From the author of The Lord of The Rings trilogy, J. R. R. Tolkien, and the same crew behind their film adaptations, Peter Jackson and his writing team, The Battle of the Five Armies is the final instalment in a trilogy of films based on the classic fantasy novel, The Hobbit. Picking up from The Desolation of Smaug, this final third follows on with the dwarves as they attempt to reclaim their homeland of Erebor, as the titular battle ensues on The Lonely Mountain, with the Goblins and the Wargs fighting against the Men of Lake-town, the Elves, the Dwarves and Eagles.
The following post is a review of the film only. You can read my review of the book on its own here or my comparison of the film to the book here.
Stretching The Hobbit into three films was a brave move from the beginning, but it’s only in this final film that you can see Jackson’s struggle. Whilst a battle of five whole armies may sound like a film worth of footage, not a lot actually happens in these final pages of the book. With the war itself being skipped over quite quickly in no more than 3 pages, the exhilarating adventure that The Hobbit is known for being is, unfortunately, pretty much over, as Tolkien begins to conclude the story quite rapidly from this point on. And this shows quite badly in this film.
You may be thinking that Peter Jackson is the man of epic battles and films that can run for 3 hours without flaw, so this should be no problem for him. Right? But alongside horribly bad CGI effects and lengthy fight scenes with numerous different Wargs who all look the same, The Battle of the Five Armies is nothing but a dragged out mess.
I quite liked the first two instalments of The Hobbit (and rated them both four-star films), but this third instalment doesn’t come close. It’s almost an insult to compare it to The Lord of The Rings trilogy at this point because it just doesn’t have any of the great character chemistries, decent effects, beautiful settings, epic adventure, or light-hearted humour, and only ends the franchise on a sour note.