THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES quickly picks up where the DESOLATION OF SMAUG ended with the dragon bringing a trail of devastation to the people of Laketown. Bard the Bowman bravely takes to the town’s highest point to slay the dragon, with the help of his brave son. Meanwhile, the dwarves are re-united nearby in the Lonely Mountain, but greed has seized their leader. Can he overcome his obsession to unite the dwarf, elf and human armies against a huge army of Orcs on their way to conquer the mountain and Middle Earth? Will Gandalf escape imprisonment in time to help?
THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES is an epic inspirational fantasy adventure into Middle Earth that captivates and entertains. It’s superbly directed and acted, with a talented cast led by an emotionally powerful Martin Freeman of TV’s SHERLOCK as Bilbo. Peter Jackson has effectively brought to life a moral, redemptive masterpiece that exalts courage, sacrifice, forgiveness, and good overcoming evil. There is plenty of intense violence and some scary elements, however, so caution is advised for older children.
(BBB, CC, O, L, VV, N, M) Very strong moral worldview with strong Christian, redemptive content and values includes positive underlying theme of the need to unite together and drop differences between the divided armies (particularly between the Elves and Dwarves and humans) and unite together to fight against the evil army of orcs, with strong inspirational aspects of forgiveness and heroic sacrifice including the Bowman who takes on the dragon Smaug, helped by his son, movie also highlights the dangers of greed when Dwarf leader is taken over by “dragon-sickness” as he becomes obsessed with protecting the gold in the Lonely Mountain, plus there is reference to using spells to be free when Gandalf is trapped in a cell on the top of a mountain; the words “bastard” and “bugger” are used once or twice; lots of strong, intense and sometimes scary violence in large battle scenes (often with scary creatures), but no blood seen, decapitations of creatures in battle scenes, fights between the Dwarf leader and the Orc leader include a violent stabbing, scary scene when Galadriel (the Elf Queen) wards off creature with a scary sounding voice; no sex; upper male nudity; no drinking; no smoking but Gandalf shown cleaning his pipe; and, greed but rebuked, and hero is imprisoned but escapes.
THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES ends a 15-year journey for filmmaker Peter Jackson, who has so effectively brought to life the prequel trilogy to THE LORD OF THE RINGS, which he began filming way back in 1999. As with the previous two Hobbit movies, THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES is truly an epic inspirational adventure into Middle Earth that you never want to end.
The movie quickly picks up where the DESOLATION OF SMAUG left off with the dragon being unleashed from the Lonely Mountain terrifying the people of Laketown and bringing a trail of devastation. However, Bard the Bowman, played by Luke Evans, bravely takes to the highest point of the town to slay the dragon, thanks to the help of his brave son.
The band of dwarves are re-united nearby in the Lonely Mountain where the dragon had fled. Bilbo warns his friends that, while being surrounded by so much gold, their leader, Thorin Oakenshield, has been taken over by “dragon-sickness” in his obsession and greed to reclaim the Arkenstone. Overwhelmed with his obsession to protect the wealth of the Lonely Mountain, Thorin barricades himself and his fellow dwarves inside and refuses to allow the local Laketown people and the army of elves to enter to take what they need.
While this inner battle of right and wrong goes on inside Thorin, a huge army of orcs, mobilized by Sauron, the Dark Lord, are on their way to attack the Lonely Mountain. Not only must Thorin come to his senses and choose to stand for what is right, but the divided armies of dwarves, elves and humans must drop their differences to unite against the evil orcs if they’re to survive.
Throughout this inspirational epic conclusion to the HOBBIT trilogy is some amazing cinematography using green screen very effectively, along with New Zealand’s awesome terrain that so convincingly portrays what Middle Earth should look like. The action and drama will keep viewers on the edge of their seats that they probably won’t realize that the movie is nearly two and one-half hours long.
This is certainly helped by the quality of the entire cast including Martin Freeman who portrays Bilbo Baggins in such a moving way and Ian MacKellen, who so encapsulates Gandalf that you could never imagine anyone else playing him. Richard Armitage’s performance from obsessive greed to an inspirational King also is extremely convincing and passionate. Finally, in his HOBBIT debut, comedian and actor Billy Connolly brings some great humor to his part as Thorin’s cousin, much akin to a dwarf version of Braveheart, head-butting every orc in sight.
THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES highlights a number of moral values from overcoming the power of greed, the need to drop our differences for a common cause against evil and, as with all the Hobbit movies, the sacrificial aspect of friendship. There is plenty of intense, scary violence, but no blood is shown, though some of the one-on-one fight scenes include stabbings and decapitations of Orcs. There is also a reference to using spells when Gandalf is trying to escape from his mountain-top cell. Finally, a slight aspect of horror occurs when Galadriel, played by Cate Blanchett, wards off a creature with a scary voice. The violence warrants caution for older children, including sensitive younger teenagers.
Peter Jackson has effectively brought to life a masterpiece, something of which even J. R. R. Tolkien could be proud. Jackson effectively communicates the Christian values inherent in Tolkien’s original story to inspire viewers, including sacrificial friendship for the common good and working together despite our differences to overcome evil with good.
As with some of the cast such as Orlando Bloom and Ian McKellen who have been featured in all six of the LORD OF THE RINGS and HOBBIT movies, viewers will feel a sadness that this epic journey has ended, but also know that the legacy of these movies will inspire many generations to come.
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