The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

The Hobbit - The Battle of the Five Armies.jpgThe Battle of CGI

Director: Peter Jackson
Running Time: 144 Minutes
Starring: Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellen, Luke Evans, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Aiden Turner

In 2003, Peter Jackson brought his first Middle Earth trilogy to an end, resulting in $1.1 billion at the box office, 11 Academy Awards and Universal Acclaim. 11 years later, and Peter Jackson is once more closing off a Middle Earth Trilogy, with the result being a resounding "Meh".

Thorin is fascinating to watch in his descent to madness, anchored by a spectacular performance from Richard Armitage. Martin Freeman remains as the stand-out of this franchise, while Luke Evans, Lee Pace and Aiden Turner are gifted significant moments to shine on their own terms.

There are still some positives though, as it's fascinating to watch Thorin's descent into madness, anchored by Richard Armitage's spectacular performance. Martin Freeman remains the MVP of the franchise, while Luke Evans, Lee Pace and Aiden Turner all get significant moments to shine. There's also many moments of fun to be had in the titular battle, even if it manages to drag on quite a bit.

It remains astonishing how, despite the mammoth running time, the majority of the Dwarf group remains unmemorable and without significant development. With the original Fellowship, each member had their own moment that made you see them as more than just another face, and got you care about them. It's because of those moments that Aragorn and Legolas are fondly remembered characters, and this is an element that's been sorely lacking. If each of the 12 Dwarves had a moment for audiences to actually get to know them, or even a distinctive personality, then perhaps at least their names would actually be recalled by those other than die-hard Tolkien fans.

The overuse of effects remains a constant problem that it was in the previous instalments, so there seems little point to make the same complaints once more. However, the blink-and-miss appearance of Beorn here is proof that his scenes in Desolation of Smaug were a waste of time, while Ian McKellen's saved from his dull scenes by Galadriel-Ex-Machina.

While many complain of the endless endings that closed out Return of The King, they at least gave proper time to say farewell to the characters the audience had grown to care about. It seems fitting that a rushed farewell is given to these underdeveloped characters.

The biggest disappointment of this saga is undoubtedly Tauriel, an original creation included into this male-dominated story, with the potential to become a truly memorable character. What we got instead was somebody defined by an unnecessary love triangle and being a good fighter, rather than an well-rounded character to care about. It's a thankless role, and Evangeline Lily deserved much better.

After a combined running time of 474 minutes, it's never been more clear how unnecessarily bloated Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Hobbit truly is. It's clear the intention was to bring Tolkein's tale to the big screen in the successful manner the original trilogy was, but the result was less than successful, and no need to be dragged out across three films. It's unfortunate to say, but here's hoping he doesn't make another return.