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The Hobbit review: It brings the journey of Bilbo Baggins to a stirring conclusion

It’s the end of an era. The third and final instalment of the second Middle Earth trilogy based on the works of JRR Tolkien brings the journey of the heroic hobbit named Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) to a stirring conclusion.

movie reviews Updated: Dec 14, 2014 20:44 IST
Rashid Irani
Martin-Freeman-will-return-on-the-big-screen-tomorrow-with-The-Hobbit-The-Battle-of-Five-Armies-the-third-and-final-installment-of-the-series
Martin-Freeman-will-return-on-the-big-screen-tomorrow-with-The-Hobbit-The-Battle-of-Five-Armies-the-third-and-final-installment-of-the-series

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES
Direction:

Peter Jackson


Cast:

Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly


Rating:

3/5



It’s the end of an era. The third and final instalment of the second Middle Earth trilogy based on the works of JRR Tolkien brings the journey of the heroic hobbit named Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) to a stirring conclusion. It also wraps up writer-director Peter Jackson’s six-film opus, begun at the turn of the century with The Lord of the Rings.

As the title suggests The Five Armies springs to life during the protracted battle scenes, which are staged on a scale comparable to those of the Rings trilogy.



The zippy narrative kicks off with the enraged dragon (expertly voiced again by Benedict Cumberbatch) from the middle chapter of the Hobbit triptych unleashing fiery retribution upon the defenceless residents of a lake town.



Maintaining a fine balance between thunderous skirmishes and emotional engagement, Jackson meticulously recreates the fantastical universe conjured by Tolkien in his debut novel back in 1937.



While the director’s imagination does flag somewhat in the mid-section, there’s no denying the cutting-edge visual effects designed by the New Zealand-based Weta Digital Company.



Summoning all their strength, a posse of humans, dwarves and elves fights to fend off an assortment of beasties. Amid all the death and destruction, the dwarf king (Armitage, embodying the diminutive warrior with heartfelt conviction) becomes temporarily unhinged by his greed for the reclaimed treasure of his homeland.



Fortuitously, he has a change of heart, at one point even galvanizing his men with a fervent plea, “Will you follow me one last time?”


There are a host of strong supporting performances from returning cast members Ian McKellen as the wizard, Orlando Bloom as the skilled archer and the redoubtable Christopher Lee as the white-robed sorcerer. Unfortunately both Cate Blanchett and Evangaline Lilly are once more saddled with token female roles.



As in the earlier editions of the Hobbit franchise, there’s an option to see ...The Five Armies in the higher 48 frames-per-second rate. My advice: stick to the traditional 2D format.



For the first time since …The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001, there won’t be a new Middle Earth epic fantasy to look forward to. What a pity.