23rd Nov2015

‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Dean O’Gorman, Aidan Turner, John Callen, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sylvester McCoy, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Manu Bennett | Written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro | Directed by Peter Jackson


In my original review of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies I said that I felt that some scenes felt a little rushed, so with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition I was interested to see how the film would feel. All I will say is that I was pleasantly surprised…

With Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) defeated and the Dwarves held up in the Lonely Mountain armies from around Middle-Earth converge to do battle over both the gold and the strategically important landmark. With Gandalf (Ian McKellen) awaiting rescue from the hands of the Necromancer the war that will change everything finally finds its roots.

While with the first two Hobbit movies I found the extended scenes more interesting than actually required for the films, with The Battle of the Five Armies I actually felt that the film really did benefit from what had been re-added. The battle to save Gandalf for example has a more epic feel and reveals more about what is to come in Lord of the Rings. When we finally get to the battle at Lonely Mountain we also see extended, added and changed scenes that add to the fun of the fight. This is what I found to be the strength of the film, that it is more fun.

If take a step back from all of the criticism about the number of movies The Hobbit became and what the they mean for Lord of the Rings alone, The Battle of the Five Armies suddenly becomes a lot more fun. This is an epic battle between humans, elves, dwarves, orc, wizards, and more. Peter Jackson is like the conductor of a great orchestra pulling together all parts of the chaos and bringing them together in some engaging set-pieces. The fact that he also manages to keep the story flowing at the same time is equally as impressive.

For fans of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, The Battle of the Five Armies may be a little too action orientated, but I found myself okay with it. Having read the books I knew the story and just how small a part of the story the actual battle is, but when the decision was taken to make this a whole movie then that was the task at hand. For a film now 164 minutes in life the time also keeps moving at a fast pace and the huge battle fits into the world of Lord of the Rings impressively.

While there is negativity around The Hobbit trilogy, I for one enjoyed them. Yes, Lord of the Rings is the better set of movies and that won’t change. For a fun tale based in Middle-Earth that is true to the J.R.R. Tolkien world of Middle-Earth, The Battle of the Five Armies for one lives up to what it needs to do. Hopefully though this will be the final film, though in the commentary they discuss what could be included in the next. Thankfully Jackson makes it clear that they won’t be working on it.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition not only shows how good Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens are at pulling together Lord of the Rings films but also just how good WETA Workshop are. For Lord of the Rings fans I’m sure that they already have this on their must-buy list, but for fans of fantasy and action films this is also well worth checking out too, especially in this extended form.

****½  4.5/5

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition is available on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD and Digital HD now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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