Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit is done. I say it that way because it’s more Jackson than author J.R.R. Tolkien. Gratefully, the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies puts a final end to Jackson’s bastardization of Tolkien’s classic book.
The last film opens where the second left off. The dragon Smaug is attacking Lake-town. When the smoke clears, the dragon is dead and Bilbo Baggins, Thorin and his dwarf companions succeed in their quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and its mounds of gold and treasure.
Hanging onto the mountain is problematic, as an army of men and elves demand their cut of the treasure and as armies of Orcs and other evil entities push their way toward our heroes with conquest on their minds.
As with most fantasy movies, there is — of course — lots and lots of action.
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Of the three movies, The Battle of the Five Armies is the best. That’s not saying much. The entire series has been a complete disaster. At least in this one, something happens. You can’t say that for parts one and two.
Themes of the wonder and magic of friendship and forgiveness permeate the final installment. So does the theme of the consequences of greed. It’s kind of fitting and the irony is — no doubt — lost on Jackson and his three co-writers. While admittedly this one is pretty good, The Hobbit should have been one movie.
Or two at the most.
What suffers — and suffered — most in Jackson’s take is the tone of the book. Tolkien’s book is short, sweet, to the point and packed with characters you grow to know and love. Dragging the movie out to three films over three years made it ponderous. Character development that normally is enhanced with length suffers because of the detour to and the focus on Lord of the Rings material.
And why push what likely could have been two great movies into three? Greed. What other reason could there be? To stretch things out, Jackson is forced to add storylines that didn’t exist in the books and made you wonder whether he was doing The Hobbit or reworking The Lord of the Rings.
While satisfying, the last movie in the series has you asking that question too.