“The Battle of the Five Armies” is not the best Peter Jackson movie to date. After five other Peter Jackson movies in the series have been made, it feels like the last one should really take the cake. However, this movie falls short in many categories. Although the basic plot is decent, the acting is above average, and the special effects are fine, there is a lot that just feels off about the movie and there are a lot of areas where the movie could improve dramatically.
The cinematography is, for a lack of a better description, strange. It does not fit Peter Jackson’s usual grandiose style and feels like it could have been filmed by a 12-year-old. The scenes are slightly disjointed and the transitions are disorienting. The special effects are great, but that is true for almost any major motion picture these days. Simply put, it is just off from how a typical Peter Jackson film flows. The movie is decent, but it is not at a level of “Lord of the Rings” good. The entire thing is just disappointing. There are a lot of unnecessary extrapolations from the book which do not add to the movie as much as they could. The images are clear and crisp throughout, but the combinations and transitions between scenes are where the movie is lacking.
“The Hobbit” is one book. It did not have nearly as much plot as even one of “The Lord of the Rings” books, which only got one movie each, but it was made into three movies. The three movies are unnecessary and that really shows in “The Battle of the Five Armies.” There is a lack of plot in some places and it seems like Peter Jackson was struggling to come up with more to add to the movie–the unnecessary love story between Tauriel and Kili which began in the last Hobbit movie, for example. The two have never even had a legitimate conversation before Kili decided he was in love with Tauriel. Tauriel is an interesting character, but she is also an unnecessary character and was not in the book.
The plot is fine. The movie essentially follows the last part of the book, providing closure for the other two movies. Thorin has finally reclaimed The Lonely Mountain which brings a couple of other armies out of the woodworks, including Thranduil and his Elven army, another Dwarf army, and an army or two of orcs and various other creatures. They battle over the Lonely Mountain and the treasures that it holds, which takes up a significant portion of the movie. Despite the attempt at closure, the movie fails to tie up many of loose ends. Even though the fact that the movie had plenty of time, the movie did not cover everything that the book did.
The acting in the movie is great. Martin Freeman makes a great Bilbo Baggins, portraying just the right balance of humor and seriousness. Ian McKellen is Ian McKellen, so nothing can really go wrong there, as he makes a great Gandalf. Richard Armitage plays Thorin with ease. Thranduil (Lee Pace) and Bard (Luke Evans) are both fantastic characters who bring a majority of the interesting plot to the movie. Christopher Lee, Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom, and Cate Blanchett all play their parts well. In the midst of all these great actors and better than decent acting, the movie still falls short.
“The Battle of the Five Armies” provides closure for the last two Hobbit movies. Fans who are sticklers for the books will definitely not enjoy the movie if they are looking for it to follow the book verbatim, as it does not succeed at that point. Expanding “The Hobbit” into three movies was not Peter Jackson’s wisest move. After having five other “Lord of the Rings”/ “Hobbit” movies, it feels like this one should be really well done, because it is last and Jackson has had a lot of practice directing these sorts of movies. Sections of the movie are fine, but the overall product is not satisfying.