By Stephanie Hamilton (Livingston, Scotland)


With great expectations comes crushing and usually inevitable disappointment. Anyone who knows me is fully aware of my skepticism when it comes to prequels, sequels, trilogies and sagas. I therefore made a point of reducing all excitement to a minimum when it came time to view The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, despite my love for JRR Tolkien’s work and all previous Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit movies.

My main concern with this production was the significantly short length of the novel on which it was based. Whilst Jackson’s theatrical version of the critically acclaimed 1937 fantasy story introduced many more storylines and action to create substance, depth and longevity that would be impossible to sustain without these added elements, I was unsure how this would pan out whilst ensuring the key factors that fans have grown to love remained intact.

Fortunately, it worked.

Freeman as the adventure-shy, shire-dwelling protagonist, Bilbo Baggins continued to offer a wonderful and warming performance, perfectly capturing the stereotypical hospitable, brave nature of hobbits as a species. However, it was Richard Armitage who stole the show on this occasion. Thorin has now been corrupted by the gold stored in his newly-won mountain, his brain overtaken by a sickness of greed. Despite this change in his personality, the character displays glimmers of his previous, noble and proud persona. We learn more of Dwarves as a race who display fierce loyalty and honour as they struggle between wrong and right and following the orders of their King. This amounts to moments of heart-wrenching emotion and pure unadulterated bravery.

The love story between Tauriel and Kili creates a new dynamic in the plot of the story, stretching the limits and blurring the lines between love and loyalty. Legolas also grows as a character and shows signs of becoming more like the elf we know from Lord of the Rings.

Bittersweet, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies is an entertaining, action packed epic adventure which sets up for the coming events of The Lord of the Rings in a warm, intense and often amusing final beginning.


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