The Hobbit – Battle of Five Armies

The Hobbit - The Battle of the Five Armies
The Hobbit – The Battle of Five Armies is the third and final instalment of The Hobbit trilogy. The battle rages for for Middle Earth!

It starts pretty much where the second film ended. Smaug the terrible dragon (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) is ready to raze Lakewood to the ground in revenge for the Dwarfs trying to drown him in gold!

Their unsuccessful attempt to kill Smaug has left the dragon boiling with rage and he takes it out on the nearest humans! Although, Smaug took their the dwarves’ city Erebor by force in the first film he has claimed it as his own. A dragon guards his gold with ferocity!

The surviving dwarf, grandson Thorin Oakenshield has waited a long time to mount a fight to reclaim Erebor. The gold’s allure begins to affect Thorin who starts putting it ahead of those around him.

Poor Gandalf (Ian McKellen) is far away and unable to intervene, held captive by Sauron at Dol Guldur. It looks like certain doom for the wise wizard. Can anyone mount a rescue attempt? Will the Lady Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) come to his rescue?

The Orcs march onto Lakewood spelling trouble for the town who are being attacked by Smaug! Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) are on hand to help fight alongside Tauriel and the dwarves. But their only hope might come from Bard (Luke Evans). A descendent of the last dragon slayer and holder of the last black arrow!

The CGI is still very impressive, the army sequences are nothing short of a dazzling spectacle. There’s not a thing out of place nor a character left hanging.

I did notice that this one, the last Lord of the Rings film was actually over three hours long (that might‘ve been the trailers – oh to have a shortcut feature!) but it didn’t matter. Time well spent and you mustn’t miss a second of this!

Peter Jackson as director still gives us a thrilling spectacle to behold! The man deserves a medal as does JRR Tolkien who wrote the stories.

I know some people aren’t happy with how much screen time Bilbo gets but for me the films are an ensemble piece. It’s not Bilbo Baggins and The Chamber of Dragons!

A well deserved 10/10 from me. It’s just so sad that it’s all over. Whatever will I do without Gandalf, Bilbo and the dwarves?

Image reproduced from wikipedia.com
Trailer reproduced from Warner Bros. Pictures

Maleficent 2014

Maleficent 2014
Maleficent was a take on the Sleeping Beauty film made by Disney. Although this version was with live action. Angelina Jolie played the title lead.

The basic story of an evil witch cursing a princess to prick her finger on her 16th birthday and die remained mostly intact. The big change was that it started with Maleficent as a child and you get to see how she became evil. She starts a nice kind girl. The three fairies – pink, blue and green are also around. Although they are portrayed as bumbling idiots.

Maleficent rescues a boy; Stephen who has stolen a rock from the rock people living in her kingdom. They become an item, right up until he gives her a kiss on their sixteenth birthday. Maleficent becomes the protector of fairies.

A nearby king threatens Fairyland. There was a good battle, which Maleficent ensues victory by flying around and knocks the king off his horse! A twist is that Stephen, who kissed her, is in the king’s court. He is there when the king announces that anyone who can bring him Maleficent’s head will be king! Stephen lulls Maleficent into a false sense of security. When she falls asleep, he goes to kill her but cannot. Therefore, he chops off her wings!

Taking her wings back gets him the kingdom, the king dies and Stephen gets to succeed him. He marries another girl who becomes queen. They have a daughter Aurora, the one who will be Sleeping Beauty. The tale from there more or less follows the tale with a few twists and turns.

Although only the pink fairy gets to cast her gift of beauty on the baby princess, Maleficent is the one who changes her spell to send the princess into deep sleep rather than die.

I have to say, I wasn’t wowed by this. I didn’t like the fact the three good fairies were stupid. A boy breaking her heart causing Maleficent to become evil was a bit stale. Angelina’s portrayal was restrained, as if she wasn’t quite comfortable doing some of the stuff. King Stephen becomes a bit of fruitcake – again lacking any originality at all. It was like a textbook A-B of how to make one-dimensional characters. No one stood out very well.

Although there is a twist on the true love’s first kiss to awaken Sleeping Beauty. I did like that. In addition, there are some good scenes between Maleficent and her cohort, who becomes the customary crow but also other animals too. The barrier of thorns remained.

However, the King’s guards were just as bumbling as the three friaries. In fact, the three fairies had so little to do, I’m surprised the director didn’t lump them into one character. Being good doesn’t mean you’re thick!

Therefore, I’m giving 7/10 for this movie. Good in places but a little long, which I think the youngsters will struggle with and it’s filled with basic characters.

Image reproduced from impawards.com
Trailer reproduced from Disney Movie Trailers