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'Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies' visually brilliant, but fails to excite (IANS Movie Review)
Film: "Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies"; Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Dean O'Gorman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Aidan Turner, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, Jed Brophy, Mark Hadlow, Adam Brown, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee and Ian Holm; Director: Peter Jackson; Rating: **
Unfortunately, that is the first and only reaction that is spontaneously evoked after seeing this film which is dished out by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson.
"Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies", his sixth film and the last of the Hobbit trilogy, offers nothing exceptional other than prolonged battle scenes with no real trajectory.
If the first two instalments of "The Hobbit" were visually splendid with optimistically exciting adventure, this one clearly lacks in that arena. Who can forget those opus packed editions with dollops of action scenes that included fights, chases and romance? Sadly all these are missing in this current film and the spirit of the narration seems fatigued.
The film takes off from its last edition, "The Desolution of Smaug", and hits the crux head on. Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch), the dragon, unleashes his wrath on Lake-town after been "woken".
Now that Throin (Richard Armitage), the king of the dwarfs has reclaimed his land, the Lonely Mountain, from Smaug, he finds himself suffering from "dragon sickness", which means that like the dragon, he too is attracted to the treasures. But then, he's not the only one.
There are other claimants for this treasure too, which include; the Iron Hills dwarfs commanded by General Dain Ironfoot (Billy Connolly), Woodland Elves led by Thranduil (Lee Pace) and the displaced people of Lake-town who are halfheartedly garnered by the dragon slaying boat captain Bard (Luke Evans).
In the meantime, the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) has identified the evil Necromancer as Sauron, who has returned to Middle Earth and ordered countless Orcs to attack the Lonely Mountain.
It is Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), the Hobbit, who despite his strong negotiating power, finds it difficult to drive sense into Throin. He admonishes him with, "Is the treasure more precious that your honour?" before switching sides. But by then, it is too late.
The five armies -- humans, elves, dwarfs, orcs, and eagles -- are fighting over the treasure in the mountain and the outcome is obvious.
The screenplay, written by four writers, based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkein, seems forced and obligatory with few faintly stunning strains of exciting action and humour that are sporadically strewn in. Overall, it is devoid of any visual gore and emotional connect.
The issue here is that emphasis is given to action scenes and there is no scope for character arcs to develop. Also, some scenes are so rushed and taken for granted that if you have not seen the earlier two "Hobbit" films, you'd be lost.
Visually, the film is stunning with visual effects and computer generated images, but again it shares the same palette of all its previous editions. The only exception here being, set in winter; the action on frozen ice adds drama and freshness to the otherwise staid output.
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