“...Tea is at four.”

Bilbo and Company are forced to engage in a war against an array of combatants and keep the terrifying Smaug from acquiring a kingdom of treasure and obliterating all of Middle-Earth. (from IMDB)


Before I dig into the details of this review, I have to say this has been a difficult one to put together. For one thing, this is the movie for which my hopes were, admittedly, very high. So, I set out in this review feeling bittersweet, knowing this is likely the last review I will write for these movies. (Who knows…I might tackle the extended editions one day.) That being said, let’s move on, shall we?

After a lot of consideration, I’ve decided to tackle this review in a list-like format. I’ll try not to ramble, but as always, consider this the warning that rambling is almost guaranteed. :) I’ll try to stick to only a few of the high and low points, for me, of the movie. As per usual, this is a review which looks at the film as an adaptation of the novel, too. (I’ve been trying to trim this review down to a much shorter length. It was about 1,500 words before.)

Bilbo’s Journey:
When I saw the trailers, I was skeptical about Bilbo being awake during the Battle. I do like that they take the segment of the book where he is knocked unconscious, only to wake up in time to be at Thorin’s side when he dies. Martin Freeman plays younger Bilbo so well, and I enjoyed getting to see Bilbo become more “Tookish” over the course of his adventure. His attempts at bringing peace between the armies is done well, as is his worry about the wellbeing of his friends.

I also really enjoyed that they kept the Bag End auction in the film. It’s definitely in my top three favorite moments of BOTFA. It’s a wonderful glimpse at just how much Bilbo has changed. He obviously hasn’t been sitting quietly in his armchair for some time, as he had before the adventure. Freeman played it well, and I was giggling through the entire sequence because everything about it was nearly perfect. (Even the spoons.)

As for the last scene of the film, I have to say I did enjoy it, despite the inconsistencies it brings to mind regarding the LOTR trilogy. But, it made me smile and laugh and cry a couple of happy tears because it was pretty close to perfect. :)

Smaug’s Demise:
Since BOTFA does not have a prologue sequence like the other films, the movie starts immediately after Smaug leaves the Lonely Mountain. Visually, this sequence was stunning (I would have loved to see it in 3D). Even though I knew how he was going to die, my pulse still raced through this sequence. As for his actual death, it was a nice touch to see him grow cold as he died.
Thorin’s Madness:
Richard Armitage made me cry. He plays dragon-sick Thorin wonderfully, and many of the film’s strongest moments revolve around this storyline. Also, the other characters help build this storyline. Their lives depend on the decisions Thorin makes, and while he is distrustful of them all, they still want to see him rally and become the one they have followed on this journey. Balin, Dwalin, and Bilbo each play a significant part in trying to pull Thorin back from the brink of madness, and each actor does so, so well in their scenes. Though they are short sequences, they punched me emotionally, and left me with tears falling from my eyes. Actually, I wish there had been more focus on Thorin and Company. At times, they felt rather neglected in favor of the Elves.

The Death of Durin’s Heirs:
I’ve spent years preparing for these characters to die on-screen. I do think Fili’s seemed a bit rushed (overall, I think the character deserved a bit more focus in DOS and BOTFA), but it was one of the most difficult to watch.

Kili’s death affected me the least. I mean, I was sad because I loved the character, but I think the constant focus on the Kiliel romance cheapened it. The post-death scene with Tauriel and Thranduil felt stilted to me.

And then, Thorin. His death took longer than I expected. Again, Richard Armitage and Martin Freeman made me cry (because: ACTING). Bonus: Thorin says his iconic last words from the novel! I do wish, though, that there had been a funeral sequence for Thorin, Fili, and Kili. For such iconic deaths, I hoped for an ending with more closure.

Overall, while I loved so many aspects of the movie, there were moments that made the story feel weak and disjointed. Also, some of the continuity issues between this trilogy and LOTR bugged me. So below are a few of the major issues I had with the movie:

I think Legolas and Tauriel took so much away from the movies. The arc for Legolas doesn’t add up with who he is in LOTR (and the whole Strider thing…well, I’m trying to pretend that conversation didn’t happen). I also think that Bolg should have been killed by Beorn, as he is in the books, rather than Legolas. As for Tauriel, there was a moment where I liked her character (it’s when she stood up to Thranduil when he wanted to abandon the fight), but otherwise, she was just there to fulfill her part of the love triangle.

The White Council sequence was disappointing. Given all that is revealed to them in this sequence, shouldn’t there be more concern about the danger that Middle-earth is facing? For a group of the world’s wisest beings, they didn’t seem very wise. This scene felt rather out of place and, while visually was pretty cool, felt off.

Dain Ironfoot was also a disappointment, and I had been really looking forward to seeing him, given his role as the future King Under the Mountain. In hindsight, had he been cut from the film, I’m not sure I would’ve missed his appearance. He just felt…flat and inconsistent. (The cursing pulled me out of the movie, since it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the dialogue from the films.)

So, while the movie does have its flaws, there are certainly great moments. I’ve enjoyed this journey through these movies, and one last adventure through Middle-earth with characters I’ve grown to love. To take a quote from Bilbo, I bid these characters a very fond farewell.

** The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images. **
Poster Image found via Google Images