Back to the Movies had the privilege of walking the green carpet at London’s Leicester Square for the World Premiere of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the final film in The Hobbit trilogy as Bilbo Baggins quest comes to an epic conclusion.
The Hobbit has withstood a mass of criticism from the media with the first two instalments being constantly compared to its prestigious predecessor The Lord of the Rings. As a stand alone trilogy The Hobbit is toned down compared to the darkness that The Lord of the Rings portrayed, The Hobbit series has heart. The Lord of the Rings was a fierce and intense book with the storyline stoking the fires of the evil and peril that would befall Frodo on his quest to destroy the ring. The Hobbit however has a more subtle tone in the first movie relying on heart, friendship and the start of a new journey for Bilbo and his friends, its only when Desolation of Smaug hit the theatres that the film started to take darker tones and rightly so as the quest takes a dark and more sinister turn.
Battle of the Five Armies continues exactly where Desolation of Smaug ended with Luke Evans as Bard the Bowman on his quest to save Lake-town from the onslaught of Smaug the mighty dragon and his fiery breath raining terror on his beloved home. Within the first ten minutes of the movie it is clear that no amount of detail shall be spared and the movie is going to be built up in a mammoth cinematic display to bridge the gap between this final instalment and the beginning of The Lord of the Rings movie. Luke Evans opens with an amazing performance and before the title of the movie has even appeared every mouth has been dropped in the theatre around me, what an opening to a movie, let the games begin.
The story revolves around the lonely mountain of Erebor, the home of Smaug and all the gold which lies within that Smaug has dedicated his life to protecting. Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his merry dwarves have taken control of the castle after the great battle at Lake town, but slowly Thorin starts to descend into madness as the gold is slowly corrupting his mind. He forgets his honour and the promise he made to repay the people of Lake-town with what they are rightly owed.
The Elves get involved in wanting their share of the treasure that lies within the heart of the mountain and soon enough several armies have converged on Erebor for their various purposes and selfish gains. Elves, dwarves and humans are all at war and seemingly unaware that hordes of murderous Orcs are about to reign terror on them all.
The film poses as an extended tribute to the battle of Helms Deep scene from The Lord of the Rings the Two Towers, with countless mutilations, beheadings and kick ass fighting sequences, for a film with a great battle as its main plot point you would think that after a while the film would drag on and get quite tedious, but the film sets itself apart from the battle at times, focusing on more heartfelt story lines, intricate detail, beautiful cinematography and one brave little hobbit. As well as the chaos surrounding the mountain the film sends us on Galdalf’s journey with a certain particular scene staying in my mind that is much darker than anything we may of seen in the franchise thus far. A dark and violent scene involving Gandalf (Ian McKellen), Saruman (Christopher Lee) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) left me feeling as thou I was watching a horror movie, but this was all part of the magic that lays the foundations for The Lord of the Rings, which in itself is a very dark and mystical tale.
The film does however struggle to distinguish between the battle that is taking place and Bilbo’s motives and storyline, the movie feels like its too focused on the action rather than the heart that made The Hobbit films so beautiful to watch. Like I mentioned previously the movie does show the heart that the story needs, just not enough for you to be focused on anything that Bilbo is doing, he is just a background character with the battle taking the main stage.
The conclusion of the movie felt like Peter Jackson didn’t really want the franchise to end, with drawn out sequences and unnecessary scenes but as the film draws to a close the movie eventually come full circle much like a certain ring that Bilbo now carries. The loose ends are tied up and the last scene of the movie finishes exactly where The Lord of the Rings begins. As a whole The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is a wonderful film full of action and drama which for me personally was easily the best film of the Franchise, it really felt like a film with heart, a last stand for the film makers and all those involved and they did themselves proud. A beautiful cinematic experience and a final goodbye to a wonderful fifteen years of film.
We caught up with Luke Evans at the Press Junket after the movie to talk about his role as Bard the Bowman and the amazing opening scene that introduces this movie with some mind blowing style.