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Movie review: The Hobbit, Part Three: Battle of the Five Armies

Over the Christmas holidays the family and I took in Peter Jackson’s final take on The Lord of the Rings saga.

Just to give you some background, let me state that I have been a fan of Tolkein’s LOTR since I first picked up the books in high school. I have read those three books, as well as The Hobbit, many times. Like many other fantasy authors, Tolkein’s work had a huge influence on me both in terms of subject matter and inspiration to write a tale of my own. I suffered through previous attempts to being these movies to the big screen, so when I saw the first LOTR movie it was an absolute delight. It was astounding to see Middle Earth brought to life in a credible way by someone who obviously loved the books as well. So, hats off, Peter Jackson!

But this post is about The Hobbit, pt 3. I have to confess that when I went to the first Hobbit movie, I actually hadn’t clued in to the fact that it was going to be a trilogy (not sure how I missed that). When I got to the end I thought…what? How on earth is he going to stretch the story out for three movies?

And we saw how….padding, background stories for some of the LOTR characters, and more padding. I enjoyed the first two movies, but…well….I have to say I found Pt. 3 a bit tedious. Not a lot of story, and a whole of sturm and drang, as they say.

The parts I enjoyed the most were any scenes with Bilbo (Martin Freeman, how I love you!) and any scenes with Smaug (“Magnificent” special effects, just, wow). Unfortunately there weren’t many of either of those. The rest of it seemed like a series of attempts to make one exciting video game sequence after another.

But I can’t diss it too badly. I have great respect for what Jackson has done in bringing these beloved tales to life. I just wish he hadn’t lingered so long on The Hobbit, it felt like a bit of a money grab rather than an attempt to tell the story faithfully to the original.

Please, Mr. Jackson, get to work on those Temeraire stories! I can’t wait to see what you do with a whole movie (or mini-series!) about dragons…..


My rating for this movie: 3 stars. What do you think? Did you like it? How many stars would you give it?


  1. bookheathen says:

    I saw your post on Linked-in and thought I’d just drop by!
    I saw the first two Hobbit films and frankly don’t know if I’ll bother with the third. Peter Jackson has let us and himself down, I think. Far too much padding! Surely it’s all about money? The Hobbit story doesn’t warrant 3 films.
    Good luck with your blog. Will follow.

  2. bookheathen says:

    Thanks for following me!

  3. Glenn Keeler says:

    Hi Lisa. While I appreciate the complaint about taking the slender Hobbit tale and making it a trilogy, I appreciated most of the way the “padding” was done. Much of it was pulling into the main tale items only referenced in the book but present in JRR’s copious notes and appendices. There was a little creative reading — Legolas is not named as being present in the Hobbit but given his history in LOTR it is not unreasonable to suppose. Introducing a female elf character was Jackson’s attempt to overcome the maleness of the Hobbit, and to give some grounds for the hostility Legolas carries for dwarves.

    As for all the additional battle in the third movie, I accepted it by a) setting aside the objection to a triology — that was a fact that could not be altered in the making of the third film — and b) realizing that in the book the battle largely occurs while Bilbo was unconscious. Without the visualized battles, it would have been a very short movie and would have removed some of the best scenes, in my opinion.

    Martin Freeman portrayal of Bilbo is spot on, and I did love Smaug’s portrayal throughout the trilogy. However, now I have recurring daydreams about Bilbo and Smaug taking rooms together to solve crimes in London…

    1. L.A. Smith says:

      Yes I agree with you, for the most part. As you said, without the battle it would have been a very short movie. Which is, I guess, my point. Not a lot of story there. And I guess those were the best scenes if you like battle-type movies, but for me a little goes a long way. I don’t need to see every possible variation of how an elf/dwarf/human/hobbit can kill an orc.

      I have to admit, too, that the title puzzled me. Battle of the 5 Armies?? Elves. Men. Orcs. Dwarves. That was four. My kids had to explain the eagles were the fifth. Okaayyy……

      But onwards and upwards to Sherlock (squee!!!)…..methinks I will be writing a blog post about that, too, at some point…..

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