Coming to theatres for a final battle from director Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema is the final installment for Tolkien fans everywhere with THE HOBBIT: The Battle of the Five Armies.
Whenst last we saw Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Smaug was in the air flying toward Laketown below the Dwarfs mountain. As the flying beast destroys everything in its path, Thorin (Richard Armitage) is already feeling the effects of being surrounded by so much gold.
Now Bard (Luke Evans) must save his people but going to the mountain to hold Thorin to his promise to take care of the people who helped them. Thranduil (Lee Pace) is still determined to retrieve a special stone and puts the relationship with Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) to the test.
But in the mountain Gandalf (Ian McKellen), along with Elrond (Hugo Weaving), Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) and Saruman (Christopher Lee) decide how to handle the Necromancer that is hiding something even more evil.
FINAL WORD: What can I say, there is some sadness knowing that there is no more. I mean literally no more! What am I going to look forward too in epic-ness now?
The first amazing set of books I would own, my imagination created Tolkien’s worlds in detail and because of that the books still have dog eared page corners, pencil underlines of phrases I love and loose binding from being opened and closed so many times.
So, in 2001 I could not believe what Peter Jackson had done with my beloved books by J.R.R. Tolkien starting with LORD OF THE RINGS: The Fellowship of the Ring! What beauty, brilliance, and perfect casting, cinematography, music – everything was amazing. I looked forward to the next installment in 2002 with LORD OF THE RINGS: The Two Towers and was wide eyed as the images I had created in my mind as a kid came to life on the big screen once again.
When it was over with the 2003 release of LORD OF THE RINGS: Return of the King and again that crazy sadness hit thinking that it wasn’t enough! How could I say goodbye to characters that had brought me and millions of fans so much giddiness!
Nine years later, that crazy and giddy feeling came back when Jackson and the gang brought us back into theatres. Beginning with THE HOBBIT: An Unexpected Journey introduced us to a younger Bilbo Baggins and his adventures. Names that were only mentioned in the LOTR series were now taking their turn on the silver screen with the return of Gandalf, Galadrial, Elrond, Saruman and the introduction of Thorin Oakenshield and the story of the Dwarfs.
In 2013 it would be the Dwarfs, Bilbo and the people of Laketown led by Bard that faced Smaug in THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Samug but also the inkling of an evil that those with the rings of power fear.
Finally in 2014, THE HOBBIT: The Battle of the Five Armies is here and as thrilled as I am, there is also a return of the sadness that there will truly be no more. I am fighting to say goodbye to all the characters I have come to look forward to seeing. I don’t want to leave Middle Earth and return to films that don’t hold the depth of imagery and imagination that Jackson’s films have brought to me and every other fan who is probably feeling the same way.
Freeman as Bilbo brought the demeanor, compassion and emotion to this character. He has gone on to do amazing television with Sherlock Holmes and the FX series Fargo, and in both he portrays amazing characters that I truly adore, but as Bilbo he brought a character to life in every way possible. Freeman gave an endearing performance that will always be part of the iconic run of Jackson’s films.
McKellen as Gandalf is absolutely the man of this double trilogy of films. Yes, he is Magneto and yes he has done other amazing films but, as in the case of Freeman, he is Gandalf now and forever, and that’s not a bad thing at all.
Armitage as Thorin has a fan base that I experienced this year at Comic Con! Fighting to regain the mountain of his people, he must also fight the thing that brought the fall of its leaders – the love of gold! It was a pleasure to watch Armitage bring Thorin’s journey full circle.
Evans as Bard is a good man with a heavy task. Helping dwarfs wasn’t without its problems and he never once gave up on doing what’s right. Pace as Thranduil is just as focused to get back a precious stone as Thorin is about not parting with it.
Weaving as Elrond continues to give an amazing performance and not afraid to jump into a fight. Blanchet as Galadrial is still beautiful and graceful but then again I’d expect nothing less from this talented actress. Lee as Saruman is always a thrill to see.
Lilly as Tauriel is the feminine force with a bow that has fantastic aim. I really did appreciate the storyline between the elf and the dwarf – very sweet. Bloom returns as Legolas for one last time and doesn’t disappoint with his bow either.
Other cast include: Billy Connolly as Dain, Stephen Fry as Master of Laketown, Sylvester McCoy as Radagast, Benedict Cumberbath as Samug/Necromancer, and Ian Holm as Old Bilbo.
Also James Nesbitt as Bofur, William Kircher as Bifur, Graham McTavish as Dwalin, Ken Stott as Balin, Stephen Hunter as Bombur, Dean O’Gorman as Fili, Aidan Turner as Kili, John Callen as Oin, Peter Hambleton as Gloin, Mark Hadlow as Dori and Adam Brown as Ori.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE HOBBIT: The Battle of the Five Armies five tubs of popcorn out of five. I do this more out of respect for all six films then for them one at a time. The imagery is once again on the screen and I don’t even have much complaint about the story being told rather slowly in places. How can I complain when Jackson has the decency to bring my writer-hero back to the screen once again for me to enjoy.
Trust me when I say that my Tolkien books are being opened again and again and I have Jackson and everyone involved with all six films. Of course the books are in depth and descriptive and I also don’t expect to find perfection from book to screen. Everyone envisions a story differently but I have to thank Jackson for coming as close as anyone could – for me at least.
It seemed genuinely fitting that Billy Boyd, Peregrin Took from The Lord of the Rings, co-wrote and performs The Last Goodbye and if that doesn’t bring a tear or two to fans eyes then I’m at a loss. It was beautifully done.
In the end – it is the defining chapter of Middle Earth!