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The Warsaw Voice » World of Movies » January 28, 2015
Film review
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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
January 28, 2015   
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Peter Jackson’s 15-year-long tour of Middle Earth, the universe created by J.R.R. Tolkien, is officially over. After six ambitious movies, the New Zealand director has completed his quest to film the entire The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit. The latter task was, in fact, tremendously complicated, as it involved stretching Tolkien’s rather short children’s book into three feature-length films. Jackson added a lot of material of his own and came up with several new characters, all the while relying heavily on cutting-edge special effects.

Complicated task or not, Jackson has clearly succeeded once again and in just two weeks after opening, the third Hobbit movie, which cost $250 million to make, raked in $200 million at the U.S. box office alone. While viewers flocked to theaters, Jackson’s latest offering nevertheless got its fair share of flak from dissatisfied movie goers. You can hardly blame them, because the final installment of the fantasy saga suffers badly in the originality department. Whoever has seen the previous movies—and most people have seen them—will have absolutely no trouble guessing what is going to happen in the new one and when. Examples include the opening sequence in which humans are attacked by Smaug the dragon and scenes featuring Legolas (Orlando Bloom—Kingdom of Heaven, Pirates of the Caribbean series) as he shows off his gift for archery and his dagger wielding skills, not to mention his ability to defy gravity. The elf had at least one such spectacular acrobatic scene in each of the previous movies, but now this has been pushed to a point where it looks like parody.

Then there’s the equally predictable love story involving elven female warrior Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly—Lost, The Hurt Locker) and handsome dwarf Kili (Aidan Turner—The Tudors TV series). Tauriel was not even there in the original book. Finally, the subplot where dwarf leader Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) obsesses about a legendary gem called the Arkenstone is totally see-through as well, because everybody knows that Thorin’s courage and loyalty to his comrades-in-arms will prevail in the end.

The best scenes in The Hobbit feature characters who have appeared in the Tolkien saga since the first Lord of the Rings movie. One of the finest sections is the one in which the Nine Ringwraiths, still without their winged beasts, clash with Galadriel (Cate Blanchett—Blue Jasmine, Elizabeth), Elrond (Hugh Weaving—Matrix series) and Saruman (Christopher Lee—Star Wars series) as they come to rescue Gandalf (Ian MacKellen—X-Men series), who is being held captive by the mysterious Necromancer. Attractive as they are, these scenes bear a striking resemblance to a video game.

Martin Freeman (Love Actually, Ali G) delivers another solid performance as Bilbo Baggins, much as he did in the previous two Hobbit movies. One character that is conspicuously missing is Gollum, but trying to fit him anywhere into this installment would have been too much of a liberty and could have resulted in an outcry from Tolkien fans.
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