So I finally got around to watching the epic conclusion to The Hobbit series (although I knew all ready how it ended thanks to reading the book a lot while I was growing up). So what are my first impressions?
Well from the start you are certainly dragged back into the centre of the action as Smaug causes absolute havoc across Lake-town and packs a powerful punch straight off. As we have probably come to expect, the visual effects are impressive at getting across exactly how destructive this dragon is.
But my one issue with the sequence is how long it is – yes it is an important part and yes you do find yourself cheering at the death of the dragon but considering what is yet to come there is in my opinion too much attention focused on this part.
Of course having made the decision to make this one book into three films, it means that additions to the plot had to be made and it is interesting to see the way in which the film makers have done it. While some of it works (I’m not going to spoil it in case you haven’t seen it) there are other bits which seem to be placed in the film to try and keep the audience’s attention.
The film is a good balance between action and calm – definitely keeping you on the edge of your seat (sorry for using that cliché – but it is actually true!) and filling you with uncertainty.
Richard Armitage as Thorin is as you would expect at the centre of things and when he goes slightly mad with obsession over the Arkenstone, his performance is very Shakespearian in quality and very impressive. Definitely the stand out performance in the film.
The battle scenes are familiar to those who have watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and of course Orlando Bloom has some unbelievable but impressive moves throughout.
But for me the film is at its best when a more vulnerable side comes through. The Tauriel and Killi scenes were lovely to watch and Thorin’s reconciliation scene with Bilbo virtually moved me to tears (embarrassing to say but yes it is true!) .
So does it fit in with what I thought when I read the books? Well the battle scenes (even including the characters that weren’t even in the book) were exactly like I thought would happen. But everything else felt slightly different to how I originally imagined it to be and so I’m still trying to decide whether that is a positive or a negative about the film.
I love the way in which the ending to The Battle of the Five Armies sets things up for The Fellowship of the Ring to ensure that audiences can hop from one to the other with ease.
Despite my uncertainty about the way in which additional elements were added to the plot, it still feels like a decent way to finish the film series and I would like to think that JRR Tolkien would approve at how his books have translated to the big screen for people to enjoy.