It all comes down to this — after some 15 years and five films set in Middle-earth, director Peter Jackson is ready to say goodbye to Tolkien's world with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Unlike the first two films in Jackson's Hobbit trilogy, which each had several trailers and a wide variety of behind-the-scenes video blogs, we haven't gotten much of a look at the The Battle of the Five Armies just yet — we've only seen a relatively simple teaser trailer released at the San Diego Comic Con. However, we're now getting a bigger taste of Jackson's vision for the final movie with this full trailer. As expected, it strikes a far darker tone than the films that preceded it, and gives a tease at the many conflicts (dwarves vs.elves, dwarves vs. orcs, Gandalf vs. the Necromancer, and so forth) will play out.
When that teaser was first released, Jackson noted that a full trailer was likely not going to drop until October because his team was hard at work finishing up the necessary CGI work, but with just over a month to go until the film's December 17th release, we're presumably seeing work here that's close to final. Along with the trailer's release, the press machine for the film appears to be moving into action — yesterday, Jackson and his screenwriter Philippa Boyens gave an interview to USA Today in which they dished a few details on the upcoming movie and shared some new images from the film. "The fate of Middle-earth is not really going to swing one way or the other [in this film]," Jackson said. "But there's a lot of characters we've introduced, and some of them we like and some of them who we feel empathy for are going to behave badly because they're confronted with the ultimate test, which is massive wealth. And it brings out the worst in people."
If you're one of those who can't get enough of Jackson's Middle-earth, this new trailer is well-timed alongside the release of the extended edition of the 2nd Hobbit film, The Desolation of Smaug. Of course, the question remains whether J.R.R. Tolkien's simple tale benefits from all of the extra material Jackson added while extending it out to an epic trilogy in the same scale as his Lord of the Rings films. The Battle of the Five Armies has the potential to put a satisfying cap on his six-film epic entry into Middle-earth and show that all the liberties he's taken were worth it — or it could simply confirm that Jackson got a bit lost in an overly ambitious project. As always, we're hoping for the former.