Okay, so having just seen this film a few hours ago, I wanted to post a couple of impressions I came away with. Please be aware of potential spoilers.
- Distance and scale in this film seemed wildly out of whack. More orcs than were at Helm’s Deep seemed to be available for this conflict, but 13 dwarves can make a difference? A little confusing. What’s that, Bilbo’s at Erebor? Now he’s at Dale? Back at Erebor again? Oh, and now he’s gone to meet Thorin on the mountaintop. Well, good thing that battle’s still going on.
- Excessive use of CGI. I know this has been a major concern for me in the Hobbit films, when compared with the amount of physical effects used in Lord of the Rings, but Battle of the Five Armies had some especially egregious examples. Excessively airbrushed Legolas jumping off falling blocks in mid-air like a mid 2000’s platformer game; a host of identical computer generated wood-elves running around in the background of any shot of Gandalf and Bilbo; also, I hope you like ever-shiny CGI gold that never looks quite right, because there sure will be a lot of it, just like last time. If you’re going to have a treasure horde that is bigger than all the gold that exists on Earth (no really, look it up), then please make sure it looks like actual gold.
- Padded out plot. I still feel like the Hobbit films would have made a single film of decent length, or at the very least two films. I cannot shake the impression that every film has at least 30 minutes of material included just to pad it out. This film includes such highlights as an entire storyline with Alfrid Lickspittle, otherwise known as the Master of Laketown’s weird Wormtongue-light assistant, that basically goes no-where and has no conclusion or real comeuppance for an incredibly annoying character. His story could really have been sorted with a 3 minute scene ending in some form of humiliation, but alas, it was not to be. I think Peter Jackson has some strange obsession with these frustrating characters. This film also shows how pointless it was to introduce Bolg in the last film, only for Azog (of Defiling fame) to once again become lead villain in this film. Yet another wasted scene.
Just a few observations, hastily typed up after watching. Let me know whether you agree or not in the comments!