Movie review: “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” (2014)

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“Farewell, Master Burglar. Go back to your books, and your armchair…plant your trees, watch them grow. If more people valued home above gold, this world would be a merrier place…”

The enduring popularity (and usefulness) of those gargantuan “Extended Editions” of director Peter Jackson’s celebrated Lord of the Rings adaptations – which graft between thirty and fifty minutes of exposition, exploration, and effects onto epic films that already pushed (and punished) the three hour mark theatrically – isn’t difficult to surmise. LOTR is an existential, near-apocalyptic, struggle, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth is a dense, fairly miraculous setting for a film, full to bursting with hidden treasures and wonders to behold, populated by many distinct races, each with its own obscure motives and ancient grudges to nurse, facing half a dozen or more delicious varieties of increasingly hearty evil, from giant spiders and undead bounty hunters, to treacherous sorcerers and impossibly vast armies of genetically-enhanced butchers, to the wellspring embodiment of darkness itself, to the heartrending corruption of the mortal soul. Continue reading “Movie review: “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” (2014)”