Movie Review: ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’
Over the holidays, I went to see the third and final installment of movie director Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. While I’ve read the book by J.R.R. Tolkien, and am a fan of his companion Lord of the Rings trilogy in book and movie form, I am by no means an aficionado. Yet I will offer these thoughts and reflections as a fan.
Viewers of the previous two Hobbit movies will recall “Bilbo,” “Thorin Oakenshield” and other dwarves and their quest to recapture the Lonely Mountain, a treasure filled mountain once owned and inhabited by Oakenshield’s ancestors and other dwarves. In the previous movie, “Bilbo” awakened the dreaded dragon “Smaug,” who decades before took over the place because of its gold and treasure. According to the Internet Movie Database Website, “Bilbo and Company are (now) forced to engage in a war against an array of combatants and keep the Lonely Mountain from falling into the hands of a rising darkness.”
The Hobbit, while an entirely fictional plot, forces the viewer to grapple with human nature. The story happens on a grand scale, as therefore ennobles your soul, unlike the petty, silly movies of say, Adam Sandler. The movie has characters that are memorable, none more so than “Bilbo” himself. The character development we see from opening scene of the first installment to this final is remarkable.
The acting, screenplay and special effects in The Hobbit are gripping, and the music score is very memorable. This movie has light-hearted moments related to the quirky dwarves that make you laugh. The film, which contains a sub-plot romance that Tolkien’s work did not have but Jackson added in, will almost certainly stir your emotions and keep you engaged until the end, if you have seen the previous movies.
Some Christians dislike the fantasy genre altogether. Still others, who would not be afraid to be described as fundamentalist Christians, loathe stories like The Hobbit with magic, dragons and the like. In this other blog post, I offer my perspective on how and why stories like C.S. Lewis’ Narnia and The Hobbit have a redeeming value.
The Hobbit movies contains a great amount of monsters and images that could be frightening for younger viewers. The movie also shows a lot of fighting, for which families should be prepared. I personally believe in movies as in life, we need to distinguish between justified violence and unjustified violence, let alone realize that wars happen. To more sensitive viewers, though, The Hobbit could create a problem.
In a morally-relative age such as ours, any movie or book that ingrains in children a belief in absolute right and wrong is a welcome sight. The Hobbit depicts evil and darkness for what they really are. It also shows that while darkness is something that looms out there, it is also lurking within our own hearts.
While God is not specifically mentioned in The Hobbit, some of the grand topics of the Bible and life itself, including death, greed, sin, redemption and love, shine through.
To see this film, you must have seen the others first. If you are a fan of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series, you will likely agree that this movie is good, but maybe not great. I personally thought The Hobbit, which is one book, would have been better presented in two movies, not three. Be that as it may, Peter Jackson once again created a work of art that has attracted millions of dollars and a wide audience and also inspired renewed interest in Tolkien’s literary classic.
3 out of 4 stars