The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
What began with An Unexpected Journey ends in an altogether expected fashion, as Peter Jackson wraps up his frequently misguided three-part adaptation of The Hobbit with basically no (pleasant) surprises and most of the same weaknesses that plagued both ...Journey and The Desolation of Smaug. There is a smattering of fantasy fun amid the po-faced gloom, though. On a minute-by-minute basis, The Battle of the Five Armies – by far the shortest of Jackson's Middle Earth films – is the most solid entry of this prequel trilogy.
When you throw every dollar, dwarf, and pig-riding Billy Connolly at the wall, some of it is bound to stick (the CGI acrobatics of pretty-boy archer Legolas, however, are rotten and always have been). Still, one particular ominous line in the film sticks out as relevant to Jackson’s erratic cinematic venture: “Don’t underestimate the evil of gold”. Three films rather than one may have brought in more cash, but the artistic justification has never made itself pronounced in the works themselves, and a rigorous shape to each chapter has been sorely lacking.
Like bland Bilbo, a passenger rather than a protagonist in his own film series, audiences have been herked and jerked around in favour of whatever tangent Jackson’s been especially preoccupied with; brace yourself for a lot of Ryan Gage’s comic relief coward in this one.
On the plus side, the post-credits sequence called The Lord of the Rings is really good.