‘Hobbit’ finale fails to spark imagination

By Bob Bloom

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is like that guest who overstayed his welcome.hobbit 5 armies

You enjoyed the visit, but now you just want him to walk out the door ASAP.

This entire “Hobbit” trilogy is a prime example of moviemaking excess.

The book is a wonderful read and would have made a very fine single movie — or even a two-film endeavor.

But stretching it out to three films created an interminable experience that taxed the patience.

Plus, it seems to fill out the trio of films, director Peter Jackson and his screenwriters appropriated characters and situations from other writings by J.R.R. Tolkien or just invented their own Middle Earth plotlines.

Unlike the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “The Hobbit” fails to ignite the imagination. There is no great quest and no individual stands out.

Martin Freeman’s Bilbo Baggins gets lost in the shuffle of the many dwarves he accompanies on his journey. And while Richard Armitage’s Thorin Oakenshield gets more screen time as the leader of the band, he lacks charisma and is too sullen and overbearing to gain any sympathy.

Even the battle that is the centerpiece of “Five Armies” seems repetitious and familiar. And while the special effects and CGI work is good, it does not create any awe, as did similar sequences in the first trilogy.

Like Thorin’s obsession with regaining his kingdom and his wealth, it seems that greed also was driving those behind the camera.

This trilogy always seemed like one very, very long trailer that wanted to continually remind viewers of the glory and acclaim that was heaped upon the “Lord of the Rings” movies.

Jackson can be applauded for his effort, but it appears he overshot his mark.

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” lacks grandeur and gravitas.

Technically it is impressive, as are the other two “Hobbit” movies.

It is a sweeping spectacle that is so caught up in its own desire to overtake and outdo its predecessors that it forgot its most important ingredient — the need to capture the imagination of its viewers.

“The Battle of the Five Armies” fails to carry us off like a cinematic eagle. Instead, it leaves us cold and barren on an ordinary Middle Earth.

And that is a shame.

Jackson’s “Hobbit” trilogy makes me want to go back and watch the “Lord of the Rings” films, but not for the reason the filmmaker wants. It’s to wash away the memory of his inferior follow-ups.

Bloom’s movie, Blu-ray and DVD reviews can be found at ReelBob.com, The Film Yap and on Rottentomatoes.com. You can follow Bloom on Twitter @bobbloomjc and on Facebook.



2 stars out of 4

PG-13, intense action and fantasy violence and frightening images