Rachel Seo, Photojournalist

Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy has met with much controversy.

Purists argue that his movies deviate from the book, that he just wants to make a whole load of money and drive people back to his Lord of the Rings movies.

Others are dismayed at his new movie formatting (48 frames per second) and complain that nothing looks real: the CGI, the orcs…


As a fairly easy-to-please admirer of action movies and self-proclaimed lover of fantasy, I personally enjoyed the entire series, particularly the third one.

The Desolation of Smaug (the movie before Battle) left the viewers with a cliffhanger: Gandalf was stuck in the evil lair of the Necromancer, and Smaug the dragon was loose and about to wreak havoc in Lake-town.

Battle picks up right where Desolation leaves off, and from then on, the movie is an interesting combination of psychological characterization and lots of fighting. Tensions run high between the dwarves and the people of Lake-town when Bard, the humble human archer, leads his people near the dwarves’ mountain after their town is destroyed by dragon fire. Several plot threads keep the viewers on the edge of their seats: Tauriel (you know, the controversial female elf that Jackson added into the movie in order to make sure his entire cast wasn’t male?) and Legolas see the orcs preparing for battle; Thorin, stuck in his empty stone peak, obsesses over his newfound riches and searches for the Arkenstone, all the while ignoring the starving people who are, quite literally, outside his front door; the elves and dwarves have yet another trivial tiff over the treasures of the Mountain and prepare to do battle while they ignore the warning signs of orc movement.

The movie culminates in a grand finale battle heavily created by CGI but utterly awesome in its fighting. War movies have never been my thing, but I’ll watch one if it has arrows and battle-axes cast by some of the most majestic (and dumpiest) creatures of Middle Earth. Prabhleen Kaur (11) agrees, saying, “Smaug was as terrifying as ever, and the battle scenes were incredible! There was so much action and emotion throughout the entire movie!”

Speaking of emotion…

Battle does the best job of pulling the audience’s heartstrings and dividing the viewers’ loyalties: we watch Thorin, whom we like but at the same time fear, descend into a deeper pool of greed and selfishness; we see Bilbo make decisions that might be stupid but attribute to his newfound bravery; we see the infamous love triangle with Tauriel abruptly come to an end.

Though some elements of the movies seemed cliche and overdone, Battle is by far my favorite, mostly because it tugged at my emotions and made me feel for the characters. It made me look beyond the staunch story of Bilbo Baggins and see the characters of Middle Earth for who they truly are, and what they’ve meant to Bilbo and what they’ve meant to me, being a part of this trilogy. It depicts a broken world, a mess of life, and yet the hope of good triumphing over evil.

No matter what the purists, the pessimists, or the speculators, I applaud Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit as his own creative work, his own interpretation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classics.

Which reminds me, now I actually want to read The Lord of the Rings and go watch the other movies…