‘THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
The Last Goodbye – The Adventure Ends
This is where it all comes to an end in ‘The Hobbit’ film trilogy!
‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ is the third and final instalment of this exciting film trilogy set in Middle-Earth. After seeing ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ and ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ at the cinemas, I was looking forward to seeing how this film trilogy would conclude.
I saw this film twice at the cinema like I did with the first two ‘Hobbit’ movies. The first time was with my best mate from school Stephen before Christmas 2014. The second was with my parents on New Year’s Eve in 2014. It was a thrill to see this film at the cinema. I enjoyed ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy very much!
This is the story so far! Bilbo Baggins joined the Company of Thorin and Gandalf to reclaim the Dwarf kingdom of Erebor from Smaug the Dragon. Facing many dangers, they soon arrived at Erebor to confront the dragon. The mission turned sour when Smaug flew out of Erebor to attack Lake-Town…
The movie’s title refers to the battle fought at the gates of Erebor, the Dwarf kingdom and near the Lonely Mountain. The five armies featured in the movie consist of the dwarves; the elves and the men of Lake-Town fighting against the two orc armies attacking from the Misty Mountains and Gundabad.
‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ was released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2015. I first purchased the 5-disc extended edition of the film on DVD. This had new extra footage and 9 hours of special features. My family and I have this film in ‘The Hobbit’/’The Lord of the Rings’ Blu-ray box set.
The film begins with the follow-up to the cliff-hanger from the end of ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’. I couldn’t believe that I had to wait a year for the next film to come out at the cinema. I was so looking forward to finding out what would happen next in ‘The Hobbit’ film trilogy for our heroes.
There’s sadly no prologue scene. I was expecting a prologue scene as it was the case for the first two films. The third film goes straight into the action with Smaug, performed by Benedict Cumberbatch, attacking Lake-Town. It was very terrifying to watch Smaug attack Lake-Town at the start of the film.
Smaug attacks with fire and shows no mercy. Lake-Town’s people flee for their lives. But hope is not lost. Luke Evans as Bard the Bargeman comes in to save the day with his son John Bell as Bain. They both use the Black Arrow to slay Smaug the Dragon. It works and Smaug is killed early on in the film.
Wow! That was a quick death for Smaug, wasn’t it? 😀 Stephen Fry as the Master of Lake-Town gets killed early on the film too. Ryan Gage as Alfrid survives though. I’ve met Ryan Gage in real-life at the ‘Film & Comic Con Glasgow’ in 2019. I had a nice chat with Ryan and a signed photo of him as Alfrid.
The survivors of Lake-Town, led by Bard, make their way to the Lonely Mountain. They seek and find refuge in the ruins of Dale where the Desolation of Smaug is. It’s sad to see Dale in ruins. Maybe one day, the people of Lake-Town will rebuild it and have a new home in Dale when it’s back in full glory.
Meanwhile, the four dwarves including Aidan Turner as Kili, Dean O’Gorman as Fili, John Callen as Óin and James Nesbitt as Bofur make their way to Erebor to rejoin their friends. Kili asks Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel to join them, but she joins Orlando Bloom as Legolas instead. Will those two meet again?
The four dwarves soon arrive at Erebor where the ancient Dwarf kingdom is. Now it belongs to Richard Armitage as Thorin and the dwarves. The kingdom of Erebor looks so majestic and impressive, even in its ruined state. It’s amazing the dwarves have Erebor back early on in the film.
But something has gone badly wrong. It seems Thorin has quickly been overcome by the corrupting power of gold. Thorin has become sick with wealth and he’s in love with the treasure of Erebor. He’s blind to reason and even ignores his friends’ concerns. Martin Freeman as Bilbo observes this change.
Because of Smaug’s dragon influence, the gold within Erebor is beyond measure, beyond sorrow and beyond grief. It changes Thorin’s personality as he becomes selfish, cruel and dishonourable. This is even among his kin. It’s interesting how gold and wealth can corrupt people as depicted in these films.
The change in Thorin’s behaviour makes his friends worried about him. As well as Bilbo, there’s also Ken Stott as Balin who knows the change in Thorin’s behaviour will mean the ruin of him. Rather cruelly, Thorin forces his friends to search for the Arkenstone, the king’s jewel, amongst the treasure.
However, it’s Bilbo who has the Arkenstone in his possession. He kept it hidden from Thorin, hesitant about giving it back to him. This is especially when he asks Balin on whether giving the jewel back to him will makes things better. But it seems that it could make his sickness for power and gold grow worse.
Meanwhile, Ian McKellen as Gandalf is a prisoner within Dol Guldur. He soon gets rescued by Cate Blanchett as Galadriel. This is before the evil nine kings of men called the Nazgûl attack Galadriel carrying Gandalf with their rings of power. The evil Nazgûl are the servants of the Dark Lord Sauron!
And yes! The mysterious Necromancer in ‘The Hobbit’ films has been revealed. It’s Sauron, the Dark Lord of Mordor. Sauron was the one who forged the One Ring of Power to control all the other rings of power within Middle-Earth. These rings of power belonged to the elves; the dwarves and the men.
Thankfully, Galadriel and Gandalf get rescued by Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Christopher Lee as Saruman the White and Sylvester McCoy as Radagast the Brown. After being rescued, Gandalf heads off for Erebor to warn everyone about these orc armies coming to attack. It seems things are serious.
Back at Erebor, Thorin and his company block up the gates to their Dwarf kingdom to prevent anyone from stealing it. Bard comes to ask Thorin to honour his word and to help the people of Lake-Town by sharing the treasure they have. Thorin refuses. It’s unlike Thorin to be dishonourable.
Once this occurs, Bard and Lake-Town’s men form an alliance with the Mirkwood elves led by Lee Pace as King Thranduil. They demand Thorin to make peace with them or else war will be declared. They even offer an exchange of the Arkenstone to Thorin. Bilbo gave it to them unawares.
But it seems that Thorin has already prepared for the eventuality of war between himself and his kin with outsiders. Thorin has called for the aid of the dwarf armies led by his cousin, Billy Connolly as Dain Ironfoot. Dain leads the dwarves as they fight the Mirkwood elves outside the gates of Erebor.
There are brand-new battle scenes between the dwarves and the elves featured in the extended version of the third film. The battle between the dwarves and the elves is short-lived as the orc armies led by Azog the Defiler come and attack. They fight the dwarves, the elves and Lake-Town’s men.
Help is needed for the forces of good to fight against the forces of evil. But Thorin refuses to help in the fight, even for his own kin. Thorin stays inside Erebor and falls out with Graham McTavish as Dwalin. That scene between Thorin and Dwalin was tense, especially when Dwalin loses faith in Thorin.
Thorin doesn’t listen at first. But eventually, he slowly realises the sickness that has overcome him regarding his obsession with gold. Thankfully, Thorin comes out of his obsession and he and his company of dwarves go out to join the fight, battling against the orcs. It’s a pretty defining moment.
The battle scenes featured in the third ‘Hobbit’ film have our heroes doing some heroic things. This is especially true of Thorin and the dwarves when they charge out of Erebor and fight the orcs. This is also true when Bard leads the men of Lake-Town to fight against the orcs within the ruins of Dale.
The battle scenes featured in Dale are intense as well as the battle scenes on the Lonely Mountain. Most of the men of Lake-Town are older and wounded following Smaug’s night attack, but they bravely follow Bard and fight for freedom. Even some of the women-folk are willing to fight. Alfrid isn’t very willing though.
Bilbo Baggins also gets to be a hero and takes courage during the battle. As well as using his sword Sting, Bilbo uses the gold ring he found to help him pass the orcs and warn Thorin of some danger regarding the second army of orcs. It’s true Bilbo isn’t a fighter in these films, but he plays his part.
Tauriel and Legolas eventually join in the fight happening in the Erebor and Dale areas. Beforehand, they discovered the orc army led by Bolg that came in to attack secretly from Gundabad. They also saw the vicious bats. They turn up to warn Gandalf before Bilbo heads off to warn Thorin and his friends.
Thranduil also gets to demonstrate his fearsome fighting skills during the battles in the film. But he’s clearly selfish and refuses to help the dwarves in their endeavours. It gets pretty tense when Tauriel refuses to let Thranduil leave. It’s intriguing Thranduil isn’t a clearly good elf in Middle-Earth.
There are also some very intense fight scenes in the movie. This is especially when Tauriel tries to rescue Kili and his brother Fili once the dwarves fall into a trap, after trying to stop the orcs at Ravenhill. Kili ends up saving Tauriel’s life when she’s being attacked by Bolg. This doesn’t end well.
Sadly, both Kili and Fili get killed in the film. Kili gets killed by Bolg, despite Tauriel trying to save him. This upsets Tauriel terribly since she clearly loved Kili in the time she knew him. Thranduil observes this, seeing that Tauriel’s love for him was real and not fake as he tried to tell her a few times before.
Legolas gets to have his moments of action in the film, especially when he’s fighting Bolg the orc commander at Ravenhill. The fight between Legolas and Bolg is very long-winded, but pretty intense to see. It’s also very intriguing how Legolas treats Tauriel as a friend, not a potential lover as expected.
Thorin chose to go to Ravenhill to stop the orcs led by Azog the Defiler. Thorin is the King under the Mountain by this point and he’s willing to sacrifice his own life to save his people and his kingdom. He has lost his obsession for gold and treasure and he gets to redeem himself for the folly he’s made.
Pretty soon, the eagles come and help out in the battle on the Lonely Mountain. Radagast the Brown rides on one of the eagles as well as Mikael Persbrandt as Beorn. Pretty soon, Beorn fights the orcs in battle as he transforms into the ferocious bear he can be at times. Good to see Beorn fighting as a bear!
As well as the orcs fighting in the battle scenes during the film, there are also the trolls; the wargs; the bats that I mentioned before; the earthworms; and some deadly war machines. The orcs led by Azog the Defiler as well as his son Bolg are pretty merciless and brutal. Azog still wants to kill Thorin in a fight.
The film does end on a sad note. As well as Fili and Kill getting killed, Thorin fights Azog to the bitter end on Ravenhill. Both Thorin and Azog kill each other in combat and there’s an emotional farewell between Thorin and Bilbo Baggins. Martin Freeman’s acting as Bilbo when he’s upset is sensational.
Thankfully, the battle is won as the dwarves achieve their quest. Erebor belongs to them and the orcs are defeated. This is where Bilbo says goodbye to the rest of the Company of Thorin and he returns home. I think Bilbo got to know Balin more than some of the other dwarves in the company.
Legolas bids farewell to his father Thranduil, telling him that he can no longer return to Mirkwood. Thranduil advises Legolas to go and befriend a Dunedain ranger of the north named ‘Strider’. Who is that then? Oh I’m sure he’s not very important. He won’t end up being the king of Gondor, right? 😀
Leaving Erebor and Dale behind them and with dreams of hope upon them, Bilbo bids farewell to Gandalf before he returns to the Shire by himself. Gandalf seems to know about the gold ring that Bilbo found. This surprises Bilbo. It surprised me. How did Gandalf know he found the gold ring?
Bilbo returns safely back home to Bag-End in Hobbiton in the Shire by the film’s end. And he has his new gold ring. I like how this film ended, cutting to years later and with Bilbo, now played by Ian Holm. The last scene provides a nice lead into ‘The Lord of the Rings’ film trilogy. This was very good!
The special features for ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ on ‘The Hobbit’/’The Lord of the Rings’ 30-disc Blu-ray set are as follows. On Disc 9, there’s the extended edition of ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’. There’s also the filmmakers’ audio commentary with director/writer/producer Peter Jackson and writer/co-producer Phillippa Boyens. There’s also the ‘New Zealand: Home of Middle-Earth – Part 3’ behind-the-scenes featurette as well as three trailers for the film.
On Disc 10, there are special features from the original theatrical Blu-ray release. This includes ‘Recruiting the Five Armies’ featurette and the ‘Completing Middle-Earth’ section which has ‘A Six-Part Saga’ and ‘A Seventeen Year Journey’. There’s also ‘The Last Goodbye’ section which includes a behind-the-scenes featurette and a music video of the song sung by Billy Boyd. There are more trailers including one for the ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Extended Edition.
On Disc 11, there are ‘The Appendices Part 11: The Gathering Storm: The Chronicles of the Hobbit – Part 3’. These cover the making of ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ from book to screen, including plenty of documentaries. There’s the opening, ‘In the Dungeons of the Necromancer – Dol Guldur’, ‘Fire and Water – Attack on Lake-Town’, ‘Under the Shadow of the Mountain – Rock & Pillar Range’, ‘In the Wake of the Dragon – Lake Pukaki’, ‘The Gathering of the Clouds – Erebor’, ‘Many Partings – End of Principal Photography’, ‘The Clouds Burst – Dale’, ‘A Last Desperate Stand – Ravenhill’, ‘Out From the Gate – Erebor Pick-Ups’, ‘The Last Stage – 23 July 2013’ and the credits.
On Disc 12, there are ‘The Appendices Part 12: Here at Journey’s End’. They focus on the characters and places in ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’. There’s ‘Beneath the Thunder: Forging a Battle of Five Armies’ which contains three documentaries including ‘A Master Plan, Long in the Making’; ‘On the Front Lines of a Virtual Battlefield’ and ‘Turning the Tide’. There’s ‘The People and Denizens of Middle-Earth’ which contains three documentaries including ‘Tauriel: Daughter of the Forest’; ‘Thranduil: The King of Wood and Stone’ and ‘Dain Ironfoot: Lord of the Iron Hills’. There’s the ‘Realms of the Third Age: From the City of Dale to the Halls of Erebor’ which contains three documentaries including ‘Dale: The City of Men’; ‘Dol Guldur: The Hill of Sorcery’ and ‘Erebor: The Lonely Mountain’. There’s also the ‘Farewell Friends’ documentary which closes off ‘The Appendices’ of ‘The Hobbit’ film trilogy and bonus features including the ‘Butt-Numb-A-Thon 2011 Greeting’; the ‘Rivers of Gold’ music video and ‘The Real Adam Brown’. There’s also a five-minute tribute called ‘Andrew Lesnie Remembered’, which looks at Andrew Lesnie, the cinematographer of ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ film trilogies, who sadly passed away. The disc ends with the credits.
‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ has been a thrilling, enjoyable conclusion to ‘The Hobbit’ film trilogy. ‘The Hobbit’ film trilogy isn’t as good as ‘The Lord of the Rings’ film trilogy, but I greatly enjoyed the return to Middle-Earth by seeing these movies and Martin Freeman is fantastic as Bilbo.
Of course, this is only the end of the beginning. Bilbo Baggins now has a powerful gold ring in his possession. What could this mean for the future of Middle-Earth? Could this be for good or for bad? Will Bilbo Baggins’ ring cause trouble for the whole of Middle-Earth? Will anyone stop its influence?
‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ rating – 8/10
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