My wife and I caught The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies at a matinee on Wednesday and had a blast. I just wanted to comment briefly that of the three movies that Jackson managed to somehow squeeze out of The Hobbit plus the Silmarillion and the Lost Tales this one struck me as the most well-paced (even if...SPOILER ALERT, I GUESS.....Smaug bites it big time in like the first five minutes).
It helped that the movie was a bit shorter than the prior two. #2 Especially suffered I felt for having so much obvious filler, stuff which not only was never in the books but which made very little sense from any sort of coherent analysis (giant gold dwarf statue event I'm looking at you).
In the end, despite the deviation from the book, the film holds up well. When you think about it, if you are one of those deeply analytical fans concerned about the canon of the films vs. the books, one could readily imagine that the movie somehow portrays "what actually happened" (hisssss!!!!!) while The Hobbit as a novel actually portrays what Bilbo remembered, or was able to reconstructs (for example...another spoiler.....the difference between how Thorin Oakenshield, Killi and Filli die in the movie vs. how they died in the book). Given that Bilbo for either occasion was mostly unconscious during the battle, one could readily imagine his retelling might be from a second hand reconstruction or a fanciful retelling.
I now look forward to the 27 part movie series Peter Jackson produces when the Tolkien family finally relents and lets him put the rest of J.R.R.'s works to film!