(out of 5)
More bloated mayhem from the imagination of J.R.R. Tolkien as yet another trilogy comes to a close. The film opens with the messiness of Smaug setting Laketown on fire, which strands a group of humans and leaves them without homes, while in the distance Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) becomes ill with greed as he desperately looks for the Arkenstone that he believes is the greatest token of the dragon’s golden treasure horde. Wizards say ominous things and elves make grim faces because war is coming and no one can prepare for battle without having moments of self-important stillness, and we find ourselves wondering, exactly what book are these movies based on? I only recall a bunch of dwarves and their hobbit companion (Martin Freeman) drinking beer and singing songs, but Peter Jackson’s endless saga has gilded the lily with computer-generated lead. The actors are terrific, the visual effects even more so, but good luck trying to figure out what’s going on before the finale (and once you do, good luck caring).
Directed by Peter Jackson
Cinematography by Andrew Lesnie
Music by Howard Shore
Production Design by Dan Hennah
Film Editing by Jabez Olssen
Academy Awards: 2014