Review: The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies

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THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES (Peter Jackson). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NN

Add a couple more Ns to my rating if you’ve been salivating for The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies. I found myself utterly unable to engage with the climax of Peter Jackson’s gargantuan adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s slender prequel to The Lord Of The Rings.

Maybe it’s Middle-earth fatigue. At nearly eight hours, the Hobbit trilogy contains all the weaknesses of Jackson’s Rings films (big battle sequences that look far too obviously like software fighting software, jarring disconnect between grim mythological scenes and broader comic moments) and precious few of its strengths. The importance of the characters’ relationships are diminished by their isolation from one another, and Martin Freeman’s rich, considered performance as Bilbo Baggins is shoved aside for half a dozen other subplots that have no emotional resonance whatsoever.

At two hours and 24 minutes it’s the shortest of the trilogy, but it still feels longer than it needs to be, especially since the Smaug-related cliffhanger is resolved 15 minutes in.

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