There’s precious little time for our characters in this action packed finale
The original title of this third installment in the Hobbit series was The Hobbit: There and Back Again. I assumed that Warner Brothers altered the original title because it’s a dangerous one for a movie that is bordering on been-there-done-that familiarity. Turns out, The Battle of the Five Armies is the more fitting title for a movie that is just about five armies fighting. Seriously, there’s very little time for anything else.
The battle is worth your time; the action scenes are the best in the whole series. But a lot of magic was lost.
It still tops in scope, fantasy storytelling and big-canvas beauty. Yet somehow you can’t quite forget that The Hobbit films never matched up to Peter Jackson’s trilogy. Perhaps no series could.
What separated them at the beginning, and had such potential for this series, was the miniature-sized sweetness and heart of the main characters. Martin Freeman brings more to his hobbit than Elijah Wood did and I developed more fondness for this series' merry band of characters. There wasn’t much of that stuff in the third installment (and there is way too little screen time for Bilbo Baggins), but when tragedy threatens these characters we loved, it is all the more compelling for it.
Amazingly from fantasy master Peter Jackson, the final moments fall very flat and threaten to make to make the whole Tolkien series feel quite pointless. I’ll ignore that disappointing end because I sure did enjoy the ride.
Simply put: A middling Middle Earth installment; go for the action. This one is only a two hours and 24 minutes investment.
Award potential: Even a few technical award nominations would be a surprise. It’s not even on the short list for makeup. The Oscars have moved on.
The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks. This battle-centric film is worth the 3D hassle.