This final chapter in filmmaker Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy, which are the prequels to his Lord of the Rings trilogy, is the shortest of the films, clocking in at a mere 144 minutes. That's a good thing because the two previous movies, An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug, felt far too padded. Odd, since these movies were broken up into three from J.R.R. Tolkien's single book The Hobbit, or There and Back Again. This one, however, is fast and furious.
It opens with a bang as Smaug (voice of Benedict Cumberbatch) the dragon lays waste to a village. The movie then takes a breather for some exposition, then it kicks into high gear again for the exciting Battle of the Five Armies, which eats up much of the film's running time.
Dwarf Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) has reclaimed the Lonely Mountain of Erebor and its treasure from the dragon Smaug, but now Thorin seems to be becoming the Gordon Gekko of Middle Earth. His new-found greed has made him lose friends and gain enemies. However, can the Dwarves unite with Elves and Men to fight those nasty Orcs and Goblins who are planning a major attack on Lonely Mountain? Caught in the middle is Hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen).
The Battle of the Five Armies delivers exactly what you would expect – big epic battles, top of the line digital effects and Legolas (Orlando Bloom) the Elf gleefully murdering bad guys in inventive ways. It's all familiar by now, so it's a good thing that this is the end, and that it goes out on a high note.