Thursday, January 1, 2015
The Hobbit: Battle of the the Five Armies ***1/2
Peter Jackson's final installment to the Hobbit trilogy ends the saga on a thrilling note. The story picks up with Bilbo Baggins and company preparing to defend Middle Earth from an army of darkness. The entirety of the film revolves around the battle, providing a strong narrative focus. CGI effects are ideally suited for the fantasy genre and they are used to amazing effect in Battle of the Five Armies. Many fantasy stories involve large scale battles which would be way too expensive to film with real actors - so I'm big fan of CGI when used to its full potential. As the characters meet their fates the themes of heroism and sacrifice have an emotional resonance. Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) journey from mild mannered hobbit to brave defender for good perfectly encapsulates the hero's journey. Jackson also tied up all the loose ends to bring the entire six film saga to bring all the elements full circle. All of Jackson's fantasy films hark back to the silent movie tradition - using moving pictures to present a spectacle on the big screen. Battle of Five Armies keeps the tradition alive and well. Cecil B. DeMille would be proud.