Untold manpower, pixels, and money culminate in the gangbusters final installment. It can't redeem the useless tedium of the first two, which exist for gargantuan profits and structural necessity.
Well, at least there won't be another one for a while.
It's adequately visionary, it's routinely spectacular, it breathes fire and yet somehow feels room-temperature.
It plays out as if someone chucked a whole bunch of carefully detailed Warhammer figurines into a centrifuge -- goblins, goats, dwarfs, wizards and wolves bouncing off one another in waves of alternating tedium and punishment.
It's a big, bold, schizophrenic pageant that still manages to work on a surprising number of levels -- creative liberties and indulgences be damned.
Mindless CGI spectacle overpowers every aspect of Peter Jackson's concluding Tolkien adaptation; like the other installments of this lumbering trilogy, it's more tech-demo than movie.
What is perhaps most depressing about Jackson's swollen Hobbit enterprise is the way it retrospectively diminishes his Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The pleasure is intense, and mixed with awe. There is majesty here, and not just because we're in the presence of magnificently regal madness.
Talk about beating a dead orc. In dutifully completing his prequel trilogy to his Lord of the Rings triumph, Peter Jackson has sadly saved the worst for last. The Battle of the Five Armies is 20 percent inspiration, 80 percent desperation.