The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Directed by Peter Jackson
Opens December 17
After two interminable films of garish animation, overlit 3D compensation and endless padding, the final Hobbit movie attains some degree of beauty at the beginning of its overdue end. Dispatching Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) before the title credit appears, the film redirects focus onto the ghastly toll the dragon took on the inhabitants of Laketown, as well as the legacy of his accursed treasure as it swiftly corrupts newly triumphant dwarf leader Thorin (Richard Armitage). For a brief moment, Peter Jackson seems to remember the point of Tolkien’s literature.