Directed by Peter Jackson
Based on the novel The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein
Written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian Holm, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Christopher Lee, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch
After awakening Smaug (Cumberbatch), Bilbo (Freeman) and Company are forced into battle to prevent him from destroying all of Middle Earth. This battle may only be the beginning, as armies gather in anticipation of the rewards that might come if Smaug is defeated.
This is the third and final film in Peter Jackson’s trilogy based on the book The Hobbit. As with The Lord of the Rings, this series brings the world of J.R.R. Tolkein to life. The screenplay was written by a team that includes Jackson, Guillermo del Toro (Cronos), Fran Walsh (King Kong), and Philippa Boyens (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King).
The cast for this movie is massive, including a number of talented actors. Martin Freeman (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) and Ian McKellen (X-Men: Days of Future Past) lead the way in this one. The cast also features Richard Armitage (Captain America: The First Avenger), Christopher Lee (Hugo), Ian Holm (The Madness of King George), and Orlando Bloom (Kingdom of Heaven). Rounding out the list are Evangeline Lilly (The Hurt Locker), Lee Pace (Guardians of the Galaxy), Cate Blanchett (The Talented Mr. Ripley), and Benedict Cumberbatch (12 Years a Slave).
The final installment of this epic series is a nicely written story. The action is definitely at the forefront of this film. While the writing gives the action and the heroes their great moments, there is a lack of sentimentality. With the Lord of the Rings series, there was an emotional connection that tied up the loose ends nicely in the final movie. While some of those loose ends are wrapped up in this movie, I think that the film could’ve done more. The early moments of the film also seem to take some time to get a consistent pace. Still, the overall execution of this movie is great. Despite my issues, this movie has enough great moments to keep things going.
The acting in this movie is pretty great. Freeman does an excellent job with his leading role. He manages to bring out the emotional beats of every scene he’s in. Ian McKellen is also great, reprising his role as Gandalf for the final time. Armitage also has some great moments. Without naming everyone, this movie has a number of great performances. The cast seemed to grasp the emotions of the film and really bring that into their performances. This is great since the film features so many battles, fights, and action that the emotion could get lost. The acting doesn’t leave anything wanting in this one.
The movie is a visual masterpiece, bringing Jackson’s Middle Earth to life perfectly. The visuals create a unique series of locations for the final battles to be fought. The characters are all nicely designed as well. Between makeup, costuming, and digital effects, the people of Middle Earth are unique and awesome. The work done to bring Smaug to life is also impressive. Overall, this is a visual spectacular that keeps in line with Jackson’s work on the other films in the series. The visuals aren’t the only aspects of this movie worth noting. Howard Shore brought this movie to life with his score. Like the other movies, the score is a wonderful accent to the action.
For fans of the series, this is a fitting end. This movie might have some issues, but when looked at as the final act of an epic journey, it pays off nicely. The movie might have benefited from a little more time, but it’s still a great adventure. I would definitely suggest this to fans of the books or the previous films. I give this one 4.3 out of 5 stars.