The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies


Viewed – 16 December 2014  Cinema

Although with mixed feelings over this trilogy compared to the seminal masterworks of The Lord of the Rings, I was still optimistic walking into this final entry in director Peter Jackson’s fleshed out (and fleshed out) adaptation of J R R Tolkien’s classic novel.  We join Bilbo and his merry band of Dwarves, headed by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) housed up in the misty mountain following resident dragon Smaug having broke free and now laying siege to the nearby city of Lake Town.  With riches beyond compare and the search for the Arkenstone underway, Thorin has become corrupted by the greed and lust to take his place as King, and only Bilbo has the power to help having stolen the stone in case it made the dwarf leader even worse.  Meanwhile with the mountain now dragon-free, armies begin to approach for their share of the gold, and war looms.

the-hobbit-the-battle-of-the-five-armies

Immediately this is a more dramatic and action-packed entry in the middle earth cannon and things are kicking off pretty much from the start, with the lead up to conflict pretty tense.  However the corruption of Thorin and the Dwarves hanging around the mountain is a tad drawn out and I was eager for something to happen – and oh, did it!  A massive,  immense battle with legions upon legions of elves, orks, humans and dwarves all fighting … yet it was also pretty difficult to care all that much when it seemed like everyone was just out for a bigger piece of the pie – battle for middle earth (or helm’s deep for that matter) this was not.  So then I was beginning to really find the dwarves annoying and wishing they’d never gone on their fabled journey, pissed off a dragon, causing countless deaths as a result.  The whole quest as I’ve said before just not really seeming as necessary as what we see in LOTR.  Are we really meant to care?  No, and not even the director does it seems when the much sort after Arkenstone gets forgotten about entirely in the final act (but will no doubt re-surface in the extended edition…).

That being said this was still a real treat for CGI fans and does boast excellent fight sequences (the showdown between Thorin and the Ork baddie especially) and good turns from Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel and Sir Ian McKellen as the always excellent Gandalf.  Martin Freeman’s Bilbo remains solid for the lead, yet still lacks the personality or depth of the likes of Elija Wood’s Frodo Baggins or Viggo Mortenson’s Aragorn.  As a conclusion, this had plenty of energy and spectacle but lacked some of the wonder, diversity of locations and the sheer fantasy appeal of the other movies in the series … and for me remains the weakest of the trilogy.

Verdict  3 /5

What Guillermo did next…


Guillermo Del Toro is one of my favourite directors.  Responsible for such instant classics as Pans Labyrinth and Hellboy 2 … he was personally chosen by director Peter Jackson to helm the Hobbit movies.  Sadly production delays forced the Mexican born visionary to jump ship … and instead he has been working on this… lets call it Transformers meets Avatar meets The Abyss.

The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King


Viewed – 17 July 2011  Blu-ray

Extended edition

Continuing the epic trilogy of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings brings together all the plot strands that we have been following in the last two movies as Middle Earth becomes a battle ground.  Dark Lord Sauron’s army has developed into a mighty legion who rage war on the city of Minas Tirith, where white wizard Gandalf takes refuge with Pippin, whilst Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli seek out The Army Of The Dead.  Meanwhile Froddo Baggins and Samwise Gamjee, along with an increasingly conflicted Gollum close in on Mordor.

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The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers


Viewed – 03 July 2011  Blu-ray

Extended edition

This second instalment in J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic trilogy continues the story of Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), charged with the safe keeping of The One Ring, aided by his companion Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) as they travel to Mordor.  They are joined on their journey by the creature Gollum, a former keeper of the ring who has been sent mad and physically altered by the ring’s hold over him, and yearns for nothing more than to take back what once was his.  At the same time Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas travel to Rohan in search of Merry & Pippin who have been captured by a band of Orcs.

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The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring


Viewed – 29 June 2011  Blu-ray

Extended edition

J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendary trilogy was one of those acclaimed book(s) that people had tried to adapt for years.  Ralph Bakshi’s classic animation although well received could only touch the surface of what the books were about, and it wasn’t until New Zealand born  director Peter Jackson delivered his trio of movies that finally fans and newcomers alike could truly be swept up in the world of Middle Earth.  Which is where we join young Hobbit, Frodo Baggins who comes into possession of ‘the one ring’.  With the evil forces of Sauron building themselves an army to rage war until they can possess the power of the ring for themselves, a fellowship is formed to help Frodo travel out of the Shire and on to Mordor, where he must dispose of the ring in the fires of Mount Doom, where it was originally created.

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