Never should have been made
27 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I despise Desolation of Smaug, so I can assure you I went in with minuscule expectations. Even those were shattered. I have disregarded the book in this review, because the book was ruined back in Desolation of Smaug. I watched this as a movie, ignoring everything I knew about how it was meant to go.

Picking up exactly where Desolation left off, Smaug comes to his fiery end within ten minutes of the film's beginning, which only serves to highlight the terrible decision to split the film into three and to make the cuts where they did. We then spend roughly forty minutes waiting for the infamous 45 minute battle scene to begin, and then plead for it to end. Unlike the gripping, tense and endlessly entertaining battle sequences in LOTR, these CGI-heavy storms contained no sense of danger or drama. The laws of physics are suspended to the point where most people in the audience were laughing, and the hideous and unexplained fan service gives the impression that the film was directed by a 11 year old boy with some magic markers.

Once again the screenwriters run out of Tolkein to fill 2 and a half hours, so invent their own, and the result is cringe-worthy dialogue about love. At the film's conclusion, barely any character is given any resolution save for Legolas (who doesn't appear in the book at all) and to a degree Bilbo himself.

Martin Freeman performs well as Bilbo, nailing nearly every scene he is in. However, nearly every big name actor in the film collects around 2 minutes of screen time (everyone from Blanchett to Connelly) and most of them feel as if they are going through the motions. Blanchett in particular is given a particularly cringe-worthy part and I hope she was paid well. An unrecognisable and CGI-heavy Billy Connelly gives probably the least inspired performance in the film as Dain, whose role is so heavily reduced that it probably doesn't matter. Ryan Gage's Alfrid is so painfully unnecessary and uninspired that he brings down the movie in every scene he appears.

Each of the film's deaths is anti-climactic and changed for the worse. The Lord of the Rings trilogy features some of the best cinematic deaths ever - Boromir, Theoden, The Witch-King, the Cave Troll, the Balrog/Gandalf. None of these fare even close.

Most unforgivingly, the film pathetically pretends to be Lord of the Rings. We first see hints of it when Saruman, Galadriel and Elrond storm into Dol Goldur and Galadriel reprises her role as Green Witch from Fellowship, but it becomes far more blatant later on. BOFA blatantly steals the LOTR Oscar-winning score, it recreates key scenes from Two Towers but replaces the terrifying Uruk-hai with generic CGI white orcs, it sends Legolas off to find Aragorn (which makes no sense) and the final scene is literally taken word for word from the Fellowship of the Ring.

In Conclusion, please AVOID this film if you have an appreciation for film, Tolkein books, the laws of physics or practical effects. Watch only if you want a demonstration of CGI excess, a Martin Freeman performance (which you can find elsewhere) or are a prisoner whose only escape is by watching this film. Otherwise, please just watch the Lord of the Rings instead.
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