Note: The following review is based on the Special Edition version of the soundtrack
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Soundtrack by Howard Shore (2014)
Get it: If you enjoy the previous music of this franchise from Howard Shore
Don’t get it: If you were hoping for something simple in nature
It all started with The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Howard Shore captivated audiences worldwide with his enchanting music that put us in a place we never thought we could go. After receiving numerous accolades, including some Academy Awards, Shore has reentered this world for the trilogy of films collectively known as The Hobbit. After all these years, this era is coming to an end. On December 17th, the last film in the franchise will hit theaters. This will, as of now, be our last chance to go with Shore one more time to Tolkien’s world.
There is no delay with this beginning. The opening track throws you right into the action. In fact, this opening track could very well be placed at the climax of other films and it would work very well. The varieties and changes early on really help to pull you in.
Now, this is Howard Shore we’re talking about. He’s legendary and is not going to disappoint. Don’t expect skimpy tracks – all of his are substantial. In fact, this soundtrack has some significant length to it, but you may not know how long it is just by listening since the time goes by so quickly. The strings, woodwinds, brass – all of it as just as good as ever. At times this soundtrack is strong and powerful, but still yet it can be gentle and soft when called for. There is never really a dull moment. Action-styled music is a large focus with this one, so fans of the action-leaning side of the LOTR soundtrack should absolutely love this. Part of what makes this OST so good is how Shore masterfully combines a splash of the old with the new. There are numerous elements that are instantly recognizable, but there are also plenty of new things Shore does to keep pushing the boundaries of the musical world he created. The intensity he captured here and emotions he expresses are quite great. Howard Shore outdid himself here, and that’s saying a lot.
After all of the intensity seems to be over toward the end, there is a peace on the rise. Something familiar plays. But how long does this peaceful familiarity last? Something is indicating that all is not well. But, having shown that, it does end gracefully as it closes the door to one of the most iconic film soundtrack franchises ever composed. Thank you, Howard Shore, for all of the effort you have put forth and hard work you’ve done to help people escape, even beyond the theater, through your music.
Also note that Billy Boyd’s singing to the track “The Last Goodbye” was a very nice touch to the ending.
Here are two clips from the soundtrack:
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