DIRECTOR: Peter Jackson
May Contain Spoilers!
Will we be adding this to our collection? YES
Short and to the point.
Not words that I would normally associate with a Peter Jackson film and certainly not where The Hobbit trilogy has been concerned. But with the whole Smaug cliffhanger from the Desolation Of Smaug all wrapped up within the first ten minutes, we finally have a movie with one real story to tell, and Jackson finally tells it in the way that we would expect an epic blockbuster to be told.
Still running at 144 minutes and taking moments to ponder, the main thrust of this, the final part of The Lord Of The Rings franchise, is now that the Dwarfs have retaken the mountain by expelling the dragon, Smaug, the rest of Middle Earth want it, or more importantly, most of them want the riches stored within, leaving the 13 dwarfs and the Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) to hold on to it.
Meanwhile, the gold poisons the dwarf king, Thorin’s mind as it had his Grandfather’s, leaving him walled up within his barren stronghold, whilst the titular Five Armies duke it out in epic fashion outside the walls. This is where the Middle Earth franchise finally becomes a blockbuster franchise, rather than just epic. The pacing is finally right, the battles are huge yet understandable and the overall tone is excitement rather than the grand metaphors which we have been spoon fed up until now. That’s not to say that I haven’t liked or even loved what has come before, because I most defiantly have.
Some characters die and with the exception of our lead villain, whose apparent death and unnecessarily ludicrous revival, are all good. The emotion is still there, yet it seems that Jackson has finally learned to rein it in just enough so that we can understand the pain of sorrow without a 45 minute scene explaining it to us, often in slow motion!
The best of the new trilogy and a real contender for a top spot overall, this is the concluding chapter of what has without a doubt been a template for how to compose a prequel trilogy; please pay attention Mr Lucas, though it’s obviously too late. The Hobbit was a stand alone franchise with strong and consistent ties to the previous Lord Of The Rings trilogy, seamlessly knitting the two together, creating a six part saga in which no part is particularly weak. They all have their ups and downs, from the dish-washing scene in the first Hobbit, to the boring and overly dragged out mountain stairs in Return Of The King, let alone the hundred endings of the same film, but this gets it all right.
One ending, and a good one to boot, strong and interesting narrative links to the later trilogy and flawless continuity. As well as dose of subtlety. This is both how you do a prequel and how you create a timeless theatrical saga. Hats off to Jackson and his crew. Sixteen years well spent.