Andrea's Review of "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies"
People have been saying that about “The Hobbit” movies from the beginning, but “The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Hours...err, Armies” really hammers the point home.
At first, it's that everyone from elves to dwarves to men decide that they have a stake in the enormous treasure that Smaug left behind, and that the would-be dwarf king Thorin seems to have permanent dollar signs in his eyes, refusing to share any of the treasure even when the claim to it is very well-founded. But when an army of Orcs decides that they want the land and treasure for themselves, that's when things really pick up.
Sure, they don't slow down, but it also doesn't seem to add anything either. The havoc lasts practically the whole 144-minute runtime, and it's a pretty damn good havoc. After all, if there's anything this franchise knows, it's how to do an epic battle scene. It's just a shame it leaves many of the characters behind, even before they kill some of them off no less. They even have Thorin sweating out his greed, aka “dragon sickness,” like some sort of hallucinogenic fever. Jesus.
What's missing is the sense of fun, the whimsy that was so evident in past melees. The fact that this is the ultimate battle means that things will get serious, but the levity from the previous installments is much missed.
Then there's the romantic subplot. Naturally, a female character had to be invented for this franchise, and being so outnumbered, it's just as inevitable that there would be some sort of romance involved. Both the movie and Evangeline Lily, who plays the Elf Tauriel, do a good job with her character by making her so active and having her rescue her love interest rather than the other way around. But the love triangle fizzles and goes nowhere, and winds up feeling more contrived for the sake of eating up time.
Such artificiality is catching, and the ensemble we've been traveling with since the first movie take a backseat to it. If you're looking for a good finale, “The Battle Of The Five Armies” does deliver. I just wish the character development wasn't lost in the Smaug of war...err, fog of war.