Reviewing a film like The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is not like reviewing any other. Because this is not a regular film: it is the end of an era, one that began on 10 December 2001, when The Fellowship of the Ring was released. Since then, New Zealander director Peter Jackson has taken us on a journey through the stories of J. R. R. Tolkien, a story that is now coming to an end.
In my particular case, I had just turned 13 when I saw the first movie (the school took us to the cinema to see it, so you could already tell this was something big), so it has a special meaning for me, as it has for so many other people. All the actors, the sets, the adventures, they all are unforgettable and unrepeatable.
The plot picks up where The Desolation of Smaug ended, with the titular dragon, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, ready to destroy Esgaroth (or Laketown) and everything that has to do with the dwarves. A thrilling 15-minute sequence that ends with Bard killing the dragon. Wait, the dragon is already dead? We still have two more hours! A time that relies heavily on CGI and one big battle -did you guess that? You know, because of the film’s title?
Nevertheless, not everything is thanks to the special effects and the impressive cinematography (kudos to the talented Academy Award winner Andrew Lesnie). Jackson knows how to choose his actors, and they all shine here. Apart from Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman, both of whom are thespians one can always rely on, a very special mention should be made to Richard Armitage, who has portrayed the role of Thorin Oakenshield with vigour and firmness for these past three movies and gives his best in The Battle of the Five Armies. First, you hate him a bit because he starts going a bit gold-mad (which pretty much solved my dilemma over who to marry, Thorin or Bard). But then you love him again when he regains his heroic personality, so my dilemma is still there: Evans or Armitage? Decisions, decisions…
Needless to say, there are many other actors who stand out, like all the dwarves and the elves, although the romantic dynamic between Aidan Turner’s Kíli and Evangeline Lilly’s Tauriel (created specifically for the movies) dominates the screen on several occasions -and if you didn’t cry when she did, there is a high chance you don’t have a heart.
Without saying anything about the ending, just in case someone has not read the book, this is a perfect way to end the quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain. Erebor is where this story and this journey both end, but not necessarily so: if after watching The Battle of the Five Armies you feel melancholic and cannot accept that it is over, simply start watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy again. But be warned, Sean Bean still dies in the first film. It is like a rule of nature.
The Hobbit trilogy is not as good as The Lord of the Rings one, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Besides, there is no way any of these films could have had a scene better than the Battle of Helm’s Deep, let’s accept that.
This is not the end of an era, it is an opportunity to rediscover little things that we have missed along the way. One does not simply forget about Middle-earth.
My favourite moments (possibly the most ridiculous as well)
-Legolas grabbing a bird and flying.
–Legolas climbing that bridge as it was falling apart.
-Actually, that entire fight sequence.
-Kíli smiling to Tauriel as he died.
-Bilbo staying with Thorin as he died.
-Thorin’s fight with Azog.
-Legolas running out of arrows for the first time since 2001.
-Bard killing Smaug with his son’s help.
-Beorn shape-shifting in the air.
-Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice scaring the hell out of me.
-Cate Blanchett becoming the girl from The Ring.
-Thranduil riding an elk (I want one for my birthday).