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The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies Review

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A Not So Brief Critical Review of “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies”

I see fire, burning the mountain side; lots of it.”

Before the review, I would like to iterate the meaning of "Critical Review". I am not just judging the subject matter, but the content as a whole composition, or a piece of art. This means my decisions have been based off of scenery, choreography, content, continuity, composition, colors, ect. inside my final grade. Garbage pretty much no one cares about, so I will spare you that much, and keep only what you are most likely interested in knowing. Usually, this sort of judgement can not be made in one pass of the movie. I have watched the movie twice as of the time of writing. Still not enough for a "FULL" review. Second viewing was forced. And unfortunately a third will come, as I promised a friend to take him to see the movie on release date. Yay me.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, there are no films without sins, and no films that is likely to ever make a perfect score. When I don't view it critically, this movie will stand for a perfect score, but because I am doing so, I do see problems, but not a large amount. To avoid spoilers, and trust me... you don't want any for this film, I will do my best to not elaborate on some of these issues.

The film starts rather abruptly, and many will likely not remember the first five minutes after being heavily bombarded by action scene after action scene. Much akin to the previous two hobbit movies. Except that this film takes it well to the extremes. It is no where near as bad as the Transformer films where the entire movie is explosions after explosions with peppering of slow motion, HDR, and over the top bloom blasted into your eye. But it is pretty unusual for Peter Jackson.

All and all, this can actually be over looked quite easily, as it does remind me of Dungeon and Dragon experiences where characters are facing absolutely horrendous odds. And in no way is this movie an offspring of something that Homer would dish out. More so that the dungeon master wants his player's characters to die, and quite viciously so.

At a run time of 2hr 20mins (from the producer logos to the end of the credits), this movie plays pretty quickly, and is paced well enough to keep the interest of a hyper squirrel, a rowdy child, and a senile senior in a theater full of distracting toys and imagery. Needless to say, the average audience will be well entertained, and likely be hushing their children for whining about trivial bodily functions. A good portion of the movie is action intensive, but the director of the film is skilled at placing slow scenes, featuring dialogue, and scenic imagery to reinvigorate his audience. Slow motion is present, but it's not used like some way to make the movie better. It's scarcely used, and is used correctly to apply drama, or impact. Rather than let the audience watch pretty sparks, shrapnel, and blood skitter in the air for no other reason than to look cool.

Die hard fans of the book will likely be displeased when they learn that the story ends vaguely the same as the original hobbit. And term “vaguely”'s description is attempting to locate a drop of vinegar in the ocean. Such expectations are painfully high however, as there is a point where freedom must be made. If the new ending is favorable or not, is for you to decide.

One thing to give Peter Jackson credit for however, is that the entire trilogy is actually very lore friendly. For those who have read the lore of Middle Earth, and not just the Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit books, you will be happy to hear that everything is mostly sound and makes sense. From Tactical decisions made by lords, to the way that the armies' soldiers behave, to even the mannerisms that are displayed.

But, like any movie of this current century. There is a heavy amount of CG. This is to be expected. Luckily, it doesn't feel like the entire movie had been shot in front of a green screen. Or had been animated to the character's actions. In fact, scenes where debris is flying, or being shoved about has the closest section being real world effects. While all background action is CG, naturally. Something that was often praised in the Lord of The Rings.

The scenes are absolutely beautiful, and do not feel fake. The fictional areas (those that do not actually EXIST in New Zealand or anywhere in the world) all feel very much real, and functional. There is hardly any unnecessary detail, like floating islands, overly floral designs, or arcades of arches where they aren't needed. Or things that don't make any sense.

There are also no made up languages, or words. You are free to check your Elven or Dwarven Lexicons.

The movie's shots were all designed heavily for 3D in mind. This means you might be distracted by random twigs in your face for a couple of seconds as the camera spins around on a turn table to focus on the key elements. There will also be a sense of depth in both 2D and 3D. Probably most felt inside the mountain, peak shots, or towering shots. So... could be good in 3D, and worth the viewing. Keep in mind, I watched this film in 2D, and personally believe that most of the camera angles for 2D viewing were completely unnecessary.

Unfortunately, any negative praise I have for this movie lies in the context of spoilers. I can tell you that in the peak of excitement, my nerd euphoria had been blown to pieces by minor things, and over played cards and tricks that could easily ruin an experience for anyone. Sadly, what's done is done.

I am not attempting to persuade, or dissuade anyone from watching this movie. My opinion is just that, an opinion. Everyone is allowed to think other wise, and you are allowed to agree with me if you wish to. The movie comes out this Wednesday, so you have time to decide.

My score to supply is: 7/10 (The Problems are like the desolation of Smaug. Small, but great impact.)

Breaking away from Critical Review.

Now is this movie a must see? If you have seen the previous Hobbits, then yes. By all means.

Other wise, it shouldn't be bothered with because the film makes absolutely no attempt to explain anything other than to patch up the Lord of the Ring's holes.

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