Summary: After Smaug departs the Lonely Mountain, the inhabitants of Laketown see an impending threat coming. Legion of Orcs, Dwarves, Elves and Men prepare for war. Bilbo and company see Thorin losing his mind and they try to help. Meanwhile, Gandalf is rescued from the Necromancer’s prison in Dol Guldur and his rescuers realize who the Necromancer is.
The beginning of the movie begins with Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) flying to the town on the long lake and raining fire on the helpless citizens. Smaug is Jackson’s greatest masterpiece. I am including the CGI of Gollum & Shelob. Smaug is better than both combined in appearance and construction. That voice by Benedict Cumberbatch is truly spine chilling and he instills fear in the hearts of men. My heart was truly instilled with fear after watching the movie three times in the cinema. Every words and utterance that leaves these scaly creatures mouth is quotable. The line that comes to mind from this movie is “Who are you that would stand against me…what will you do now Bowman?” Casting Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug was a killer move by Peter Jackson. They could not have cast anyone better. The casting for the whole trilogy was truly exceptional, nobody could have done it better.
Richard Armitage was a relatively obscure name before The Hobbit Trilogy. His only other major credit was in BBC’s Robin Hood. His portrayal of Thorin Oakenshield was truly inspirational and sensational. His acting prowess was amplified one hundred times in this movie than in the previous movies. The scene where we see Thorin’s mind at work over the sheer amount of gold in the Mountain was a sight to be hold. Thorin is in the halls and his mind is playing tricks on him. He is thinking about his father and his grandfather and how they both went mad; Thráin over grief for the death of his father Thrór and Thrór went mad over the gold he had hoarded for years. Thorin begins to psychologically compare himself to his grandfather. We then see Thorin’s hallucinations. He is standing on a golden floor with Smaug slithering in his serpent-like manner underneath the floor. Thorin is beginning to experience the full effects of Dragon-Sickness.
Bilbo’s (Martin Freeman) development from the Desolation Of Smaug to the final installment is great. He is not the same hobbit that left Bag-End for sure. He is gained much life experience and seeing the world for what it is.
“The world is not in your books and maps, it’s out there”
Gandalf To Bilbo
Bilbo has taken Gandalf’s wise words in good stead and seen the world for what it is. It’s a dangerous place full of enemies but also many friends as well. He has enjoyed the company of elves, men and dwarves but encountered the odd orc or two and goblin among the way, played riddles with Gollum and fought in a battle. Bilbo is much changed and for the better. Bilbo’s Baggins nature comes out when he hides the Arkenstone from Thorin. His Tookish side is the love for adventure but the Baggins side is the reserved and caring in nature. He hides it from Thorin and gives it to Thranduil & Bard. He does this for the greater good and for Thorin’s wellbeing.
He is taken with elves after having conversation with Lord Elrond but the statement that I most find reminiscent of Tolkien is “I’ve heard that it’s unwise to seek the counsel of elves, for they will answer both yes and no” This is a quote said by Frodo in the books and we see how taken Bilbo is with the elves when he returns to The Valley Of Imladris at the beginning of Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring shortly after his birthday party.
Lord Elrond, Lady Galadriel & Saruman are minor protagonists in the trilogy but what little we do see of them is a spectacle. The Mis-En-Scene of Dol-Guldur is truly amazing and the quality and effort that has gone into this is otherworldly. The fight between Elrond, Saruman & ‘The Nine’ is great. I admit that the trilogy has so much CGI. This fazed a lot of diehard Tolkien elitists but this did not faze me at all because in order to have great film based on this epic fantasy world, the makers have to make sacrifices that will displease many people. The major CGI uses that displeased people were that of Azog The Defiler, Bolg & Dain II Ironfoot. On the other hand I really liked the CGI, especially in the 3D format. I had the opportunity to see the movie three times and saw it twice in 2D and once in 3D. The 3D viewing stuck with me more than the 2D. In Dol Guldur, Lady Galadriel goes full dark wizard sorcery mode and even gives Sauron (Benedict Cumberbatch) a run for his money. Manu Bennet’s (Arrow) voice and motion capture performance as Azog is career defining stuff. Many would not know it is him unless they looked it up on the IMDB page. The Black Speech, not only in this movie but in all the movies was truly astonishing. The voice gave me chills.
Luke Evans was a bold move. I was not entirely convinced by his character in The Desolation Of Smaug because in that movie he seemed a lot more like Bard The Smuggler rather than Bard The Bowman. Then I saw him take down Smaug with a broken bow and arrow. This when I thought this was a good casting because we saw more of his character unfold into something great. Bard’s son, Bain, leaves his sisters with Tauriel (Evangeline Lily) to give his father a black arrow to take down Smaug. Smaug destroys the tower in which Bard is standing on and his bow with it. Therefore, he has to construct a bow with two ends spiked into the leftovers over tower but the string is still intact. He has to perch the arrow on Bain’s shoulder and fire the arrow using his shoulder as a sort of prop. This scene is a very intimate father/son moment when feeling such as trust are put to the limit. Another instance of when Bard puts his trust in faith in his son is when Dale is being sacked by Orcs and he instills the duty of protecting his sisters to Bain.
In The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, Peter Jackson explored the relationships of: Aragorn with Arwen & Éowyn, Frodo & Sam, Bilbo & Frodo, Legolas & Gimli and Théoden & Eowyn to name a few. These are all relationships between friends or uncle and niece or spouses. This is the first time that Jackson ever dabbled in the relationship between a father and son. Frodo & Bilbo are like parent and child but it’s his uncle whom he was adopted by but they had the bond that parents should have with their child but they were not that relation in the context of lineage.
It simply would not be a Middle Earth movie without Mithrandir. I needn’t explain Gandalf. Gandalf is Bilbo’s mentor and a father of a sort. He looks up to him; physically and metaphorically. He leaves the company at the edge of Mirkwood in The Desolation Of Smaug to complete a side quest of getting himself captured but in the process instructs Radagast to send word to Lady Galadriel for aid at Dol Guldur. He goes in knowing it is a trap. In The Battle Of The Five Armies he is in the elven camp attempting to make Thranduil see sense. Ian McKellen’s performance was just as in Lord Of The Rings. Magical.
I must admit that I care not for the romantic love triangle between Legolas, Tauriel & Kili. It was there but unlike book elitists, it did not faze me one iota. I liked the addition of Tauriel & Legolas into the story but I did not like that they made Legolas main protagonist as he was not in the book. Being Prince Of The Woodland Realm, he would have undoubtedly been at the battle but not as a main character. He should not have killed Bolg. I believe that should have been done by Beorn as that is how it is in the book to. Beorn killing Bolg is a small victory for his folk because he is the spawn of Azog The Defiler. Azog enslaved his people, the skinchangers. In the book it is a very emotional scene for his character. He could not kill Azog because he was busy with Thorin so he settles for the next best thing. Beorn could have done with more screen time of killing orcs like a badass. I await this in the extended edition.
The sheer scale of the battle was colossal. I believe the battle outranks that of the Battle Of Pelenor Fields in The Return Of The King. It was amazing. We start off with elves at the gates of Erebor with a few men. Then Dain’s army of dwarves from the Iron Hills turn up. After that Azog turns up with a legion of Orcs with another army coming from Gundabad. Not to forget to mention the bats from Angmar and Radgast & Beorn leading an army of eagles. It was flawless. It had great special and visual effects.
I believed the ending did Tolkien’s legacy justice. The destruction of Thorin, Fili & Kili was just, and had book readers and film watchers alike blubbering in cinemas. Plus Bilbo’s crying over Thorin’s body was heartfelt and very emotional as well, not just for him but for audiences too. After the battle, he heads back to the Shire and he lives there for sixty years. This brings us to the beginning of The Lord Of The Rings. Another good reference is when Legolas says he could not go back to The Woodland Realm and Thraduil tells him to go North and find a man of the Dúnedain called Strider.
We all know this to be the famous Aragorn son of Arathorn. Another Tolkien reference is when Thorin is on his deathbed and he says to Bilbo “If more of us valued home above gold, it would be a merrier world” rather than the original quote which was “If more of us valued food and cheer above hoarded gold it would be a merrier world” Nonetheless it showed that Thorin has changed as a character and he defied the whole archetype of dwarves by setting aside his greed and lust of power for great things such as friendship.
In conclusion, I say that Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy truly is epic, even if it does not correlate directly with the source material and the addition of characters who were not in the books or part of Tolkien’s world altogether. I say watch these movies for all of time. Do not compare to the books because there are major changes but allow it to be the great movies that are. Watch these films for the awesome cinema value. Also, the score was phenomenal. Howard Shore never fails to impress with his awesome original score.
The Battle Of The Hobbit Trilogy Is Over; The Marathon Of Ages Is About To Begin.