Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen provide welcome warmth and humour as Peter Jackson concludes his second Tolkein trilogy with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

THE HOBBIT THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES

Turning the 300-odd pages of JRR Tolkein’s beloved tale into a nearly eight-hour long trilogy was never going to lead to nimble storytelling, but at least director Peter Jackson brings his absurdly over-inflated project to a suitably epic conclusion with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. The movie certainly looks spectacular, from the fiery opening in which terrifying dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) lays waste to the settlement of Lake-town to the awesome final battle that pitches contingents of dwarves, elves and humans against the orcs and wolves dispatched by dark wizard Sauron (Cumberbatch, again). But it is up to Martin Freeman’s canny Bilbo Baggins and Ian McKellen’s wise wizard Gandalf to provide some welcome warmth and humour amid the enervating non-stop CGI action.

Certificate 12. Runtime 144 mins. Director Peter Jackson.

The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies is available on Digital HD NOW and Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.