The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Music By: Howard Shore

Song By: Billy Boyd

Produced By: WaterTower Music

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the third installment of the trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkein's novel, The Hobbit, Bilbo and his friends find themselves in a battle against something even worse than a fire breathing dragon.  It's a battle to save Middle Earth from the likes of the evil Sauron, Nazgul and Orcs.  It will take man, wizard, elf, dwarf and hobbit to prevent evil from overrunning and destroying the world as they know it.

                Having created the musical score for every film in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and the first two films in The Hobbit Trilogy, it comes as no surprise that Howard Shore would find himself creating the score of the final Hobbit film.  A Canadian composer who has created musical scores for over eighty films, Shore has received the most recognition for The Lord of the Rings for which he won three Academy Awards.  Other notable film scores created by Howard Shore include The Fly, Dead-Ringers, The Silence of the Lambs, Crash, Seven and more.

                The Special Edition of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is a two-disc release, featuring thirty-three tracks and almost two hours of music.  As in the rest of the trilogy, the score features orchestra and a choir, but this film is definitely the darkest of the three movies.  As such, the main Hobbit happy-go-lucky-no-care-in-the-world theme is conspicuously missing in most of the score.  In fact, the very first time you actually hear a snippet of the theme is in the track There and Back Again, the eight track on the second disc. 

                The music is somber in parts and features loud percussion and choir during moments of grim determination by the main characters.  The louder the music gets, the more dramatic the scene.  Battles and eminent battles are defined through the use of rumbling percussion and blaring brass that become louder as the characters become closer to engagement.  At this point, we realize that our unlikely hero, Bilbo is weary from his travels, yet happy to finally be going home.  The Return Journey is a lighter piece, but features a slow starting somber theme. 

                I loved the song, The Last Goodbye, performed by Billy Boyd who fans might remember from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy as the Hobbit Pippin Took.  The song is sad, yet beautiful and the lyrics perfectly describe the film.

                The Special Edition Soundtrack features extended versions of parts of the score, including Beyond Sorrow and Grief, Guardians of Three, Ironfoot and more.  There are also a couple of bonus tracks Dragon-Sickness and Thrain, which some of you might remember from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition

                All-in-all, I have to say that The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Special Edition Soundtrack was an excellent listening experience.  I have no doubts in my mind that Howard Shore will once again be receiving accolades for the score he has created for this trilogy as a whole.  Fans of the films will love getting their hands on this album, the score helping to recreate in their minds' eye the events of the film.


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