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Looneymanthegreat's Movie Reviews (125)

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The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies 
Basically A Giant Action Sequence
2/4 stars

If “The Hobbit Trilogy” is the poor man’s “Lord of the Rings Trilogy,” then The Battle of the Five Armies is the poor man’s Return of the King; and I do think that is a fitting comparison. This sixth entry into the well-known fantasy franchise represents the final act of its individual trilogy in much the same way that Return of the King represented the finale for the previous trilogy.

This latest trip to Middle Earth is basically a giant action sequence, complete with giant monsters, siege-worthy citadels and what feels like a lot more then five armies (I counted eight.) The grandiosity shown is exactly the sort one wants for what is currently the final Lord of the Rings movie, and Jackson brings all of the toys out to play. The actual center arc for this flick may be the strongest of any of Jackson’s fantasy saga, but I wouldn’t be surprised if most audiences leave the theater without any recollection of it; the plot is buried in hours of warfare.

I can’t decide if this is the worst Lord of the Rings movie ever made or the worst (It’s probably the second worst, just so you know.) The relationship between the two central characters is surprisingly heart-felt, but there is so much superfluous crap surrounding it that I barely noticed. And, unfortunately, the superfluous crap that surrounds it isn’t particularly entertaining; It’s actually kind of boring.

Yes, even those action sequences that I was just praising a paragraph or two ago are kind of dull. The CGI here is used, overused an then beaten to death, and the action itself isn’t choreographed with any profound creativity either. A lot of the time, scenes that are supposed to feel important just end up feeling like video game cut-scenes to be skipped through at your discretion. I was not particularly moved by the majority of these characters in the other “The Hobbit” movies, and I see no reason to care about there plights in this final installment.

Even plots that were apparently important seem to lose their importance to the cinematic need for bloodshed. A major character dies in the arms of his beloved, yet it feels like a side note. The dragon that we’ve spent almost an entire movie and a half building up dies in the first fifteen minutes. But who has time for that when we have computer generated trolls and dwarfs to watch? Not Peter Jackson.

I can’t call this a good movie, but it’s better than the first Hobbit. In another world it could be a legitimately good movie, but alas we got the crummy version with the boring side-plots and the abused computer graphics. Maybe if this had been the third entry of a high quality trilogy I could have given it more slack, but it’s predecessors are a pretty okay movie (Desolation of Smaug,) and a straight up cruddy movie (There and Back Again.) It needed a better build up then that to get me excited at the proposition of a three hour action set-piece.

It should be noted that all of the actors here do really good. Orlando Bloom, Luke Evans and Richard Armitage prove that all three of them aren't in nearly enough big budget blockbusters, and Martin Freeman as Bilbo is possibly the best casting choice since Orson Welles cast himself as Citizen Kane.

The Battle of the Five Armies fixes some of the meandering slack-nut plot problems that it’s two predecessors had, but it’s still a ninety minute movie stretched to three hours, it’s characters are still bland, and it still lacks the humor and charisma of the original LOTR trilogy. This, like all the movies in this new trilogy, is mostly filler; the result is a film that has a lot of potential at it’s core, and a whole lot of nothing on the screen. These Hobbit movies have besicaly just been succeeding through good will from the originals, and, for me at least, that well of good will is running dry.


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