The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Parent Review
Fans will also appreciated the detailed settings and fantastic creatures, even if the story doesn't quite meet the standard set by the previous productions of this franchise.
Bilbo Baggins, (Martin Freeman), survived the first two installments in the Hobbit trilogy (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), and has finally made it to film number three. This timid little hobbit, who once preferred books and an armchair to the dangers of the outside world, surprised everyone when he decided to embark on an adventure with Thorin Oakenshield, (Richard Armitage), and his band of dwarves.
Fortunately, with the help of Gandalf the wizard, (Ian McKellan), the group has successfully battled trolls, orcs and giant spiders. They have trekked through mountains and forests. They have even outwitted a whole kingdom of elves. And now, it looks as though their journey is about to pay off in a big way. The dwarves have reached their ancestral home—a mountain kingdom literally piled with gold—and all that remains is to wrest it from the clutches of the greedy dragon, Smaug (voice of Benedict Cumberbatch). The end is in sight.
Or so they thought. In fact, Smaug the Magnificent only graces the film for a few minutes before being dispatched by a resourceful human (Luke Evans). But the dragon goes out with a bang, leaving the local town ablaze. What’s more, the death of the scaly beast means that the dwarves’ kingdom, along with its priceless contents, are free for the taking. It’s not long before hundreds of homeless humans are camped out on the doorstep, expecting monetary compensation for dragon damages. The situation becomes even more complicated when an army of elves also arrives, bringing with them a keenness for riches, and some motives of their own.
Of course the dwarves, and the filmmakers, aren’t in the mood for boring negotiations. As well, Thorin the dwarf king has developed a dangerous obsession with his newly recovered treasures, and not even a very helpful hobbit can reason with him. It’s apparent pretty quickly that the conflict will only end in bloodshed, and for Bilbo Baggins, the mounting tension means he will be faced with some tough decisions.
As the title of the movie suggests, action sequences and special effects hoard screen time in this film like a dragon hoards gold. As one foe after another join the fray, the fighting scenes stretch to tedious proportions. Grotesque creatures, like goblins, orcs and their various minions, are slaughtered en masse, and even the more human-like species of Middle Earth take some heavy losses. This style of violence will come as no surprise to fans of the series: It’s the usual fare of decapitations, maimings and impalings that dominated the first two movies in the trilogy.
With five battling armies hogging most of the run time, there’s not much room for meaningful character development. Yet despite the thin feel of the plot, the film does present some important themes for those willing to look hard enough. Characters who struggle to balance the needs of others with their own ambitions offer an interesting case study in the challenges of leadership. The script makes some strong statements about the hazards of wealth and power, a topic very in keeping its companion films in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. These complex problems lead to some moving moments of friendship and reconciliation. Fans will also appreciated the detailed settings and fantastic creatures, even if the story doesn’t quite meet the standard set by the previous productions of this franchise. Regardless of its shortcomings, the end of this unexpected journey is a fun foray into the world of author J.R.R. Tolkien’s imagination.Directed by Peter Jackson. Starring Richard Armitage, Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luke Evans, Christopher Lee. Running time: 145 minutes. Theatrical release December 17, 2014. Updated October 11, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies here.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Parents Guide
The title for the third installment of the Hobbit Trilogy has been renamed. Instead of There and Back Again it will now be called, The Battle of the Five Armies. (I must confess, the new moniker sounds more exciting to me too!)
Talk about the movie with your family… Greed plays a major role in this movie. How does it motivate people to act differently? Why do you think Thorin was reluctant to share the dwarves’ treasure? Why might we struggle with the feeling we will never have enough wealth?
Greed also works as a distraction from the real problem (in this case the onslaught of the Orc army). In what ways are we distracted from our greatest priorities?
When Gandalf warns of the oncoming attack, others choose to ignore him. What warnings do we receive in our society that we choose to ignore? Who usually gets the most attention? What aspects of Gandalf’s personality would make him less likely to be heard?