I thoroughly enjoyed this film from start to finish, and it is the perfect conclusion to an incredible trilogy. The excitement of the film started straight away with the rampage and swift death of Smaug, which was a great way to maintain the continuity between films, picking straight up on the suspense left at the end of the second film. The film quickly moves the story along and everything is set up for the big battle around the hour mark. An immense war then ensues, which the end of, pretty much concludes the film. It is without any doubt that this is a big budget show with epic battle scenes, impressive armour and weaponry, and glorious all-encompassing shots which unequivocally confirm this. Being objective, the soundtrack was as strong as in the previous films, the acting superb in many cases and the shots were predictably epic. As effects go I particularly enjoyed Thorin’s dragon sickness sequence and Legolas’ fight with Bolg.
I was perhaps a little disappointed at the unnecessary additions Peter Jackson has made to the story; the love triangle between Tauriel, Kili and Legolas just to add an extra level of emotional sensationalism, the earth eaters that only show up to dig holes then disappear, and mention of Legolas’ mother and that of Aragorn, which as nice as it is to have a reference to the LOTR trilogy, doesn’t seem viable in the timeline. The other thing that I didn’t especially like was the lack of dialogue for many of the dwarves. The trilogy is about the journey of 13 dwarves, however there is a clear divide between main and sub characters and as far as I remember only Thorin, Balin, Dwalin, Bofur, Fili, and Kili have lines in the film, which totally destroyed any chance of character development.
As a summary, this is a fitting finish to the Hobbit series. Serious fans of Tolkien’s work may be annoyed at some points, but overall it is everything you expect and more. It doesn’t push any boundaries or ask any questions but is true to the intentions of the original story.
4 and a half Armies out of 5
by Lester J. Cupples