It was a long (emphasis on long) journey through middle earth, but the finale of Peter Jackson’s prequel trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous novel finally came. The first installment saw the titular Hobbit (Martin Freeman) leaving his peaceful home to journey with dwarves to reclaim their kingdom from the evil dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). It was a little slow paced, but it was satisfying to any fantasy film fan. Last year’s part two was perhaps the most satisfying, with the dwarves enlisting the help of Soldiers Elves (Orlando Bloom and Evangeline Lily) to fend off evil creatures and finally confront the dragon.
But while Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug managed to live up to the hype. In many ways, The Battle of Five Armies does not. The film is certainly filled with invigorating action sequences as its title suggests, but lost is the sense of adventure or even the sense of story created by the other two. The trilogy spends two movies building up a central plot then rids itself of it in the first five minutes of this final installment. And other elements that aren’t in the novel, like the forbidden romance between Evangeline Lily’s Tauriel and one of the dwarves, is shoved in our faces throughout as if it’s been built up for more than twenty minutes in the previous film.
There are huge fans of Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth movies, and there are those who have no interest in them at all. I’d like to think of myself as somewhere in between. I don’t know what purists will think about this last hurrah, but the casual fan will find it enjoyable enough. As far as visuals go, the film is certainly no let down, it just would’ve been nice if the end felt like a satisfying end to an overall ark. Perhaps instead of stretching Tolkien’s shortest novel into a trilogy, they should’ve given us two great films instead of three decent ones.
FINAL GRADE: B-