What began as an immersion into Middle Earth through Peter Jackson's telling of The Lord of Rings has come to a close with the last of the three Hobbit movies. The fact that this is the last movie held more emotion for me than the actual movie.
Unlike The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit is one book. The merits of the wisdom behind Peter Jackson's decision to stretch The Hobbit over three movies has been, and will be, debated for years to come. The Battle of the Five Armies picks up right after Desolation of Smaug, so make sure you have seen the previous movie before sitting down to watch this one. The story picks up with the destruction of Laketown, and a major spoiler for those who have not read the book, and continues with delving into the politics of Middle Earth after that major spoiler. It also takes a close look at Thorin and the effect of the dragon’s gold on him. Most of the movie is devoted to the battle mentioned in the title of the film.
I had one friend on my newsfeed call this movie "fan fiction," and I do believe that is the fairest description of this final installment. There are glimpses into the end of the book sporadically throughout the movie, but for the most part, this is more of an adventure into the world of Middle Earth, then a retelling of the last chunk of The Hobbit.
The movie will be enjoyable when you approach it as a complete retelling of the story. Richard Armitage gives an excellent performance as Thorin. It was enjoyable to see how powerful Galadriel is, and really, there is no way for Elrond to not be cool. There isn't enough of Bilbo, which is a shame because Martin Freeman did a spectacular job with the character throughout this second series.
Keeping in theme with the previous movies there is virtually no profanity or sexual content. There is one character who cross-dresses as a girl and exaggeratedly "hides" gold coins in his bodice. Parents, be advised that the movie is centered around a battle, and most of it is violent. The violence is comparable to Return of the King, just for longer periods of time. There is content that young children could find scary because main characters do die on screen, and another character who is identified as a hero starts to lose his mind and threatens his friends.
Overall, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is an entertaining and generally clean movie. However, because of the violence, intensity, and length, I would not recommend this movie for children under 13.
Heidi Joelle is professional minion by day and a writer, editor, and reader by night. She can be coaxed from the house by the sound of a good adventure or the opportunity of traveling somewhere new. Her Saint Bernard, Smokey, and problem-solving cat, Diamond, bring extra joy to daily life.