The final instalment of The Hobbit three part film adaptation – The Battle of the Five Armies, once again stars the much-admired Ian McKellan, Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage. Its release in the United Kingdom on 12th December 2014 was one of the most anticipated films during the festive season. The stakes are high as all creatures challenge one another in the hope of gaining control over The Lonely Mountain.
Directed by Peter Jackson, this adaptation has a violent nature, openly revealed in the title. Taking this into consideration, the 12A rating still seems slightly low. The film is horrific with many graphic and gruesome fight scenes, dominated by fatal blows to the head. Certainly, the cinematic experience intensifies the violence.
There is something of a stereotype in males being able to withstand watching action and horror scenes more than females which this film perpetuates. Perhaps it is a memorable film where compelling visual images may be left in viewers’ mind. Younger viewers could possibly be haunted by these images, as the Orcs ghastly look can be spine tingling to confront.
Its 144 minute duration is an adequate length, not too long to hold the audience’s attention, as this was problematic with the previous parts. Some viewers may argue that the storyline is weaker than the previous two films; most of the focus centred on battle sequences. Whether audiences have read the book or not, as soon as Armitage, playing Thorin, shows early signs of growing corrupt due to the gold inside the mountain, the plot unfortunately becomes predictable. There is a sense that Thorin’s selfish characteristics will lead to a series of bad decision making the downfall of Thorin the end result.
Smaug, the dragon featuring the acclaimed Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice, captivates viewers in terms of his look, physicality and bellowing voice. In the past, film and television series based on dragons have arguably been overdone, such as those dating back to the 1900s including Dragon Slayer, Eragon, How to Train Your Dragon one and two, and Merlin. This particular dragon’s inherent malevolent nature is both terrifying and makes you question the inner workings of his conscience and motives.
It is safe to say that the tying up of events in this last film is less gripping than the steady build-up, almost as if the anticipation is too great and inevitably there is an anti-climax. High expectations lead to fear of disappointment. Nevertheless, people’s child-like emotional connection to either the book or the films makes this complete fantasy adventure an enjoyable watch. The detailed creation of ‘Middle Earth’ within The Hobbit, devised by J.R.R. Tolkein, helps the books become easily translatable to screen. There are some additional scenes not present in the book which Hobbit fans might enjoy because when watching the film there is less excitement if you know precisely what will happen and how. There is a more in depth look at the background of characters such as Tauriel who was created especially for the Hobbit film version.
It is often said that it was unnecessary to split the book into three films. The Lord of the Rings is a far larger book yet only required three films thus the Hobbit being an extremely small book, should need only one film to tell the storyline properly. The commercial motive for profit should not overrun the creativity and reason for making films. Similar to the J.K. Rowling Harry Potter series, The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings will hopefully continue to be family favourites throughout for many years to come.