By Darren Chan Keng Leong (Singapore)
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Note: Minor Spoilers!

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the epic last instalment of The Hobbit Trilogy and the last film series to the prequel to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. It continues the storyline from the previous Hobbit film, The Desolation of Smaug where the dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) is seen destroying Laketown. Smaug mercilessly sets Laketown on fire causing many casualties while Tauriel (Evangeline Lily) uses boats to escort Fili, Kili, Oin, Bofur and Bard’s children to safety.

Bard (Luke Evans) successfully breaks out of his prison cell in desperation to save the Laketown from Smaug’s destruction and manages to slay the dragon with an arrow. However I was left feeling disappointed that throughout the film, director Peter Jackson had chosen a safe approach in resolving most of the character’s storylines that it leaves the audience underwhelmed in wanting more exciting fight scenes between the different characters.

Smaug was such an imposing threat to the characters in the previous film and it was shame that there were no epic dragon fight scenes to showcase Smaug’s power struggle with Bard that was a major let down. The battle scenes between the different armies could have been better with more intense fight scenes that could have showed the prowess of the different characters that would have satisfied the audience.

The cast has been amazing throughout the film series with their acting skills and voice acting which helps to bring out the different qualities and emotions represented by each individual character in fighting for good and those that are in it to cause death and destruction. The film also explores certain themes that are reflected throughout the plot of the movie. The first theme explored in the show would be courage where Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) has the mindset to prevent war by getting his hands on the precious Arkenstone and persuade Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) to stop the war that he had called due to his affliction of dragon sickness.

The next theme which was explored was the concept of deception that involves treachery that Azog the defiler, the main antagonist (Manu Bennett) has planned to destroy all the armies so that he can take the treasure that Thorin has protected. Also the film explores the relationship of Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Tauriel (Evangeline Lily) in helping the armies fight off Azog’s troops. Also the whole film is centered on the concept of good versus evil and the sacrifices that the character must make to make peace with their past and with themselves, even in death. It is a nice reunion of both Gandalf the Grey (Ian Mckellen) who aids Bilbo Baggins and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) who have scenes in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

Much praise goes to the stellar cast who play their roles so well in portraying the emotions of their characters throughout the film and their acting skills which bring across their characters in connecting them with the audience. The cinematography and environment is also brilliantly shot to enhance the realism of the world of The Hobbit. The film also channels the essence of the armies and sections which the audience can draw references to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy which serves as a reminder of the genius of J.R.R Tolkien. The soundtrack was also brilliantly executed by composer Howard Shore as it complemented the scenes in the film and brought out the emotions of the various characters in the film.

Another aspect of the film that stood out for me was the beautifully rendered environment and choreographed fight scenes that were intense and kept the audience fixated on the screen to view the fate of their characters. The surprise ending scene was also a nice tribute to The Fellowship of the Ring where a much older Bilbo greets Gandalf at his home.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies makes a good film to watch during the holiday season and is a satisfying end to the beloved Hobbit trilogy. I felt that the film could have more focused action scenes and more interaction with the characters in the film so that it will help polish the character’s individual storylines. Overall, the film serves as a satisfying end to The Hobbit trilogy but it leaves the audience wanting for more adventures with their beloved characters of the film’s series.

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