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Rob Fenimore reviews for The Hobbit for GGA. Thanks, Rob and follow Rob on twitter, here!

Let’s just say that if Middle Earth has an advocate group for the ethical treatment of orcs, they’re probably pissed right about now.  Peter Jackson’s final installment of The Hobbit movies (I refuse to call them a trilogy) lacks not in epic fight scenes in addition to its deviation from the source material. In my opinion, if anyone has the right to modify or expound upon Tolkien’s works, it should be Pete. He has done quite a bit over the last 15 years to bring something great to the masses without destroying it.  Before his vision, The Lord Of The Rings was reserved for nerds and/or hoity toity academic types.  Now jocks and geeks can sit together (with a seat in between of course – let’s not be ridiculous) and cheer on the heroes of Middle Earth while holding on to their respective dignities. Thanks, Pete!

As much as I love LOTR, The Hobbit has never been my favorite story.  I never really liked how they dragged Bilbo out of his cozy house and then shat upon him, blaming him for everything that went wrong.  I would have bailed on those jerks by Rivendell.  Adding to my distaste for the story is the fact that my first exposure to it was through the Rankin/Bass cartoon musical version from 1977, which hit 7 year-old me as immensely depressing.  Still, with Jackson at the helm and given my nerd pedigree, I was inevitably going to watch these movies…my precious.
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I thought The Hobbit in three films was far too much, almost as greedy as Thorin himself.  That may still be my opinion, but I can kinda see why it was done this way.  Smaug’s story line could have been disposed of with 30 more minutes in the previous film.  But by using those minutes to start this film, Jackson got two more hours to give us the ending he thought we deserved.  And that ending was filled with tons of action and plenty of tie-ins to the LOTR films, providing a fitting closure to Jackson’s adaptation of Tolkien’s world.  The closing scenes got it just right.

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Martin Freeman (Bilbo) and Richard Armitage (Thorin) provided most of the emotive acting moments in the film.  In their numerous scenes together they did a good job of convincing me that beneath all the tension, Bilbo and Thorin had a genuine fondness for each other.  I also really liked the cameos (Elrond, Saruman, Galadriel, Sauron, Nazgul) and the references to what was to come in the future of Middle Earth (Legolas being told by his dad to look for a guy named Strider).  Really, the only gripes I have with the film were a couple of unbelievable gravity defying moments that prompted laughter in the theater.  I thought I actually heard Idina Menzel singing during a particular Legolas scene (Google “Menzel gravity” and you’ll get it).

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In the end, The Battle Of Five Armies proved an excellent culmination to the Jackson/Tolkien era. I am certain that another filmmaker will get a crack at them in about twenty years, but until then I thank Mr. Jackson for bringing my nerd imagination to life through these six films.  I give this one 4.5 out of 5 stars.  In closing, I leave you with a quote from Billy Boyd’s performance of “The Last Goodbye” as the credits rolled:

We came all this way
But now comes the day

To bid you farewell
I bid you all a very fond farewell

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