained by the ending of The Legend of Korra (and am left wondering what my favourite current TV show is...) and now we enter Middle-Earth for the final time. No books to fall back on, no way they would ever consider making up their own stories (unless they were desperate) so here we are at the end of this amazing saga. "Will you follow me, one last time?".

With Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) unleashed from the Lonely Mountain, the Dwarves led by Thorin (Richard Armitage) take over their former home and claim Smaug's gold for their own. Bard (Luke Evans) leads the citizens of Laketown to the mountain where Thorin refuses their entry after Smaug's attack. Word of the Dwarf's success gets out which attracts the attention of the Orcs and Elves who enter in an all out war over the gold. Bilbo (Martin Freeman) is left in the crossfire to save his friends yet balance Thorin's new found tyranny.

The hardest part about writing the synopsis is that there is a huge major spoiler...less than ten minutes in. It jump-starts the plot yet I had to dance around it which is even harder because that's one of my biggest complaints. I suppose I can generalise my point by saying that I'm starting to see a huge issue with adaptations. The idea of an adaptation, in essence, is to make changes to accommodate a new audience. They do in some places such as the whole Gandalf sub-plot being completely made up however the opening, because of the build up and the actors used as well as the publicity, left me with an audible "...oh". I was left craving much more from that particular aspect and yet I'm left at an anticlimax. I am relieved, however, that the running time is significantly shorter than other films in the franchise seeing as the majority of this one film is based on a single chapter. Doesn't waste time and just delivers what we want...except the opening.

Martin Freeman still delivers a wonderful performance and excels ever further towards the end. One moment in particular is beautifully performed as well as written. One moment towards the end of the battle comes to mind which actually follows a very tense and well one action scene. 2014 has given us some excellent one-on-one fight scenes (Captain America: The Winter Soldier still holding up with its amazing fight choreography) and this one is another one, even more impressive considering its in the middle of a giant war which is also glorious to watch. Throwing in Billy Connolly doesn't hurt either. He fits in with the rest of the cast very well mostly becaues of his banter. It terms of other actors, it is good to see more of Luke Evans this time and I'm glad they actually did  good things with the addition of Legolas and Tauriel which proves to be one of Orlando Bloom's best roles still.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is a pleasant send off for the Middle-Earth saga. It may end on a very bittersweet climax but the battle we were promised is a great way to end the year. The acting is on top form this time with Martin Freeman being the best in particular. It's good to see more from the actors introduced in the previous films (well...Cumberbatch is another story) and I can't say there isn't that much to not like...but then again it doesn't do anything new either. It's just simply here to end the series...and that's fine.

Satisfying conclusion that, while I may have craved a bit more, seems like a good enough send off.

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