Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

(New Zealand, USA, 2015)

At the end of my review of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug I made two observations: That I would see the third and final movie, and that I was not looking forward to it. So I’ve fulfilled my promise now, and I enjoyed it about as much as I expected to, which is not very much.

The title should have clued me in, but somehow I didn’t expect that much pointless fighting scenes. (And I’m a little confused. What were the five armies? I counted the humans, the dwarves, the elves, and the orcs. There were actually two orc armies; was that it? Or do we count the late arrival of all those eagles and other critters as an army?) (Oh, well, I don’t really care.)

It’s a great technical achievement, no question, but these days, what isn’t? A hundred thousand CGI orcs fighting two hundred thousand CGI elves in bright armor, each one an individual … been there, seen that. And been bored to tears by it. What sort of viewer, I keep asking myself, is viscerally engaged by shot after shot after shot of hand-to-hand combat with swords? The big battle here goes on for just about one full hour. And my gee-whizzer, a part of my brain sorely taxed these days, burns out at about five minutes. Okay, we’ve seen that Legolas can kill ten orcs with one arrow, we see that huge dwarf (?) can swing his hammer and crush twenty orcs. How many more times do we need to see it? You know no one will be hurt in a battle like that. If anyone of our designated heroes dies (I say that because I didn’t really care about any of them), it will be in …

… you got it, man to man combat. That is almost as boring as the clash of faceless armies. To give you just a small idea of how routine, formula, and uninspired this movie was, was anyone in the least surprised when the Big Bad Orc under the ice closed his eyes, in death … only AH-HAH! to come back to life? Jackson really mailed that gotcha in from New Zealand.

Bottom line: What a waste of a few hundred million dollars.