Peter Jackson’s epic tale of the best known works of J.R.R. Tolkien has come to an end. While there are those that will find fault with The Lord of the Rings series of movies (would Tom Bombadil really have added anything?) and with the fact that The Hobbit book was turned into three movies, the final movie in the series is close to perfect.
It will be hard to talk about this movie without some high level spoilers. Nothing I will give away should be too much of a shock.
Picking up where The Desolation of Smaug left off, we find our dwarves and lone hobbit still in the mountain, searching for the Arkenstone while the evil Smaug lays waste to Laketown. After Smaug has been beaten and Laketown is in ruins, the citizens go to collect on what was promised to them, a portion of the gold since they aided Thorin and company. While this is going on, Gandalf is caged until being rescued by Galadriel, Elrond, Saruman, and Radagast. It is there that they discover that Sauron has returned. Saruman goes off to deal with Sauron and is not seen again in this film. (We can assume that while in search for Sauron, he becomes corrupted.) The bulk of the remainder of the film is spent in the shadow of the Lonely Mountain.
Martin Freeman, as Bilbo, once again shines. He has an everyman quality that comes across in just about everything that I have seen him in. His portrayal of Bilbo in this movie made him into more of an everyman that we should strive to be. He is brave and loyal… except where that blasted ring is concerned. Richard Armitage as Thorin is also strong, playing both a power hungry king and a classic hero. The relationship between Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Thranduil (Lee Pace) is a nice touch. (Some still have issue with Legolas being in The Hobbit trilogy. I do not.)
I do recommend not seeing this film in 3D, although it is spectacular. In my opinion, the 3D muted the colors. With scenery as beautiful as these movies are known for—even in the evil realms—anything that takes away from the sheer beauty is unwelcome.
The movie is being promoted using the hashtag #OneLastTime. I would personally be fine with Peter Jackson giving us a new Tolkien film every few years. I bet he could get at least four films out of The Silmarillion.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens on December 17, although select theaters are showing it, along with the other two in The Hobbit series, on December 15th. It is rated PG13 for fantasy violence.