Let me say in opening that this is not a good movie to watch if you're after classic Lee. Much of the great man's role was filmed in isolation, and vastly supplemented by distracting CGI and an obvious body double keeping his face out of shot (a pause to recall the fate of another great cinematic Dracula actor may or may not be appropriate here). Unfortunately, the appearance, scripting and execution of Lee's role in Five Armies sums up the maority of the movie to me, also.
I went in expecting to be mildly disappointed, but came away just feeling cross. This film has no heart. It's cluttered, over-saturated, poorly-edited, narratively confused, and bogged down unnecessarily with future continuity. Throughout the production of this trilogy the spectre of Lucas' Star Wars prequels was frequently invoked, and despite my doubts, I think those naysayers were pretty bang on.
|The horse is some way back - it's a metaphor!|
On paper these additions don't look so bad - some even compliment the sketchiness of the original book in detail. But their execution here is just shoddy, and underline to me how in selling the Laketowners, Legolas' parents, Dol Guldur and Dain short on detail, the great Professor did better service to Bilbo and Thorin as characters. Here it's almost the reverse.
The extended edition is yet to come, of course. I say Enough!