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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – a ‘first thoughts’ review (spoiler free!)

December 1, 2014 at 11:15 pm by greendragon  - 

HBFA_1sht_Main_INTLAnd so we come to it – the last Hobbit movie of our time…

Maybe not – but certainly this is the final film in what is now Peter Jackson’s sextuplet of Middle-earth movies. And I was lucky enough to see it today.

Here are some spoiler-free first impressions:

It is a beautiful film. So many lovely moments – great acting from our dwarf cast (who have very few lines amongst them, but who do wonderful, expressive things facially and with body language). Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Luke Evans and Richard Armitage are as fabulous as they have been throughout these films.

John Bell (Bain, son of Bard) is a stand out ‘supporting role’ in this film. There is a scene between him and his father Bard which is especially moving – it was the first scene in the film to make me cry! From the dwarves, Ken Stott (Balin) and Graham McTavish (Dwalin) both have well scripted, skilfully played scenes.

Christopher Lee is fantastic – Saruman is a force to be reckoned with in this film, even though he only appears briefly!

There are some typically over the top, ‘PJ’ moments – bits which made me roll my eyes, but which, on the whole, we’ve come to expect from this playful director. Legolas does more than shield-surfing in this movie… But when it comes to the quiet, downplayed moments, this stellar cast don’t let us down. I was moved to tears often; the scene when Bilbo takes his final leave from the company of dwarves is beautifully touching.

Howard Shore’s score is as effective as ever, and of course the production and costume design are wonderful. Is this the best of the three Hobbit movies? Maybe. I need to see it again to decide. Does it rise to the height of the Lord of the Rings movies? In places, yes. There are scenes of spectacular depth and emotion, as well as that incredible New Zealand scenery. There are CGI moments which, for me, are jarring – vast hordes of soldiers where it is all too obvious that the same CGI character is repeated multiple times – but on the whole, not so many in this film as there were in The Desolation of Smaug.

There are small things I might wish to change, but overall, this is a satisfying end to this trilogy – and a pleasing ‘lead in’ to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Tonight on the red carpet, Peter Jackson asked me who would be the first person to watch all six films in order. I can’t wait to see The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies again; and I can’t wait to watch this film ‘in situ’ with the other five movies. It’s a worthy, emotional part of our Middle-earth journey; a three tissue film for me! We went there; we’ve come back again; and the journey has been well worth it.

Join us in Los Angeles in February at The One Last Party

one last party logo We’re hosting a Party of Special Magnificence next February — a final toast to all SIX movies, both The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy.

We’re inviting you to join us and make it happen through our Indiegogo campaign — so we can all celebrate Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies together!

Visit our campaign page and find out how you can help!

Posted in Christopher Lee, Graham McTavish, Hobbit Movie, Ian McKellen, John Bell, Ken Stott, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Luke Evans, Martin Freeman, Peter Jackson, Richard Armitage, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies on December 1, 2014 by