“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” does what it was meant to do: bring a rousing conclusion to a trilogy released in three years. The problem is that there are not as many characters to care about as we did in the first LOTR trilogy. Yes the special effects are impressive, but through the battle, I got a sense of “been there, done that”.
For those who are not familiar with “The Hobbit”” movies, this third film is about the end of the adventure of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman, who does a wonderful job here). He has been accompanied by a handful of dwarves, led by their king Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage, who does well in the movies, despite some bits of overacting at times). There is also the familiar Gandalf the Grey (Ian Mckellan), who does what he can to restore peace between the dwarves and the elves before they go to war.
One of the biggest problems with the three movies this time around is the story. It is not that there isn’t one, but it is too layered and confusing. The original three movies had a simple aspect: take the ring and destroy it. This time, they throw in too much that I don’t even remember from the book (which I enjoyed more so than any of the books from the original trilogy). This includes an elf played by Evangeline Lilly, and Orlando Bloom returning as Legolas, which was not from the book. It is a shame that they wanted to make three movies, I admit, all due to trying to make more money. I still feel this should have been one movie.
Parents, this movie is fine for kids if you know they have seen at least one of the other films (although if they have seen at least one of the films, they probably have seen them all to avoid confusion). There is violence, of course, but not too horrible.
In short, fanboys will love the film, I am sure. As for me, I remember when the original films came out, and I felt the need to watch the previous one to catch me up and get me in the mood for the new one. I did not feel that same magic with “The Hobbit” films.
Overall: 2 Stars **