Film: The Hobbit:The Battle of the Five Armies
Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Luke Evans
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Duration: 2 hrs 24 mins
Rating: * * *
The Hobbit trilogy of films finally comes to an end with The Battle of the Five Armies. Directed by Peter Jackson, this prequel to the Lord of The Rings is just one book, and not too thick one at that, but Jackson managed to stretch it into 3 parts and that too of considerable duration in length. At 2 hours 24 minutes, this wrap-up film is the shortest compared to the other two.
The obvious problem of stretching a book so much is that the intensity goes missing and plus there is a lot of flab. The previous installment The Desolation of Smaug ended on a high and promised a high octane finale. It starts off with the dragon cutting loose and unleashing its fury on Laketown till an ace archer Bard (Luke Evans) manages to put it to rest. Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and the dwarfs can only look from a distance while all the breathtaking action unfolds.
Once the opening act is over, the screenplay looses steam. Thorin (Richard Armitage) is all starry eyed and obsessed with the discovery of gold and even turns a blind eye to the word which he had given to Bard. Meanwhile Gandalf (Ian McKellen) manages to escape from Dul Guldur and makes an appearance when the fight to the finish begins. Bilbo Baggins pretty much becomes a spectator to everything that is happening around.
The battle of the armies is the most eye catching piece here and it lasts for over an hour. Jackson surely knows how to pull off a spectacle and the visuals are impressive. The finale is indeed the saving grace as there are portions which will appeal strictly to Tolkien fans. There is also bit of romance thrown in for good measure between the Amazonian elf Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and lovestruck dwarf Kili (Aidan Turner).
Compared to The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit trilogy is a slight letdown primarily because it has not been sustainable from a storytelling point of view. Jackson has lived upto the challenge of using superior special effects as a creative tool.
But all said and seen, am glad he is done with The Hobbit. Now he can go back to making films again.
Published in The Navhind Times on 14th Dec 2014