It’s been 13 years since the first Lord of the Rings Series hit the screens, and the journey since has spanned across six movies and over 17 hours (well more if you check out the extended versions). So with Peter Jackson completing the saga with a very fast paced CGI-rich movie, I have no qualms in accepting that I found the movie strangely satisfying.
The movie picks up from where it left in Desolation of Smaug. Peter Jackson is very merciless to those who are watching the Hobbit series for the first time, as he doesn’t invest a single minute on the backstory. The irate Smaug is heading towards the lake town destroying everything in the path until met upon by the bowman bard (Luke Evans). This sequence of the dragon destroying the town is filmed with horrifying detail and Benedict Cumberbatch’s surreal dragon voice does the rest for the terrifying effect. The dragon falls a thunderously into his death but as people are celebrating with joy something else is boiling and brooding: Politics.
After the destruction of the lake town the focus shifts to the dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage). The once heroic king is now shown succumbing to the lust of immense gold of Erebor. There is one instance when he is talking Bilbo and his eyes are sparkling with greedy madness, that scene then and there sets the tone for the middle section of the movie. The infinite gold attracts all kinds of tribes from all over the middle-earth seeking their right on the treasure. This sets the stage for the epic battle of the five armies. Peter and Co have proven their writing skill and this time also they have succeeded in continually upping the wow factor of the movie till the climactic battle.
In between, the movie takes out some time to present a very visually charged and dramatized battle sequence between the ring wraiths. Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) and the White Wizard Saruman (Christopher Lee) puts up a flashy battle which reminded me of the good old Lord of the rings days. My favorite part of the movie.
As we are being drawn to the inevitable battle there are sub-plots going on. There is the interspecies romance of Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and love-struck dwarf Kili (Aidan Turner), plus some flashy cameos from Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen). Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is a little off throughout the movie watching the battle raging from the side-lines.
Lastly we come to epic battle sequence, a 45-minutes of total mayhem which could only be captured so beautifully by the talented Peter Jackson. With what feels like a lot more than five armies on the go – elves, dwarves, men, orcs, trolls, goblins, eagles, evil bats and bizarre earthworms – it’s one of the grandest jaw-dropping sequences Jackson has ever shot. The one scene where elf warriors are leaping over the backs of dwarves and into a head-on orc charge is unforgettable. Also the dwarf versus orc duel atop a frozen waterfall makes for one of the best moments in the movie. What I missed was some emotionally charged dialogues which could have taken the movie a few ranks up.
There are few flaws here and there but as the movie finally comes to a close, it’s also a fitting tribute to the dedication and ambition to the whole of the middle-earth saga. Bilbo’s (Martin Freeman) final goodbye to the remaining members of the band of dwarves is quite emotional as he makes a tea invitation sound like confession of love. And with this came the conclusion to The Battle of the Five Armies. We are done with Middle Earth for now, its great stories been told brilliantly and unforgettably.