"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" has opened to positive reviews. Critics have been all praises for director Peter Jackson's effort at transforming JRR Tolkien's fantasy novel into an epic adventure film trilogy.
Some reviewers are expecting the film to be a blockbuster, others believe that it may not be a box office hit but will surely garner a few Oscars.
The cast members of the third outing in the series include Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch and James Nesbitt.
The film, which is scheduled to release on 17 December, is co-written by Jackson, Guillermo del Toro, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. It will be distributed by Warner Bros.
Read the Review Round-up of "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" below:
Intermittently, "The Battle of the Five Armies" takes time out to catch us up on the whereabouts of old Gandalf. This is the least episodic and digressive of the "Hobbit" films, and the one that shows the least evidence of the elaborate patchwork Jackson and his co-screenwriters have done in order to transform the slender "Hobbit" narrative into something that might rival "Lord of the Rings" for sheer breadth and depth. While that effort has ultimately proved only partly successful, it's easier now to see the entire "Hobbit" project as a labor of love on Jackson's part, rather than a descent into crass box-office opportunism.
"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" promises to be the New Zealand director's final excursion into Tolkien territory, and for that some praise is due, for staying the course if nothing else. While "The Battle of the Five Armies" is unlikely to repeat the Oscar sweep that greeted the conclusion of Jackson's first Tolkien trilogy, in truth it is just as enjoyable as each of the five films that came before it. Jackson may or may not be resigned to the fact that, unless something very dramatic emerges, they will be his principal cinematic legacy – his pre-Rings eccentricity having been thoroughly eclipsed – but at least he can take a bit of time off. He's earned it.
"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" lives up to its mayhem potential by making maximum use of modern technology to create an abundant smorgasbord of wildly varied and sometimes mordantly amusing combat; this is an out-and-out war film, with gobs of trimmings. The film's multitude of teenage boy satisfactions, not to mention its position as Jackson's presumed swan song to this defining stage of his career, leaves no doubt that the Warner Bros. release will rake in the $1 billion worldwide that each of its predecessors' did.
It's a series of stomping footnotes in search of a climax. In terms of story so far, it ends virtually when it starts – with super-peeved dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) raining down fiery destruction on the pitiful residents of Laketown, and facing the last-ditch heroism of an archer called Bard (Luke Evans). Everything else is scraps, in both senses.