The Hobbit_Martin Freeman

Bilbo contemplates wearing the ring of power.

In the final installment of The Hobbit we start right where we left off in the previous movie, The Desolation of Smaug, in the Laketown which was set ablaze by the treacherous dragon, Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch). People were screaming and running for dear life, and it was absolute chaos. It was hard for my eyes to adjust in the beginning since I was watching this movie in 3D, and things were hyper-realistic which actually made it appear rather fake. I’ll delve more into the technical aspect and my gripes later.

Bard (Luke Evans), our “leader” for the people of Laketown, escapes the prison he was held up in and manages to get a bow and arrow. He tirelessly tries to shoot at Smaug, but to no avail. However, through one final shot (thanks to his son bringing him something with a little more oomph) Smaug is shot dead. With that, the dwarfs reclaim the mountain, but something is is wrong with Thorin (Richard Armitage), the dwarf king. He’s overcome with dragon sickness, a curse caused by the treasures within the mountain that Smaug once guarded.

The Hobbit_Gandalf

Ian McKellen reprising his role as Gandalf.

Humans and elves also seek the treasure within the mountain, but because of the dragon sickness Thorin is irrational and driven into madness. Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is secretly withholding the Arkenstone in fear that it’ll actually make Thorin even in a worse state of mind. Bilbo sneaks out at night and He doesn’t negotiate with Bard or the elves and would rather go to war over the treasure than give even one piece of gold. And so, a massive battle ensues.

Gandalf (Ian McKellen) arrives prior to the battle and warns everyone of the impending doom from an orc army that is currently on their way to the mountain. But, being the “crazy, old wizard” that he is, Thranduil (Lee Pace) the elven king, disregards Gandalf’s news. Too bad because it probably could’ve saved a lot more lives. There was carnage everywhere as the dwarves stayed huddle inside the mountain. Finally, Thorin came to his senses and joined the battle.

The Hobbit_Azog and army

Azog commands his orc army.

The orcs arrive and the battle goes into overdrive. Thorin takes a few of his best fighters up to the top of a nearby mountain to take out Azog (Manu Bennett), the orc leader. Unfortunately, some of them meet their demise. Leaders dies and the battle ends. Everyone is left to rebuild and hopefully get along for a better future for Middle Earth. Bilbo goes back to the Shire with Gandalf, and Gandalf tells Bilbo that he knows that he has a special ring. He warned our little hobbit to use the ring lightly because he doesn’t know exactly what kind of ring this could be. The movie jumps 60 years into the future and Bilbo is gray and old, which is ultimately the beginning of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and where we say goodbye to Middle Earth.

My feelings after the movie were mixed. I felt some parts were good and others not as strong. Visually, well… I do have some gripes about this aspect… I still can’t, for the life of me, get used to the combination of 48fps (frames per second) frame rate and 3D (or in HFR 3D for short). Many times it just looked fake. There’s a reason why 24fps is the magic number: it holds the suspension of belief and makes movies more believable. It felt jarring that there was very little depth of field because of the 3D and high frame rate. Everything looked like it was all the same focus. Background elements were nearly as sharp as the foreground.

The Hobbit_Thranduil

Thranduil, the Elven King.

I also felt like this series over killed it on the 3D stuff and post production. This film didn’t nearly have as many practical effects as the LOTR trilogy, which is sad. As much as I love CG and the ability to create anything on a computer, nothing can beat the realness of a practical effect or prop.

Do The Hobbit movies stand up to the Lord of the Rings trilogy? In my opinion, no, but regardless of that it’s still a beautiful movie. The art, the craftsmanship and the care that was involved in making this movie is evident. Should this book have been split into three movies? Again, no. The Hobbit would have done well as a two-part series rather than spanning one book over three movies. There just wasn’t enough source material and they even added things that weren’t in the book.

On my Crispy scale of 1 to 5, I’ll give The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies a crunchy 3.5. It’s not mind-blowingly awesome like LOTR, but it’s decent in its own right.

Photos via IMDB.