The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Four races want the Kingdom of Erebor for themselves: Dwarves, Men, Elves, and Orcs—and the hobbit Bilbo is in the middle of it all. Will the three good races join to combat the evil legion and save the Mountain from becoming a strategic fortress to strike the rest of Middle Earth or will greed consume them all?
The dwarves have reclaimed their kingdom, but the journey isn’t over yet. Thorin Oakenshield has become King Under the Mountain and the tainted dragon’s gold has made him consumed with greed, and Bilbo seeks to restore him to his old self even if that means betraying his wishes.
Meanwhile, Smaug the Terrible has destroyed Lake Town rendering the townsfolk homeless and Bard seeks shelter for his people. Also Thranduil and the Mirkwood Elves want to reclaim their people’s celestial gems from the Dwarven hold, and the Orcs desire to take the Mountain to become a strategic position in an oncoming war between Orcs, Elves and Men.
Three races want Erebor, but Thorin refuses to give it up. Will the races of good unite against the Orcs to stop the evil from getting the upper hand or will they all tear each other apart in their greed?
The world of Middle Earth has been close to my heart since I was a small child. When the Lord of the Rings trilogy came to theaters I was too young to see it, so I find it amazing that I can now see Middle Earth films in the theaters as an adult. I have cherished the Hobbit since my mother read it to me when I was eight. Peter Jackson did an excellent job taking my beloved childhood story and turning it into a beautiful group of films.
One thing I love about the Hobbit films is that they’ve kept loyal to the book for the most part, but expanded in a lot of areas that I felt made the story more satisfying. Since the Hobbit was originally written for children, the author Tolkien kept it simplistic in many areas. The director Peter Jackson (He also directed the Lord of the Rings films.) did a great job of adding even more depth than the original story had.
A particular expanded area is the character development. Not much was included in the book and some characters seemed a bit one dimensional, but I like that screenplay writers Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh, and Guillermo del Toro expanded them in the films.
Thorin (Richard Artmitage), Thranduil (Lee Pace), Bard (Luke Evans), and Bilbo (Martin Freeman) shined the most in this movie. All of them had great character arcs. Thorin and Thranduil battle greed; Bilbo blossoms in his courage and love for the dwarves; and Bard shows his love and selflessness for his family and his people. Several other characters have excellent development including Kili (Aidan Turner) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom).
As in every Middle Earth film the costumes are fantastic with such detail and beauty. Weta does an excellent job every time. All of the hair styles are equally as impressive and creative, especially with the dwarves and elves. The CGI was excellent, making the Middle Earth creatures, the massive armies, and strongholds look so realistic. The fighting was epic with smooth combat moves and fantastical weapons.
There are so many gorgeous visuals with snow, ice and fire. The settings are breathtaking from Lake Town to Erebor to Gundabad. Peter Jackson’s creative camera angles really allow you to drink in the surroundings and experience the action like I’ve never seen in other films. His wide shots are just phenomenal.
Though there were many loyal parts like Bilbo hitting his head at one point and the deaths (I’m still getting over them), in many instances Peter Jackson took creative license which I thought was a good call. In the book, Bilbo was unconscious throughout the Battle of the Five Armies so the director had to play around with events to a degree.
A sequence between the White Council, the Nazgul, and the Necromancer was added to show some background about the Eye of Sauron. Peter Jackson added some more Middle Earth creatures which were very creative. Another thing that was interesting was a flag signal system to relay orders from Azog to his army which I’m jealous of not thinking of. In a Peter Jackson film, you can always expect creativity.
PJ also expanded about the politics between Thranduil, Bard, Thorin, Azog and the Mountain and why exactly it was so important to all of them, not just for wealth but for a strategic position. It raised the stakes and made the battle even more significant and paved the way for the Lord of the Rings to weave in. Many scenes especially at the end led into the next part of journey of the Ring.
The music was lovely. Several spots with vocals particularly stood out to me, and I’m hoping to buy the soundtrack when I can and add it to the rest of my vast collect of Middle Earth soundtracks. Howard Shore is an excellent composer. I couldn’t imagine anyone else doing the score for this film. Billy Boyd’s credits song “The Last Goodbye” was the cherry on top as it was so fitting for the feel of the movie.
The themes in this film were just excellent. There was so much to draw from it. A minor theme was shown excellently in a scene with Bard, his son Bain (John Bell), and Smaug the Terrible (Benedict Cumberbatch). Smaug is trying to destroy Lake Town, and Bard is standing on a wooden tower setting loose arrows upon the beast, desperately trying to stop the dragon from razing his home. Bain comes to his father’s aid with the black arrow—the only arrow that can pierce Smaug’s scaly hide.
But Smaug hits the tower and destroys Bard’s bow in the process so Bard has to make do to fire the only arrow by setting the halves of his bow into the wood, pulling back the large arrow with two hands, and setting the arrow shaft on Bain’s shoulder to keep it steady. Bain faces Bard while his back is to Smaug. Smaug spouts threats about killing Bain, but Bard tells him not to look at Smaug but to look at him, his father, and trust him.
This gave me a gorgeous picture about how God could be Bard, Smaug Satan and Bain a Christian. God wants us to focus on him and trust him, not the lies and threats that Satan tells us. He doesn’t want us to even look on Satan, because God has it all under control, and He will keep us safe.
The biggest themes were the temptation of greed, the worth of people over possessions, brotherhood, and the value of home. Both Thranduil and Thorin are tempted by the wealth of the mountain. This is accentuated in another creative license taken that Smaug’s greed seeped into the treasure poisoning it in a sense, so Thorin is intoxicated by the massive amounts of gold. The two struggle between valuing the riches they’ve craved for so long and the value of their people they want to fight to take it or defend it.
Bard and Bilbo on the other hand are completely selfless when it comes to the treasure. Bard only wants it for his people to rebuild their homes after the havoc Smaug the Terrible wreaked; Bilbo doesn’t really care about the riches only that Thorin and company are safe. Then the Mayor of Lake Town’s crony Alfrid (Ryan Gage) in the end completely falls into greed and cowardice. The story shows overcoming, resisting, and succumbing to greed.
In a country like ours where wealth and riches are valued so highly, it is easy to fall into a thirst for success and money that can be toxic not only to us, but to our friends and family as we value what we can achieve more than what we have. As shown in this movie, what really matters is love and sacrifice—even if that means giving up objects that we hold dear.
This is a war movie. Most of the film is violent. There are a variety of weapons hacking and slashing at an assortment of races. There wasn’t too much blood or any severe gore. The worst was some orcs being relieved of their heads and some blood on the characters from wounds, but nothing that made me look away.
Some of the orcs and the Necromancer can be frightening to young children, and Galadriel takes on her dark form (shown briefly in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring) which is a bit … dark.
There was one swear word which I found disappointing since all of the Middle Earth films have been clean of swear words. B****** was said once by the dwarf Dain.
The only crude humor is when Alfrid dresses up as a woman to avoid being called to arms, then finds gold in a broken pot and stuffs it into the corset of the dress around the chest area.
Two characters kiss at one point.
Thranduil and the men drink at one point, but no intoxication is shown.
Other Negative Content:
Some characters had to die.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies made me laugh, weep multiple times, and my eyes widen in awe at this film especially since I saw it in 3D. This movie had so much to take away from and was a great last Middle Earth movie. I cried not just because of the deaths of the characters, but because this is the last of these movies. These films have been such a big part of my life and of so many others’ lives. The movies and the books’ positive, Christian messages have impacted me forever.
+Great Character Arcs
+Epic Battles Scenes
-Some divergences from the book
-Unnecessary swear word