Note: I sort of flip-flopped whether to call this a 2nd Run review or an actual review because the movie is technically still in the theaters, but I decided to go with a 2nd Run heading because the movies been out too long to be of any value for those that’s actually seen it recently.
The long-winded journey through Middle Earth has finally gotten us to the climatic point. Thorin Oakenshield, leader and King of the Dwarves has succumbed to the “Dragon Sickness”. The sickness that drove his grandfather mad with lust and greed and now ravages his heart and mind with unquenchable thoughts of gold, jewels and the prized object of his desire – the Arkenstone. Hidden in the Lonely Mountain and guarded by the spiteful and abysmal dragon Smaug, Thorin’s woes have only begun, especially after unleashing the dreaded Smaug upon the unsuspecting villagers of Laketown.
The real heart of this story is not just about the action and fighting, but the idea of what it means to reclaim your home, be family, finding true love and claiming your destiny. Thorin’s journey is basically the story of Middle Earth: Men, Elf, Wizard, Dwarf and Beast fighting for never-ending control of one aspect of Middle Earth or another. It’s the story of the never-ending violence, greed and lust of the modern world only told through a fanciful medium.
In the end, we see the various armies pour upon the Lonely Mountain for numerous reasons, but for one reason specifically – the location of the mountain is central to the boon or bust in the coming war with Sauron. All of the forces, for their various reasons understand its value and are fighting to the death to protect or conquer this valued piece of land.
While this neither movie nor The Hobbit trilogy as a whole have the same grandeur or epic quality of The Lord of The Rings trilogy, it still has its moments when you can’t help but express a little awe, a little shock, a little glee and much sadness. The battle of good over evil isn’t an easy one and many folks lose their way, lose their innocence and lose their lives along the way.
Peter Jackson didn’t put his heart into this film and I’m sure he’s happy to be done with this franchise so he can work on other projects, but then again he really had little source material to work with (it’s really a short book). What he did do well though was set up a scenario where you really can do a mega-marathon weekend starting with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and end with Lord of The Rings: Return of the King and truly have gone from a good story to a great one. In the end, Middle Earth will have become that magical place where elves are stunningly gorgeous, men are begrudgingly rugged, dwarves are unendingly lovable, beasts are vile and corrupt and magic reigns supreme once again. While not a GREAT series, it ended on good note.