The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the third Hobbit film, continuing from where the second film ends. The inhabitants of Laketown are in turmoil as the dragon Smaug (voice of Benedict Cumberbatch) descends on the town and sets it ablaze. Luckily for Laketown’s inhabitants, Bard the bowman (Luke Evans), who was imprisoned at the end of the second Hobbit film frees himself from his cell and with longbow in hand climbs to the top of Laketown’s bell tower. With help from his young son Bain (John Bell), Bard manages to fire a giant black arrow into Smaug’s vulnerable underbelly, killing the dragon which plummets into the lake.
Meanwhile, the dwarves – led by Thorin (Richard Armitage) and Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) – have been watching from the dwarf fortress atop Lonely Mountain and witness the destruction of Smaug. They barricade themselves in Lonely Mountain in anticipation of being besieged by all who seek the riches hoarded there.
Bilbo worries that Thorin’s sanity is affected by greed for gold and an obsession with finding the Arkenstone. The dwarf Kili (Aidan Turner) and the elves Legalos (Orlando Bloom) and Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) head to Lonely Mountain to join up with the others.
Meanwhile, Gandalf the wizard (Ian Mckellen), who has been imprisoned by Sauron in the evil fortress of Dol Goldur, is in dire straits at the hands of the Orcs. Unexpectedly the elf queen Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), the elf king Elron (Hugo Weaving) and the Wizard Saruman come to the rescue.
Within in a short space of time two separate Orc armies – one led by the vicious King Azog (Manu Bennett), and the other by Azog’s lieutenant Bolg (John Tui) – are marching towards the Lonely Mountain intent on wiping out the dwarves, elves and Laketown survivors. The scene is thus set for a tremendous battle.
Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.
Fantasy and the supernatural; war; self-sacrifice
Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies contains extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, mass destruction, and the depiction of multiple deaths, including the violent deaths of lead characters. The depiction of violence is less intense that that seen in the Lord of the Rings trilogy with the depiction of blood and gore minimal. There are, however, some disturbing scenes of death. Examples include:
- Smaug the dragon attacks Laketown, spewing out flames and incinerating a large section of the town. Buildings collapsing with rubble falling on people and we see people engulfed in flames and screaming and running in an attempt to escape.
- The dragon is shot in its underbelly with a giant arrow and falls on to a building, causing mass destruction and then on to a boat on the lake, killing the boat’s crew.
The Battle of the Five Armies is intense, with Orcs impaled on spears, throats slashed and beheadings. Trolls are shot multiple times in the chest and throat with arrows and stabbed by swords. At one point an elf riding a stag sweeps up ten Orcs on the stag’s antlers and then with one swipe of his sword beheads all ten. At one point we see hundreds of slaughtered elves lying on the ground and a distressed elf standing over their dead bodies.
- The film contains several scenes depicting gigantic fierce trolls some of which have catapults and orcs attached to their backs; the orcs fire the catapults which destroy section of a fortresses wall.
- In a couple of scene we see terrified young children threatened by Orcs with a young boy killing several Orcs by stabbing them in the stomach with a sword.
- In one of the film’s more brutal scenes, a dwarf is slowly impaled through the back by a brutal looking Orc and his body is then thrown off a cliff.
- In one of the films more emotionally intense scenes, a distressed Bilbo Baggins holds a dying dwarf in his arms; some blood is depicted on the dwarf’s chest and Bilbo’s face.
- A flock of giant eagles attack an army of Orcs, snatching the Orcs up with their talons flying up into the air and then dropping them.
- In one scene wizards and elves battle against nine demonic ghost-like creatures (Nazgul). The scene contains lots of sword fighting with the Nazgul, who can reanimate themselves, being repeatedly killed. They are stabbed, slashed with swords, bashed with wooden staffs and thrown off mountain tops and we see Nazgul convulsing on the ground after being stabbed.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has scenes of scary characters and transformations in this movie that could disturb children under the age of five, including the following:
- Smaug the dragon is a very scary gigantic winged, vampire-like creature with glowing red eyes, a mouth full of enormous fangs and claws. The dragon speaks using a powerful menacing voice and in one scene threatens a young boy by telling the boy’s father that the boy will burn.
- While many of the dwarves have a comical appearance, some younger children may find their appearance scary with some dwarves having large bulbous noses and outrageous beards and hair styles. In some scenes the dwarves wear armour and carry savage looking weapons.
- The film contains numerous scenes depicting large armies of armoured orcs that carry a variety of gruesome medieval weapons. The orcs have a demonic appearance with mouths full of pointy teeth and bodies and faces covered in gruesome scars and cuts.
- In one scene an elf queen while battling evil forces transforms briefly into a dark witch-like character her white dress transforming into black tattered rags, her blond hair turning black and her voice taking on a dark, threatening, menacing tone.
Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.
Children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes.
Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned
In a couple of scenes a man dresses as a woman to avoid having to fight.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There is some use of substances in this movie, including:
- A couple of scenes depict a wizard hold and smoking a pipe.
- A couple of glasses of wine are poured but not drunk, and we see a wagon containing some jars of wine.
Nudity and sexual activity
There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:
- Some mild flirting occurs between a dwarf and an elf woman; the elf woman is in love with the dwarf. In one scene the dwarf hands the elf woman a small stone as a symbol of his betrothal to her and she refers to love as being painful.
None of concern
The film contains mild coarse language and some name calling.
Ideas to discuss with your children
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the third and final instalment in the Hobbit series. It is an action fantasy targeted at teens and adults, particularly fans of the previous Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films. This film has a much higher body count than the previous two, with some of the deaths being brutal and emotionally disturbing. It is not recommended for children under 13 with parental guidance strongly recommended for the 13-15 age group.
The main messages from this movie are:
- Love can be painful to endure.
- Wealth can generate greed and be destructive, destroying friendships.
Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:
- Selflessness: Throughout the film Bilbo Baggins performs selfless acts at the risk of his own life and constantly puts the welfare of other before his own.
- Friendship: The dwarves constantly demonstrate the value and strength of their friendship towards each other.
- Courage: Throughout the film many characters demonstrate courage and courageous acts.
Parents may also wish to discuss the fact that Bilbo Baggins steals, lies and betrays for the greater good. Are there instances when doing something wrong is justified? In what circumstances could this apply?