THE HOBBIT… THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES. 2014. DIRECTED BY PETER JACKSON. STARRING CHRISTOPHER LEE, SIR IAN MCKELLEN, RICHARD ARMITAGE, LEE PACE, LUKE EVANS, BILLY CONNOLLY, STEPHEN FRY, HUGO WEAVING, CATE BLANCHETT, JAMES NESBITT, KEN STOTT, IAN HOLM, BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH, DEAN O’GORMAN, AIDAN TURNER AND ORLANDO BLOOM. BASED ON THE BOOKS BY J.R.R. TOLKIEN. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
Well, it’s finally over. Sob. Sniffle. Sigh. Back in the early ‘Noughties, we had the brilliant THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy in the cinema for three consecutive Christmases. Roughly a decade later came the news that we were being treated to a second trilogy, this time a prequel to the films that came before… THE HOBBIT, to be precise, in three parts. Oh, happy days!
The first instalment, AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, is a worthy addition to the RINGS canon, in my humble opinion, though naturally no film could ever eclipse the breath-taking brilliance of the original trilogy. The second offering, THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, is slightly less worthy, I feel, and by far my least favourite of all six films.
In Part Three, THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES, the franchise finds its way again, though no doubt there are RINGS nerds online at this very moment picking holes in the plot- there are a few holes, admittedly- and complaining about storylines that don’t get wrapped up quite as neatly as in the original trilogy. Plot-holes and incomplete storylines notwithstanding, I stiIl found it a cracking little belter of an action movie, however.
The action in this film centres around the humongous mountain which was formerly the abode of the now deceased Smaug, the titular dragon of the second film. Smaug’s death is hilarious, incidentally. (Ooops, sorry! Spoiler alert…) Basically, he spends so much time gloating and boasting about how he’s, in effect, unkill-able, that the handsome Bard has ample time to line up the shot that slays him. I love that bit.
Anyway, Thorin Oakenshield, the head of the Dwarfs, has holed up under the mountain with his band of merry men because the mountain is home to Smaug’s immense stores of gold. Access to such a vast amount of wealth has turned Thorin a little weird. Well, frankly, he’s now bats, to the point where his followers, including the brave little Hobbit Bilbo Baggins, are seriously worried about him.
Outside the mountain, there’s big trouble a-brewing. An army of Elves, led by Legolas’ handsome Pops Thranduil astride a truly kick-ass Super-Moose, think they too are entitled to a share of the loot, a cache of white gems in particular. Thorin refuses to divvy up the spoils. He has bigger problems than Old Pointy-Ears and his gang of elegant and golden-haired fairies.
Azog, the leader of some of the ugliest Orcs you’ll ever have the good fortune to meet- yes, I said good, I love the Orcs!- has it in for the Dwarfs big-style. He wants to wipe them off the face of the earth, preferably in the bloodiest way possible. The various armies mass around the mountain and some pretty serious shit starts going down. Though no cinematic skirmish could ever equal The Battle Of Helm’s Deep in THE TWO TOWERS, it’s a pretty good bust-up all the same.
Dwarfs Fili and the sex-on-short-Hobbit-legs Kili bite the dust in scenes reminiscent of the death of Bambi’s mammy. The beautiful Elf-girl Tauriel learns a painful lesson about love when she sees her admirer Kili slaughtered. Gandalf spends a lot of time whizzing around the gaff being, well, Gandalf. Probably the most effective scenes in the film are the ones in which Thorin and Azog engage in hand-to-hand combat, with dirty fighter Azog armed with half a building for a mace. The devastating clash leaves them both permanently short of breath, if you know what I mean… (Ooops, spoiler alert mark two…!)
Billy Connolly pops up as a Dwarf relative of Thorin’s who’s decided to rock up with his own little army to tell the Elves to kindly ‘bugger off’ out of it, which is quite funny. Emotions bubble over and tears threaten as Martin Freeman, aka Bilbo Baggins, takes his leave of the Dwarfs at the end of all the shenanigans and toddles off back to Bag-End with a pretty little trinket in his pocket, a trinket we’ve already gotten to know rather intimately in the first trilogy, nudge nudge, wink wink…
The legendary Christopher Lee, now in his nineties, has his final outing as Saruman, an outing made all the more poignant in view of the great actor’s advanced years and his heavy involvement in the original trilogy. The trolls and Orcs are hideously terrifying as always, and Bilbo’s hairy Hobbit-feet have, frankly, never been hairier.
We could talk forever about all six films, but unfortunately time- and space- is short. I’ll finish by saying goodbye. Goodbye to the Ring, goodbye to the Shires, goodbye to the Hobbits. I’ll never forget you all. You were brilliant. Oh Christ, I’m tearing up. Now, where the hell did I put those bloody tissues…?
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at: