“It’s over. It’s done.” That sums up my feelings about the final part of the Tolkien saga that Peter Jackson set out to create. It’s been a long and winding journey, but it’s been a great one.
The film starts right away with Smaug laying waste to Lake Town. And I’m not just talking about some damage; the whole town is leveled. He has a one-on-one conversation with Bard, the town’s last hope. He’s descended from the man who was able to remove one of the mighty dragon’s scales, so, thanks to inheritance and prophecy and all that jazz, Bard has to kill Smaug. And he does. The dragon, the mighty, fearful, ferocious, winged death, dies before the secondary title pops up on the screen. So, basically, five minutes into the film.
The rest of the film centers around Thorin’s slow descent into insanity, due to dragon sickness. See, since Smaug lives in the dwarves’ mountain for so long, he pretty much infected the place with an intense lust for gold. And I mean intense. Thorin goes back on his word. Dwarves never go back on their word. It’s a dwarven sin. He seeks the Arkhenstone, the crown jewel of the dwarf treasure. Bilbo took it as his share of the treasure, and keeps it from Thorin.
Bilbo uses it as a bargaining chip to prevent war between the dwarves, elves, and men. Which, in theory, would have been absolutely brilliant. But nooooooo. Thorin nearly kills Bilbo, and banishes him from the Lonely Mountain. Thorin also sent word that he would need help, so his cousin, Dain, shows up with a massive army. It’s looking like the war to end all wars.
Then the Orc armies show up. This makes the elves, men, and dwarves band together to prevent evil from taking over the mountain and the land. Because if there’s one thing everyone hates, it’s an Orc.
So the battle of four armies begins. When it appears that all is lost, the Eagles appear, bringing with them Radagast and Beorn, who, in my favorite part, rolls off the back of an Eagle and turns into a bear midfall. Nothing is cooler than watching a giant bear just destroy Orcs.
Thorin, Kili, Fili, and Dwalin ride forth to take out Azog the Defiler, from his perch on Raven Hill. Bilbo realizes it’s a trap, so he follows them, using the Ring to slide past the entire battle. Legolas and Tauriel also ride to Raven Hill, knowing that basically, the dwarves went on a suicide mission.
Fili is slaughtered by Azog in front of Thorin and Dwalin. Kili sees his brother’s dead body fall before him, sending him into berserker mode. Kili is able to kill several Orcs, and Tauriel helps him try to take down Bolg, the second in command of the Orc army. Unfortunately, Kili is killed by Bolg in front of Tauriel. Legolas sees this and is finally able to kill him.
Azog and Thorin have their final battle on the frozen river, and it’s probably one of the best one-on-one fights in the film. Azog impales Thorin, but Thorin finally kills Azog, avenging all of dwarf-kind. Bilbo is able to comfort Thorin as he goes.
While the whole epic battle is going on, Saruman, Elrond, and Galadriel take on the ghosts who will later become Ringwraiths, with Galadriel busting out her total BAMF move of banishing them and Sauron to Mordor. This pretty much sets up the previous Lord of the Rings series.
After the battle ends, and the Orcs are all dead, Thranduil faces Legolas and tells him to seek out a Ranger by the name of Strider. Again, setting up the first trilogy.
Bilbo returns home, to find that his hole is being raided by the rest of Bag End, due to the fact that he’s been missing for 30 months. The film ends with Old Bilbo playing with his Ring as he stares at his memoir. There’s a knock at the door. It’s Gandalf, arriving in time for Bilbo’s eleventy-first birthday.
While I do love the effects and all of the additional characters that Jackson included, the entire film is based on two pages from the book. Two hours and fifteen minutes, from two pages. If you want story, just stick with the first two movies. But if you want the whole package wrapped up with a neat bow, then by all means, GO SEE THIS MOVIE.
Something great that I noticed were the extras. Jackson included people of color into the residents of Lake Town. It’s the first time I’ve seen non-European people worked into an epic fantasy saga, and I want more.
A fitting end to a series I dove into the winter of my sixth grade, I give The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies 8.5 Arkhenstones out 0f 10.