When the film version of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was released in late December of last year, it became one of the highest grossing movies of all time, opening to over $175 million in the United States alone. To be fair, while most people were enjoying the film as much as they had planned to, some were left disappointed with some slight missteps that didn't sit well with fans. Many wondered what the changes would be and what things would change for the better in the film and now that it's been a year since its release, it's time to take a look at exactly what has changed for the better in this movie and what hasn't changed at all.
For starters, everyone should recognize Diego Gavilanimo as the director of photography. The great thing about his work on this film is that it doesn't feel like anything else he's done before. Unlike some films that feature actors who've worked together before, this film feels like a completely different kind of movie and as such, Gavilanimo had to go all out in the visual department and add everything from new sets to new locations. This paid off in spades as every frame of this film looks incredible and once again, makes The Battle of the Five Armies one of the best looking films in recent memory.
The battle sequences in The Battle of the Five Armies are another notable addition to the series. The fact that they are slightly different from the rest of the films combined with a strong beginning (especially with Dol Guldur) has resulted in the battle scenes being among the most entertaining sequences in all of Middle Earth.
In terms of the sound design, it's very similar to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. This means there's plenty of dialog and music from the previously released films mixed in with the newest live performances by Elvira from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and the original score from Peter Jackson himself. Allin all, the mix is quite good in general and the quality is quite impressive for the level of technology used here.
In terms of acting, while a lot of the action takes place in Moria, Dol Guldur also plays a major role here. Also known as the Dark Portal, this locale where the Goblin King has just entered is not only full of dwarves but also spiders and snakes and it's a bit of a fight scene as the New Zealand cast definitely bring their A-game. While not as well known as the likes of Billy Boyd and Evangeline Lilly, John Callen is easily recognized as Legolas' father Thranduil and this is a nice little nod to the older fans.
In terms of the voices, the film continues to use a lot of New Zealanders and some of them in particular are quite memorable. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is basically the story of Bilbo Baggins who battles against many enemies in his quest to save his family and friends. The New Zealanders is quite memorable and doesn't disappoint as they have a great track record when it comes to acting and voicing roles so if you haven't heard them yet, you're really missing out.
Overall, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has a lot of fun moments with New Zealand scenery and adds in some fun additions to the franchise in the form of the Spider Man and the Giant Spiders. All in all, this is the first of a trilogy and it's really exciting to see how Jackson continues to make the franchise even better with each installment and I'm pretty excited for the next film, which comes out in a couple months.
The Battle of the Five Armies is a decent entry into the Hobbit franchise and it can stand up to some of the other high points of The Hobbit films while remaining true to the series. Fans of the franchise should really give it a watch but be warned, it's likely going to be a little rough around the edges.