Sunday, 14 December 2014



The War Of The Rings.

144 Minutes. Starring: Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lily, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Aidan Turner, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Stephen Fry, Sylvester McCoy, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving & Benedict Cumberbatch (As The Voice Of Smaug). Director: Peter Jackson.

Once more unto the breach my friends! We all know how this day is going to end. This is it! One last time! Peter Jackson's 'King Kong' huge vision of middle-earth comes to a dream like close. After his original 'Lord Of The Rings' trilogy changed the blockbuster movie world and storytelling as a whole. The man who directs like he has his sights on being the next Spielberg, took Tolkien's classic book ends and turned them into something truly beyond the most vivid imaginations of parents who grew up on the bedtime stories worldwide. Having the passing on, nostalgic pleasure of an opportunity to take their own children to see and share a story in this digital age, where unfortunately reading to our children before bed has turned into Kindles and iPad videos. Still honouring tradition, Jackson took action and went back to the original book of 'The Hobbit' and that big, red dragon that so far had only been seen in inspired illustrations of influence over the generations. Now 'The Hobbit' may read like a pamphlet in relation to the fellowship of door-stops that came after, but Jackson has still managed to squeeze three films out of it in the generation of eight 'Harry Potter' films and a 'Hunger Games', 'Mockingjay' being split into two. First came 'An Unexpected Journey' with a rejuvenated, precious feel and Gollum. Then last December in the new yearly tradition came the most fun and entertaining film of the Rings with 'The Desolation Of Smaug' where we finally saw the dragon enter. Now with this year, this trilogy and this story coming to an epic close fans are left screaming and shouting for 'The Silmarillion'.

'There And Back Again'...just not quite. A fitting finale like this needs to an end with a bold BANG! So this stories script has been rewrote to 'The Battle Of The Five Armies' and believe me this fight club of battle royales even makes '300' men look like a band of babies. Even with Katniss trying to take the arrow lead off Legolas, throwing bows, 'The Hunger Games' is starving in relation to this fall, yearly blockbuster tradition. Now from 'The Winter Soldier' start this may have been Marvel's blockbuster year in this 'Age Of Ultron', with 'Captain America', 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2', 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' (hello Gandalf) and of course the 'Guardians Of The Galaxy', you still have to make room for the shire. In this monster, big budget effects year of 'Transformers' and the 'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes'. Nothing comes close to this beast and its smouldering Smaug...not even the king 'Godzilla'. The dinosaurs of 'Jurassic World', the Terminators of 'Genyisis' and 'The Force Awakening' of 'Star Wars' has a lot to live up in 2015 as 2014 comes to a book end close. This film wraps it all up completely with a classic core of effects, emotion and epic war of magic and madness. Sure at times some silly slapstick action and unbelievable set-pieces may make it look like Michael Bay maybe snuck into the editing suite, but a more focussed, formidable finale is more forgiving and fitting. Even if at times it feels anti-climatic, because after all this and that, that came before...what wouldn't. It's still a geeks treat, for something that one day next to the 'Rings' will make for one epic, one sitting DVD night. Even the most die-hard, devoted fans have finished their 9-5, only to go straight to the cinema to watch all three, back-to back, only to surface out of the cinema at three in the morning. Now that's epic.

In the dawn of this middle earth of the dwarfs one Hobbit will rule them all. His name...Martin...or should we sat Bilbo. As Freeman shows more than Ian Holm and takes the ring (that he'll eventually give to) off Elijah Wood, this man proves the show that he can carry a massive movie for three perfect pictures. This 'Holmes' partner in crime-solving that has taken over Holm is a born-again star for more than just his 'Sherlock' show as his classic co-star Benedict Cumberbatch again provides the incredibly scorchingly sinister and scary voice of Smaug. On fire with his Oscar worthy 'Imitation Game' year that will lead to the Marvel of 'Dr. Strange'. Still even his grand growl is smoke and mirrors in reflection to how epic this dynamite, dynamic dragon looks in all its special, scaly and scary effects. Flying through town with a fire blaze of glorified, death and destruction. This is something that fans who couldn't stop turning the page to that one illustration have being wanting to feast their eyes on for decades. Speaking of old legends and Marvel mutants, there's nothing stopping the magic of Magneto as Sir Ian McKellen once again casts a classic and at times comedic spell as the grand Gandalf. One scene with the legendary 'Rings' circle of trust of Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and Christopher Lee is a remarkable redux of a reunion. Just like Orlando Bloom's growth, now entertainingly teaming up with the incredible, star of the future Evangeline Lily and the elf king Lee Pace who is camping up quite the likable, villainous year after his 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' out of this earth, breakout. The "newer" actors who are now an established part of middle-earth folklore really shine here (just check out Aidan Turner, mark these words one day he'll play late INXS rock legend Michael Hutchence) all the way down to James Nesbitt, Ken Stott and the legendary Sylvester McCoy and Stephen Fry, out of the frying pan and into Smaug's fire. Still its the man tasked with bringing down the beast, Luke Evans who really prevails after a bullseye year. Almost over the new Viggo in Richard Armitage who succumbs to "Dragon Sickness" and a healthy dose of acting ability, wandering round pools and halls of gold like Scrooge McDuck. All these nuggets pay off for a film that strikes gold even with all the coins pouring away into the block busting budget. Sure in relation to the trilogy this finale may be a little bit 'Dark Knight Rises', but in the years that come, this too will go down in legacy making legend. Perhaps its just all too bittersweet that this beautiful battalion of blockbusters is coming to a classic close. As this Hobbit puts his hairy feet up, middle earth will never quite be the same. TIM DAVID HARVEY

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