Peter Jackson takes cues from the appendices of The Lord of the Rings to expand New Line Cinema's Hobbit adaptation with this third film completing the epic tale of Bilbo Baggins, as played by Martin Freeman. The story opens to find the vengeful dragon Smaug (voice of Benedict Cumberbatch) decimating the peaceful hamlet of Laketown as Bilbo, Thorin (Richard Armitage) and the rest of the dwarves lay claim to the Lonely Mountain. But their celebration is short-lived as Thorin grows obsessed with finding the Arkenstone. Meanwhile, Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) Elrond (Hugo Weaving) and Saruman (Christopher Lee) battle the Nazgul in an attempt to free Gandalf (Ian McKellen), and get some unexpected help from eccentric wizard Radagast (Sylvester McCoy). Unfortunately for all involved the struggle has only just begun, because as armies of dwarves, elves, orcs, humans and goblins converge at the base of the Lonely Mountain, the fight for the future of Middle Earth begins. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi
Director: Peter Jackson
Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Luke Evans, Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom
Release Date: Dec 17, 2014
Rated PG-13 for Intense Fantasy Action, Frightening Images and Intense Fantasy Violence
Runtime: 2 hr. 24 min.
The final entry in The Hobbit trilogy finally pays off all the set up from the sometimes laborious previous entries. Jackson has proven time and again that he’s a master of marvelous mayhem on an epic scale. After wrapping up the storyline from the 2nd film, which should have be the previous entries finale, the film moves judiciously through some plot points setting up the final battle(s). This film is the leanest of all of Jackson’s Tolkien films with a steady sense of momentum throughout. Once the film’s battle sequences begin, they don’t stop for nearly an hour and a half. It’s a dizzying run through every sort of battle you’ve ever seen. The finale set in the ice and snow is the most impressive of the entire film which also packs the biggest emotional punch. The actors have all settled into their roles by this point and each delivers strong performances with Luke Evans and Martin Freeman being the biggest standouts. Evangeline Lilly gets a rather large chuck of screen time which is baffling since the character is not in the books and she’s saddled with a clichéd love story. Unlike the other trilogy capper, this one doesn’t wear on too much but that’s not to say it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Battle fatigue, even when they wonderfully crafted, starts to set in after a while. At the very least it’s not filled with endless false endings like Return of the King, instead we get a nice send off with an aged Bilbo taking us back to the start of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.