So Lee Pace finally won me over. Richard Armitage was as spectacular a Thorin as Martin Freeman a Bilbo, Ian McKellen was Gandalf, Orlando Bloom, albeit playing an unnecessary character, seems to have grown very well into the mould that is Legolas. The only person who was not himself was probably Peter Jackson.

As someone who read Tolkiens The Hobbit at 11, and grew up with The Lord of The Ringsmovies, this was one of the biggest waits of my life. It was farewell to The Shire of childhood, to the Fellowship one grew up with; to Middle-Earth. And it was unfitting.

The movie begins immediately where its prequel, Desolation of Smaug, ends. The cliff-hanger is concluded within minutes; with some useless babbling from the Greatest and Chiefest of Calamities, some hurried action sequences, some sloppy sequences and some out-of-nowhere-what-is-even-happening sequences in which nothing but Bards ability to lead and the common folks ability to follow anyone commanding is made evident.

It then dwells into Thorins sickness of the dragon, we are never quite given an introduction to Erebor, let alone to explore it; a fact very teasing when you think of the 6 odd hours the previous movies spend to reclaim and re-inhabit it.

Now the movie has quickly jumped to growing tension between our 3 main heroes; Thorin, Bard and Thranduil. The following short war sequence is the most inspiring and lively part of the movie. Even a geek-gasmic scene at Mount Gundabad was a letdown.

It then quickly disintegrates into anecdotes of multiple unnecessary characters you grow tired of keeping up with; will little to no character development of Tolkiens own characters. I mean cmon, the most we interact with Fili is in his last moments. And non-Tolkien characters Alfrid and Tauriel share somewhat the same amount of screen time as Bilbo. Yes. That happens. And music is used instead of story and character to stimulate emotion.

The movie is quite fast-paced, especially considering its Peter Jackson, I guess he either completely ran out of material, or wanted to wrap this up as fast as possible, or wanted to give in to the whining of audiences. Im afraid it was all 3.

Me and fellow children of The Shire expected much tears; but not tears of disappointment. That wasnt even a thought. It was a final visit to Middle Earth and we trusted Pete.

The fault lies in the basics. Jackson failed to recognise the story for what it is and chose audience-pleasing over sticking to the Legendarium, let me explain.

The story of The Hobbit is the story of an introvert who is pushed out of his comfort zone, taken on an adventure, who returns a changed Hobbit. A story of personal exploration mixed within a fantastic tale. It was never meant to be adapted into this large-scale, CGI heavy mission between war and evil. It was also never meant to be a trilogy; Jackson evidently ran out of material in the end and filled in the movie with unnecessary characters and irrelevant sub-plots and comic relief. There was too much CGI and too little solid material; the naysayers were proven right.

But not all was lost, no. The Elves really get their badassery limelight in this one; Thranduil and Galadriel both have epic moments, the acting is superb, there is tons of cool CGI choreography and theres Christopher Lee playing Saruman at 92!

And there is a scene; a scene where Gandalf and Bilbo sit down amidst all the damage and ruin. Gandalf cleans his pipe and proceeds to smoke from it; you are transported to Middle Earth, to your childhood realm where it has taken such a stubborn hold; with such a simple gesture. No CGI, no momentous collapses, no heavily choreographed deaths, no Bollywood-ish flowing of the hair, no air-brushing to perfection.

You begin to think the movie can still be saved. That the best is yet to come.

The movie ends very sweetly; I would repeat but for me the grief is still too near and there is risk of spoilery.

I would give the movie a 7/10. Even as stand-alone film, it fails to impress. As a Tolkien adaptation and prequel to the masterpiece that is the Lord of The Ringsmovies, it is nothing short of a travesty.

It wasnt done well, and it probably could not be helped after a certain point. But guys we now have nearly a day of middle earth on movie ! And (roughly) 20 hours of Gandalf!

I am nothing but thankful to Peter Jackson and team. Many childhoods have been made livelier thanks to you all, many families have had something to huddle over every weekend, many friendships have formed because of you, many have you inspired, many heartaches have your movies made easier. Thank you.

Now that all is said and done; everyone needs a very long holiday, and we don't expect we shall return. At least not soon anyway.

Zaitoon Malik is a student, who's a feminist observing and providing critique on culture and politics. She has a keen interest in history