Smaug the dragon (Benedict Cumberbatch) begins to unleash his full fury onto the villagers below, breathing fire and destroying everything in his sight. Bard (Luke Evans) attempts to slay the beast before he kills everyone. In the meantime, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) grows wary and suspicious of his friends as dragon sickness sets in. His obsession with gold leads to a standoff between the Dwarfs, Humans and Elves with war a very real prospect. From the distance, the Orc armies approach and this sets up a showdown for the very fate of Middle Earth.
It’s with a very heavy heart that we say goodbye to a film legacy that will stand the test of time. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 13 years since we were first introduced to Gandalf and company in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Now, six movies later, J.R.R. Tolkien’s entire saga has been brought vividly to life by the visionary Peter Jackson. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies brings this series to a glorious, emotionally-charged end and it delights throughout.
‘An Unexpected Journey’ may not have been the instant win we were all expecting after laying down such a high marker with the original trilogy, but ‘The Desolation Of Smaug’ more than made up for that shortfall with a blockbuster that was both captivating and hugely enjoyable. This trend continues in ‘The Battle of the Five Armies’ – a blisteringly paced action-adventure that relentlessly enthrals and leaves you on the edge of your seat. This is, in essence, one giant battle sequence that shifts focus between all of the principal players. It’s wonderfully done and always keeps you glued to the screen, thanks to breakout sequences, amazing effects and assured performances.
By now, we all know how good the cast of this trilogy are. Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Benedict Cumberbatch, Aidan Turner, Cate Blanchett, James Nesbitt, Stephen Fry and everyone else all deliver a truly memorable chapter that stays with you for long after the credits roll. It’s fantastic to see Luke Evans, Lee Pace, Richard Armitage and Evangeline Lilly play such pivotal roles this time around and they all impress greatly. Orlando Bloom also steals his scenes as the legendary Legolas, providing a glorious, binding link between the old trilogy and the new.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is a thoroughly enjoyable blockbuster that ends the Lord of the Rings legacy with appropriate spectacle, fanfare and emotional grace. Making full use of the fact that this is the far more action-heavy part of the story, Jackson has crafted a wonderful movie that delivers at every turn. It’s hard to let go of such endearing characters, involving stories and impassioned filmmaking. But thanks to its legacy, these movies will be enjoyed for generations to come. At around 20 hours, the prospect of watching all of the extended editions together in chronological order also excites and that’s where fans can seek solace after the sadness of this finale sets in. Thank you Peter Jackson for creating such game-changing, immersive cinema, with stories that resonate to one and all.