Peter Jackson's expanded take on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit comes to a conclusion in a battle epic packed with enormous action sequences that oddly distract attention from the much more engaging central plotline. By the time it thunders to its satisfying conclusion after nearly two and a half hours, there's a sense of balance restored, providing some powerfully emotional moments along with the thrills. But there's a lot of chaotic mayhem to get through first.
The action picks up immediately, as the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) roars into Laketown causing further desolation before being stopped by the heroic Bard (Luke Evans), who then leads the survivors back to their long-abandoned city in the mountains. Meanwhile, dwarf king Thorin (Richard Armitage) has reclaimed his throne and Smaug's enormous stash of gold, which consumes his soul with greed. But he abandons his promises to Bard and the elf leader Thranduil (Lee Pace), who assembles the elf army against him. So Thorin calls in a dwarf battalion to take them on. Meanwhile, the hobbit Bilbo (Martin Freeman) is trying to diffuse the situation and snap Thorin out of his avaricious funk. And wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) discovers that two waves of ruthless orcs are descending on Thorin.
All of this strategising and squaring-off feels fragmented and uneven, as Jackson cuts back and forth between the sprawling ensemble cast while trying to build momentum toward the earth-rattling collision of these five armies. Thankfully, there's also a lot of interpersonal stuff going on to hold the interest. Elf warrior Legolas (Orlando Bloom) is still caught up in a romantic triangle with his intended Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and her forbidden love, the unusually hot dwarf Kili (Aidan Turner). And there's some comic relief from Alfrid (Ryan Gage), a weaselly human who worms his way into Bard's inner circle for some inexplicable reason. Best of all is the push and pull between Bilbo and Thorin, which is very nicely played by Freeman and Armitage.
Continue reading: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Review
Ahead of the release of 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies', Lee Pace, Evangeline Lilly and Orlando Bloom discussed a bit about their characters: Thranduil, Tauriel and Legolas, respectively. In the interview, the three Mirkwood Elves discuss the process of filming the new trilogy, as well as some of their favourite moments from the production. They then answer questions about items and props that they either kept or wanted to keep, as well as what went into the rigorous stunt training for the fight scenes before the filming began.
Evangeline Lilly and Lee Pace - Photographs from the red carpet at the Los Angeles premiere of the third movie in the Hobbit trilogy "The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies" which was held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, United States - Wednesday 10th December 2014
Evangeline Lilly and Lee Pace - Shots of the stars of the third in the Hobbit trilogy 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies'as they arrive at the Los Angeles premiere which was held at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, California, United States - Tuesday 9th December 2014
Andy Serkis, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Peter Jackson, Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood and Lee Pace - Director Peter Jackson to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME - Hollywood, California, United States - Monday 8th December 2014
Andy Serkis, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Peter Jackson, Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood and Lee Pace - Director Peter Jackson honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME - Hollywood, California, United States - Monday 8th December 2014
Lee Pace - Shots from the World Premiere of 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' the final film in the trilogy as stars arrived at the Odeon Leicester Square in London, United Kingdom - Monday 1st December 2014