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Technofiction review of

The Hobbit: Battle of the five Armies (2014)

by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright December 2014


I guess if you're going to call a movie Battle of the Five Armies, it's going to have a lot of army fighting scenes. Yes, this does. Jackson shows off his fine skill at depicting medieval fantasy-style combat, and his fine imagination at building up the settings for these combats to take place in. Sadly, as is also a Jackson trademark, there is little internal consistency in the story.


Jackson does a fine job in this movie of showing soldiers of different cultures marching across a field of battle. In the mid-movie he also does some nice work at coming up with innovative tactics and settings for these different warriors. These are the movie's strong points. One other strong point: there is only one cliffhanger in this one, and it is early in the movie and brief. (In earlier movies Jackson has loved these. There were three lengthy ones in the first Hobbit movie.)

But all-in-all I did not find the movie memorable because other areas are not as well assembled. There is a lot of inconsistency in the story. Here are some examples of what I had trouble with:

o My goodness, there's a lot of armor! In this movie everyone is heavily armored. In spite of this heavy armor, all the weapons of heroes are effective -- the bad guys are skewered quickly and effectively. If the armor can't protect, why bother to wear it?

o There is so little magic done by the wizards. The magic users fight swinging swords and staffs just like everyone else does, not spells or cleverness. The biggest difference is they wear less armor. Why be a magic user -- why respect a magic user -- if they aren't going to use spells? Given this movie's setting, one of the most notable missing spell styles is healing spells.

o Don't be an orc! As is common in all the Hobbit movies, the orcs can't hit and die in droves. You have to wonder why the other races pay any attention to them, beyond their abilities to sneak and look ugly. In this one, late in the movie, they finally show some ability to threaten main characters, but that is not until way late in the show.

o Forest elves are easy-going and cheerful in their nature -- they are at one with nature. In this movie as warriors they are robotic, and the leaders are cool and arrogant. You can get away with the cool and arrogant as a high elf but not a forest elf. They should be more party-hearty than dwarfs.


This movie is great if you love Jackson-style battle scenes and settings. But pay no attention to that story behind the curtain!

-- The End --


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