‘Hobbit’ finale not the best, but worthwhile

Synopsis: “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is the epic conclusion of the adventures of Bilbo, Thorin and the Company of Dwarves. Having flushed the dragon Smaug from their homeland, the Company has unknowingly unleashed a deadly force into the world. Thorin, the new King Under the Mountain, is willing to sacrifice friendship and honor for the treasure as Bilbo attempts to make him see the err of his ways. This drives the Hobbit towards a desperate and dangerous choice. But there are even greater dangers that lie ahead. Unbeknownst to the company, legions of Orcs have been sent to attack the Lonely Mountain. The races of Dwarves, Elves and Men must unite or be destroyed. Bilbo finds himself battling for his life and the lives of his friends in the epic Battle of the Five Armies.

As a huge fan of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books I’ve been eagerly anticipating this last installment of the Middle Earth saga. The final film in the hobbit trilogy picks up right where the last one ended and the action starts immediately with Smaug trying to destroy the humans of Lake Town. Smaug was one of my favorite things about the last movie, so it’s unfortunate that this scene only lasts for roughly 10 minutes, but it was spectacular nonetheless. Unlike the LOTR, this story was originally supposed to be made into a two-part film but Jackson decided to stretch it into another trilogy. This film, unlike “An Unexpected Journey” and “The Desolation of Smaug,” is very sedentary. Almost the entire film takes place at, in or in front of the Lonely Mountain. Because of this “The Battle of Five Armies” didn’t really feel like it had as much story built around it as the others.

This is the problem with splitting the book into thirds; once the Dwarves take the mountain there’s not much left to tell except for the coming war. Luckily for us, huge fantasy battles are what Jackson does best.

What worked: There is a certain brilliance that we’ve come to expect from Jackson’s cinematography and picturesque landscapes, and once again he delivers. The sweeping visuals will leave you breathless and its hard to believe that all the backgrounds are not CG. The cast in this film was once again exceptional, especially Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage. The dynamic between these two is the only thing that holds your interest when there’s not a war or dragon on the screen. What Jackson really excels at, and what this movie is really all about, is the confrontation between the wood elves, men of Lake Town and Dwarves against the rising darkness of Orcs, goblins and other fowl unnamed creatures. This battle takes up the second half of the movie and the only word I have to describe it is epic.

What didn’t work: The main problem with this film was that they split the Hobbit story into thirds and there just isn’t that much plot left to sustain this film. I feel like all three of the movies would have benefited by being streamlined into two fantastic films instead of three good ones. Another part of this movie that really had no place was the love story between Tauriel the elf and Kili the dwarf. They spoke to each other all of ten minutes between two films yet were madly in love. It was totally unnecessary and really felt out of place and forced.

Overall I really enjoyed this movie and felt it was a solid finish to Peter Jackson’s journey to Middle Earth. Even though it lacks in the story department, the visuals, acting and final battle for the Lonely Mountain should leave most people happy. It wasn’t the strongest out of the three films but is still worth every penny to go see in theaters. Which leaves me to give this holiday blockbuster a 7.5 out of 10 rating.