And with that, I am officially Tolkien’d out.
Oh, it’s been a fun ride for the most part. The characters were interesting; the set designs were massive; the battle scenes were massive; the dragon was cool; Gollum was creepy, oh — and the giant spiders — also creepy; the special effects were fantastic; and giant, talking trees long before Groot.
Sure, it went on too long and dragged in places — many, many places — but overall Peter Jackson made me care about Middle Earth far more than J.R.R. Tolkien ever did. I only made it one-third of the way through “The Hobbit” as a book and never bothered to pick up the rest of the series. I made it through all six movies — even the extended editions.
Still, I’m done. If I never see another Hobbit, Orc or people marching single file through the gorgeous scenery of New Zealand, I’ll be fine.
Which brings us at long last to “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” the third movie in a series based on one book — a book that I’ve been assured by someone who read it all the way through didn’t need to be turned into a trilogy.
When last we left Middle Earth, hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his dwarf buddies have majorly upset Smaug the dragon (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose been living on a big pile of gold in what was formerly the dwarves’ castle. Smaug flies out to set fire to nearby Laketown but is quickly dispatched so we can get on to The Battle of the Five Armies (although to be honest I only counted four).
With Smaug out of the way, dwarf leader Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) becomes obsessed with the dragon’s gold. When human and elf representatives show up wanting their share, Thorin refuses which sets the stage for battle. Meanwhile, the orcs who have been dogging Bilbo and company throughout the story have now arrived en masse to make it an even bigger fight.
Elsewhere, the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) has been setting things up for the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy before making his way to the Lonely Mountain to help with the battle.
If you’ve stuck with the series until now then you know what to expect from this final chapter (I covered most of it in paragraph two). Hobbit 3 is much better than 1, about on par with 2, and a satisfying ending for the series. It’s more action-packed and there are some really thrilling action sequences.
It’s also the shortest of Jackson’s Tolkien movies, clocking in at a measly (for Jackson) 144 minutes. There are still plenty of scenes that go on too long but for the most part it moves briskly for a film in this series.