The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Blu-ray review

hobbit battle five armies_BD_2D SKEW (11-20)

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the third film in the Hobbit Trilogy. Many were disappointed with the first two films due to it feeling “thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” Does the third movie suffer the same fluff as the previous two? Sadly yes, but if you still enjoyed the characters and their crazy but dragged-out adventures, then you’ll find this one somewhat entertaining.

The third Hobbit film is the conclusion to Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the other Dwarves’ journey. The first film starts off with the group on a crusade to reclaim Erebor, the second film has them claiming it, and the third film has them trying to guard it. If I can sum up the last film, it would be a small portion of Smaug terrorizing the people of Lake-town, and a big portion of it setting up and delivering the battle of the five armies.

I was a little bit letdown by the battle, since it seemed like it relied more on CG compared to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I’m okay with a long shot with CG characters, but I was a bit distracted with closeups of some of the CG characters. The two main orc leaders and Dain (Bill Connelly), the lord of the Iron Hills Dwarves, relied on being digital. I felt that Peter Jackson and crew could have used real actors for the screen, but they opted out. (They did reveal in previous behind-the-scenes featurettes that they weren’t happy with some of the makeup and prosthetics for the live actors dressed as orcs.)

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There are some things I enjoyed about the film. One of them is Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. His struggle with greed and honor made him a flawed and sympathetic character. Then there’s Luke Evans as Bard the Bowman, a man from Lake-town who only wants what’s best for his people and family. I did fancy seeing returning characters like Galadriel, Elrond, and Saruman, even if they had bit parts.

Purists should probably steer clear of this film, since they’ll likely be criticizing the unnecessary changes or additions from the book. The bulk of the film is the battle with a lot more noticeable CG compared to previous films, so if you can get past all of that, then you should have a good time.

Movie Rating: 3.5/5 Atoms

NR 3_5 Atoms - B-

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The video is presented in a beautiful 1080p/AVC format. The colors are more vibrant compared to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, giving us a hint that the Hobbit trilogy is lighter in tone. Even though the colors are more vibrant, it still has that grim and barren effect, especially in locations like Dol Guldur and Mount Gundabad, both Orc strongholds. The color grading is strong with this one, as we see a lot of muted colors mixed in with vibrant colors. The presentation is pretty detailed, as you can tell from the strands from Gandalf’s beard, the armies surrounding Erebor, and the armor being worn by the elves and Dwarves.

Video Rating: 5/5 Atoms

NR 5 Atoms - A

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The audio is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track, and it drums and rumbles. Everything Jackson can throw at you, he will, whether it’s the sound of armies marching, Smaug spitting fire, giant Were-worms tunneling, and weapons colliding. The many battle sequences showcase the surround sound really well, immersing you in a hectic Middle-earth. The dialogue is clear and balanced.

Audio Rating: 5/5 Atoms

NR 5 Atoms - A

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Since this is a Peter Jackson film, you should know that an Extended Edition is going to come out later this year with hours and hours of extras. For now, you’ll have to make do with these bonus features.

  • Recruiting the Five Armies – A short featurette on what it’s like to be an extra in the Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
  • Completing Middle-earth – A 20-minute featurette on the production and journey of both the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy.
  • The Last Goodbye: Behind the Scenes – A 9-minute video on the making of the music video and why the filmmakers chose Billy Boyd to co-write and sing “The Last Goodbye”.
  • The Last Goodbye Music Video –
  • New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth, Part 3 – A six-minute video on the New Zealand locations used for the third film.
  • Trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition.

Extras Rating: 3/5 Atoms

NR 3 Atoms - C

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Final Reaction

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies wraps up the entire Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. As a film, it’s on par with the previous two films. Purists will likely be annoyed by the additions, while others may be turned off by the excessive use of noticeable CG and bloated scenes. There are some moments to be had, and overall it’s a passable end to the Hobbit trilogy.

Final Rating: 3.5/5 Atoms

NR 3_5 Atoms - B-

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