Following the World Premiere of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, reviews have begun pouring in – and here we have two from Variety and Empire.
Scott Foundas of Variety Magazine gives the film a very positive review:
This is the way “The Hobbit” ends: not with a whimper, but with an epic battle royale. True to its subtitle, “The Battle of the Five Armies” (revised from the initially more pacific “There and Back Again”), the final installment of Peter Jackson’s distended “Lord of the Rings” prequel offers more barbarians at the gate than you can shake an Elven sword at, each vying for control of mountainous Erebor. The result is at once the trilogy’s most engrossing episode, its most expeditious (at a comparatively lean 144 minutes) and also its darkest — both visually and in terms of the forces that stir in the hearts of men, dwarves and orcs alike.
Empire, likewise, gives it a thumbs up – albeit with a few quibbles. Reviewer James Dyer comments that Jackson’s ruthless editing does leave a few subplots feeling under developed. However, he applauded the battle that takes up the bulk of the film and the performances of Richard Armitage and Martin Freeman.
As both hero and antagonist at various points, this is in large part Armitage’s film. Thorin’s descent into madness under the dragon’s taint is played out with maniacal intensity. His grim rebuff of Luke Evans’ diplomatic overtures (the exchange framed beautifully by a hole in Erebor’s barricade) and final, hallucinatory epiphany upon a floor of burnished gold are as masterfully shot as they are powerfully delivered. Bilbo, by contrast, is a portrait of quiet understatement. Freeman has grown into the part like a second skin, his warmth and honesty underpinning the hobbit’s self-effacing befuddlement. It’s not until the end, with the film’s most effective piece of foreshadowing, that we see cracks in his character as the Ring exerts its influence.
Update: The Hollywood Reporter joins the company of heavyweights that gives the latest Hobbit movie a positive review:
Much as The Return of the King wrapped up the Lord of the Rings saga on an action-dominated high note, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies lives up to its mayhem potential by making maximum use of modern technology to create an abundant smorgasbord of wildly varied and sometimes mordantly amusing combat; this is an out-and-out war film, with gobs of trimmings.
After all the initial fuss and bother about the 3D and 48 frames-per-second images, Jackson and his visual team made the necessary technical adjustments to smooth things out, the result being a strong, robust looking, CGI-dominant film with great detailing and gargantuan imagery.
Click on the links below to read the full reviews.