That said, one really does have to watch all three Hobbit movies one after the other to get a sense of story and character development and so as a standalone movie I have to score those aspects much lower than I would if all three movies were one. I would wager most movie goers will have seen the previous two Hobbit movies however and the best way to see the whole story is to watch them all back to back to back.
I won't spoil the movie for those of you who haven't seen it as of yet. I will tell it is more of what you have come to expect from Peter Jackson and company. Thrilling adventure, magnificent characters and epic battles. Everything is as it should be from Howard Shore's magnificent score to the visuals to the acting performances.
I'll briefly diverge here for a moment. The sole operator of movie theaters in my area, Cineplex, has decided to not distribute THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES in HFR in my area - perhaps all of Canada - I'm checking into this. I am extremely disappointed in this decision. They have no competition here and so I have no way of checking out the HFR version of the movie. So I apologize to you that I can't comment on the HFR . I will say that judging from previous movies I have seen I believe variable frame rate will be the way of the future in that portions of movies will be shown in HFR while the remainder will toggle back to 24 fps. This way the effect will not be jarring and HFR will only be used for moments that truly will shine with the technology - such as slow motion.
So what did I love about the movie? Certainly I will elaborate in detail in the comment section below where spoilers are encouraged, but to be honest, I loved the whole thing. I have some questions that I'd like your opinions on (again in the comments) but overall I have seen the movie twice now, one in IMAX 3D and the other in AVX (7.1) 3D and it just keeps getting better.
Some scenes are literally crying out for more - or origin stories - or just singular character stories; essentially I want Jackson to continue to make Middle-earth stories, but with his own original ideas within the world. Again I can't say more here, but I will below.
So the native 3D was outstanding! A perfect blend of function (immersion and excitement) with the practical (forgetting the 3D was even there). In other words, this 3D that was shot on the world's leading native 3D rigs from 3ality Technica was perfectly executed. I saw no flaws to speak of at all. Battle scenes were amazing. Sweeping shots of cities and towns along with the jaw dropping vistas of New Zealand's 3D Middle-earth were inspired and delectable. Intimate character shots were oh so real in native 3D!
The visual effects of the movie were definitely in the genre wheelhouse of Weta Digital and they brought them to us with unreal precision. Suspension of disbelief came easy for me when the extremes were handled with care - from decisive serious scenes to comedic scenes didn't make me think at all about how it was done, but simply to live it.
70% of the initial world box office was generated from 3D ticket sales for the movie, underscoring that 3D is now part of our culture. Can't wait to see what 2015's 3D movies have in store for us!
Sadly, this will be the last trip to Tolkien's world - unless we are very lucky. But it was as if Peter Jackson himself said: "If this is to be our end, then I would have them make such an end, as to be worthy of remembrance."
If you have seen the movie already, then I invite you to read the comments below and join in on the conversation! And if you haven't seen the movie yet... WHAT? What are you waiting for? :-) Christmas? 'Cause you know, Christmas is here...
THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES is now playing in 3D, IMAX 3D, HFR 3D and flat.