The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Movie Review)

"It never ceases to amaze me. The courage of hobbits." ~ Balin 

I know in my Note of Gratitude to Peter Jackson I said I would not be writing a review of the latest Hobbit film.  But after watching the marathon in the theater yesterday, there are some things I want to say about the film and the trilogy in general.  If you haven't seen The Battle of the Five Armies yet, you may wish to skip the section and go right to my comments on "The Trilogy."  I do not want to taint your opinion before you see it for yourself.

The Battle of the Five Armies

I'm just going to come right out and say it.  The Battle of the Five Armies was a disappointment to me.

Before you slam me, hear me out.

This film was what I was afraid it was going to be - all about the special effects and battle scenes and less about the heart.  In fact, there are more emotional scenes in the first two Hobbit films than in this one - which is insanely ironic considering what happens (no spoilers, I promise!) In particular, the goodbyes were anti-climactic.  And, keep in mind, this is coming from someone who cries at the end of Return of the King every time she watches it!

Nonetheless, with that said, the film was still incredibly well made.  The fight scenes are indeed epic.  The set designs, the make-up and costumes, the special effects - ALL are amazing and deserving of being seen on the big screen (and winning some Oscars, hint hint!) Howard Shore's score continues to mesmerize me and give me chills.

Richard Armitage (Thorin) and Martin Freeman (Bilbo) were outstanding!  Oh, and who doesn't love Syvelster McCoy as Radagast. And, I must say, that Ken Stott's performance as Balin continued to warm my heart.   However, many of the other cast members just seemed - well, tired.  

Overall, go and enjoy the film!  It actually provided a fabulous segue to the Lord of the Rings which I plan on binge watching soon.  More importantly, it is such a gorgeous film to watch. From the cinematography to the choreography, this is top notch movie making. 

Parents: The Hobbit movies are rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense, fantasy action-violence, and frightening images.

"And he never forgave, and he never forgot." ~ Balin 

The Trilogy

The Hobbit trilogy is an instant classic and should be enjoyed at least once by everyone.  It is movie-making at its finest.  Director, Peter Jackson, is a master filmmaker that will forever be one of the greats. He made Middle-earth come alive for the world.  I tend to catch something new every time I watch the films. 

Is there a better location on the planet than New Zealand?  Absolutely not.  The landscape has been such a key aspect of making these movies so visually beautiful to watch.

The action sequences are so gracefully choreographed that it is almost as if you are watching the New York City Ballet in Lincoln Center.  Three such scenes that come to mind are the escape from the goblins (An Unexpected Journey,) the barrel escape and subsequent fight against Orcs (Desolation of Smaug,) and the formations of the elven army in the final movie.

Oh, and just a quick word about the cast.  (Quick because one can write an entire dissertation on how incredible the entire cast was.)  These are actors that were born to play these parts.

I know some fans were downright annoyed with some changes made by Jackson.  The ones I'm going to discuss are the addition of Tauriel and the return of Legolas.  First, as a parent and former educator, I love that Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) was added to these films.  If for no other reason than to give girls a strong female character to look up to.  And, bringing back Orlando Bloom to play Legolas really didn't seem like a big stretch for me - and I am certainly not going to complain about having to watch him again!

However, let's talk about the elephant in the room, shall we?  Should The Hobbit have been made into a trilogy?

My fear when An Unexpected Journey was released two years ago was how are they going to fill three movies.  Two films, definitely.  And, one film just would not have been enough. But three?

I actually went back to re-read The Hobbit after seeing the first film because I had to see how the next two movies were going to play out.  I cut the book in my mind the way Jackson does, but knew that wasn't leaving much for the third book - except, you guessed it - an extended version of the battle!

"Home is now behind you, the world is ahead." ~ Gandalf

An Unexpected Journey was the most true to the novel and remains my favorite. While some criticized Jackson for taking too much artistic license, I'll let you decide that for yourself. This trilogy is and always will be top of my list of brilliant film making.  I've attached this scene below.  It is one of my all time favorite scenes and brings tears to my eyes each time.  It captures the essence of J.R.R. Tolkien's work. 

Check out more of my Family Movie Reviews.


  1. Now I have to see it....

  2. I hope to see the 3rd this weekend, but I love the first two so far. They are fun and wonderful. Sure they stretch the book, but movies usually do and Jackson makes them so much fun. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. Couldn't agree more. I really enjoyed the first film of the trilogy. I can watch the battle through the goblin tunnels over and over. But it went downhill sharpish in the second film and I didn't enjoy "Battle of Five Armies" very much. I saw the first film several times in the theater, the second one twice, the third one once and that was enough. I didn't buy the DVD. I felt Jackson really missed a trick by spending so much time on the battle sequences and glossing over the relationship between Thorin and Bilbo. I agree the third film felt exhausted, on many levels. The actors seemed exhausted. The CGI monsters looked exhausted. The story was exhausted. It made the film a slog to watch. Sad, really. :(
    But I will always count "The Hobbit" as one of my favorite movies. Slogging through the trilogy was worth it for that first, magical film.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, reading, and commenting. The Unexpected Journey is a gem, and I never tire of it.

  4. I'm a little behind and haven't seen any of "The Hobbit" movies which is a little strange, because I expect I would like them even better than the LOTR Trilogy movies. I understand how you feel about the big battle scene lacking in heart, so I'll keep that in mind. I have a buddy who loves all things Tolkien and Lewis, so perhaps we will have to have a movie marathon together.

    1. Ah, definitely need to do a movie marathon!!! It is very different than LOTR, lighter for sure.


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