Possible spoilers ahead!
In the latest video travel guide for New Zealand, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” the story picks up right after Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his company of dwarves have successfully driven the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) out from the Lonely Mountain, only for Smaug to take revenge by raining fire down on the citizens of Lake-town.
Noy long after, Thorin then becomes stricken with “dragon sickness” while he searches for the Arkenstone within the vast treasure rooms of Erebor, causing him to grow mad with power, paranoid, and unwilling to uphold the deal that he struck with Bard (Luke Evans) and his people.
Meanwhile, Azog the Defiler (Manu Bennett) leads his army of Orcs toward the Lonely Mountain, while King Thranduil (Lee Pace) leads his own army of Elves there in order to claim his own part of the treasure. And then… nah. That would be telling.
For the record: I haven’t read any of the J. R. R. Tolkien books. And for many reasons, I would not consider myself a fan of the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings trilogy or the first two Hobbit movies. I’m sorry, I know a ton people love these movies, but there’s just so many times I can watch people walking to a mountain.
So why did I pay to see this movie in theatres? Because the wifey loves these things, and it was her turn to choose. However, I’m pleased to report “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is a damn impressive flick.
The film has wall-to-wall action which I liked. The movie also has very little in the form of explanatory dialogue compared to the other Middle-Earth movies, and mercifully (and best of all), Five Armies only has one ending.
I have no doubt die-hard fans will have problems with “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” and I’m not trying to say its a perfect movie either (it’s not). Some of the CGI could have used a bit more time here an there, and a little more Smaug would have been nice. And yes, this does feel like the second part of a movie. But Battle of the Five Armies does a good job serving as the conclusion to director Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movie trilogy, and as the bridge to his Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The bottom line for me is this: For once I left the theatre happy after seeing a Peter Jackson Middle-Earth movie. In fact, I was left wanting more. So please Warner Bros. can we get a Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) road trip movie?
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” final score: 8