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Movie review: The Hobbit III – a lost battle
Posted by :Team Aman newsPosted date : January 5, 2015In MAGAZINEComments Off on Movie review: The Hobbit III – a lost battle
The latest addition to The Hobbit franchise is an epic disappointment.
The most irritating set of films in recent history concludes. Peter Jackson has finally managed to wrap up his second stint in Middle Earth with the third part of his Hobbit saga, The Battle of the Five Armies. These films are supposed to be epic fantasies. It’s a fantasy to think that these could be considered epic in any way.
The Battle of the Five Armies is not a film. At best, it’s the third act of a film which has long outstayed its welcome. Some people might say that this is for the fans — for those who ‘get’ what Jackson does. So blinded are they by all things hobbits, elves or dwarves, that they cannot see the most obvious cash grab since James Cameron’s Titanic was re-released in 3D a few years back.
Three films for a book that is a mere 300-odd pages long? The first was pure filth, with its distracting introduction to high frame rate filmmaking. The second was marginally better, largely due to the presence of Smaug, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch. This last one is just a horrible disappointment, with hideous lighting, tacky computer generated imagery and sub-standard acting. The Battle of the Five Armies wouldn’t have stood a chance against the more intelligent blockbusters this year, such as Guardians of the Galaxy or Edge of Tomorrow, if it had been released over the summer period.
The action resumes from where the last film stopped. Smaug has come out of the Lonely Mountain, livid at the titular hero Bilbo Baggins for having woken him. He destroys Laketown, but then Bard the Bowman slays him. The survivors of Laketown reach Erebor, where Thorin Oakenshield is battling a nasty “dragon sickness”, because he’s searching for the Arkenstone — the same Arkenstone that Bilbo Baggins had stolen in the earlier film. He uses this to try and forge peace between Thranduil and Thorin, but then the latter’s cousin Dáin arrives and they battle each other anyway. There’s also a lot of orcs, led by Azog the defiler and his son Borg. They all battle each other. There’s a lot of clinking and a lot of deaths.
If you haven’t understood anything at all about what you’ve just read, there’s no point in explaining it any further. Because the film doesn’t either. With this third part, Jackson naturally assumes that you have been a devotee and that you have remembered all key events and characters from the other two films. Therefore it just plunges you into the narrative without any need for context or set-up.
The battle from the title has substantial screen time. While one or two set pieces do indeed have merit from a technical standpoint, and Martin Freeman as Bilbo is an actor worth watching, the entire thing falls flat otherwise. Nearly everyone else looks battle-weary, not from the battle itself but from the contractual obligation. This is an exercise in cruelty by Jackson and one hopes that he will finally be laying off J R R Tolkien now.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, January 4th, 2015.