By now it's been well established that Peter Jackson's The Hobbit movie trilogy is part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's source novel, part Lord of the Rings trilogy prequel. Next month's The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will be the final link in the chain that connects Jackson's Middle-earth movie trilogies - and judging by the film's second and final trailer (watch it above), Jackson looks to complete his tour of Tolkien's fantasy world with an impressive bang.
Battle of the Five Armies picks up as Smaug the dragon (played via motion-capture by Benedict Cumberbatch) descends to wreak fiery vengeance upon the helpless citizens of Lake-town, having been driven out from the Lonely Mountain by the plucky hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as well as Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his Company of Dwarves.
However, with his birthright reclaimed, Thorin becomes obsessed with protecting his kingdom and treasure (despite objections from Bilbo and Thorin's fellow dwarves), as illustrated by the latest Battle of the Five Armies trailer. The rest of Middle-earth isn't going to wait for Thorin to get his act together, either, as an army of orcs, trolls, and other unpleasant things marches to launch a surprise assault on the Lonely Mountain.
Elsewhere, Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) and his fellow members of Middle-earth's White Council must unite to take down the great enemy Sauron, before he can recover his full strength. Obviously, we already know the final outcome for this battle (thanks to the Lord of the Rings trilogy), but it still ought to be fun to watch characters such as Gandalf and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) back together onscreen.
Certain creative decisions made by Jackson and his Hobbit trilogy co-writers Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh (with Guillermo del Toro credited for his earlier script work) - be it the incorporation of the Sauron subplot or the love triangle involving new addition Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) - have rubbed filmgoers the wrong way. And yes, the choice to expand Tolkien's simple Hobbit adventure into a sprawling cinematic trilogy will most likely always be a contentious one.
That out of the way, Battle of the Five Armies is shaping up to be the best installment in Jackson's Hobbit movie trilogy. The final trailer alone serves up a healthy blend of intriguing narrative developments, compelling character-oriented drama, and the sort of grandiose spectacle that Jackson and his own army of visual artists/technicians specialize in staging.
If that holds true for the actual movie, then Jackson's claim that Battle of the Five Armies is his equivalent of All the President's Men might well prove to be accurate (in the best way). We'll just be happy to have finished the journey through Middle-earth on a high note.
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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in U.S. theaters on December 17th, 2014.
Source: Warner Bros.