BY MOLLY CONGDON
CLIFTON PARK — It begins where the 2013 film left us, with the harsh flapping of monstrous wings, the screams of the people of Lake-town and the smoky roar of the dragon Smaug as he makes good on his promise to destroy those who reside below Erebor.
Flames devour everything in sight as terrified townspeople run for their lives (well, paddle for their lives). Smaug topples edifices, makes ceilings crash with the simple swish of his scaly tail and, of course, has enough time to pause and make sinister threats in his sarcastically smug, smooth-as-honey timbre.
Thorin Oakenshield’s avarice for filthy lucre serves as the central backbone of the movie. However, the dwarf king isn’t the only one drawn to the enticing glow of gems, jewels and gold. It doesn’t take long for Elves, Orcs and men to converge on the Lonely Mountain to take, what they believe, are their rightful shares of the treasure.
The final piece of the trilogy is full of action but also a significant amount of waiting, twiddling of thumbs and watching Oakenshield and his dwarf kin gaze at the battle from afar, safely barricaded within the castle.
The disappointing aspect of this film is encapsulated by one word: predictable. Also, sadly, many of the characters fall flat, almost as though director Peter Jackson was in a hurry to rush us through to the end. We don’t really see or feel the love of Tauriel and Kili. He gives her a rock (and no, I’m not talking about a diamond), and we are supposed to believe that their love is legitimate? It seems slightly improbable, but if these characters were developed more, they and their mini-subplot would have a rounder quality. Since there are so many different narratives, each one lacks depth.
And so the final piece of J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 classic, epic tale leaps off the page and stumbles across the big screen.