Films: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013), The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
Alias: Smaug, Orcs (notably Azog, Bolg, Fimbul the Hunter, Yazneg), the trolls (Gloin, Dori, and Bifur), the stone giants, Goblins (Great Goblin), wargs, Beorn the Skin-Changer, giant spiders, Sauron, Were-worms, bats)
Location: Civilized Area/Forest/Mountains/Haunted Home/Underground/Cave
Height/Weight: Ranges from that of small cars to that of mountains.
Affiliation: Neutral (Beorn), Evil (the rest)
Summary: It only seemed natural that, after the phenomenon that was "Lord of the Rings", there would be demand for a modern adaptation of Tolkien's equally praised book "The Hobbit", which came first, mind you. And after many failed starts, Peter Jackson was dragged kicking and screaming into the director's chair, and what we got was the most bloated trilogy in all of cinematic history. But at least the monsters were cool...right?
History: This is the tale of Bilbo Baggins before he was confronted by Gandalf regarding the One Ring he snatched from Gollum. Back then in his youth, he was invited to go on an adventure with the great wizard and a group of Dwarves. The mission? Steal back the most precious treasure from the Dwarves' old homeland, which had since been taken over by the accursed dragon Smaug. Only Bilbo stands a chance of sneaking in and claiming the prize...that is, if the trilogy can remember that this story is about him and NOT the hackneyed subplots that kick him to the wayside at every turn. Whether it's Thorin Oakenshield's rivalry with the wicked Orc commander Azog or the coming of Sauron, it seems that Bilbo's a bit more insignificant than he ever was in the original book.
Notable Kills: Nothing special.
Final Fate: Many creatures are killed on the journey, but in the end, Smaug is struck down by a large Dwarven black arrow, and a bunch of armies fight over the loot. Thorin and Azog take each other's lives, the whole battle ends with practically no victors, and Bilbo returns to his quiet life amongst his fellow Hobbits...with the One Ring still in his possession. But that's another, much BETTER story for another time...
Powers/Abilities: Smaug's hide is virtually impenetrable, and his fire can melt steel. Beorn can shapeshift into a large bear. And Sauron is, well, Sauron.
Weakness: Anything conventional for most, but Smaug can only be brought down if a powerful sharp object is thrust into his one soft spot on his chest. The trolls can also be turned to stone by sunlight.
Scariness Factor: 3.5-Smaug must be having a backache because he's the one carrying most of the fright here. The decision to replace most of the creatures with smooth and slightly too pristine CGI was not a good one, and it really makes the Orcs not as effective as they once were. Sure, they're still quite the killing machines, but still. Smaug is one Hell of a presence, though, thanks in no small part to the booming voice of Benedict Cumberbatch.
Trivia: -There were countless original drafts, some were just one movie long AS IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN. One in particular was heralded by the great Guillermo del Toro, in which there were a lot more practical effects and Smaug looked virtually unrecognizable. Unfortunately, Peter Jackson was shoved into the film's production last-minute, and all of del Toro's ideas were scrapped.
-Speaking of which, Jackson humbly admits that he was basically forced to wing it due to executive meddling on a scale unseen before. It got to the point where just about no one was having fun at all. Peter and everyone else hated the forced love triangle, there was little time to figure out how not to fill the movies with excessive padding, and at one point Ian McKellen broke down in tears after being forced to act in front of a greenscreen for hours (by the way, because everything was so rushed, there was next to no time for anything real and/or practical). In the end, in spite of financial success, the whole trilogy came under scrutiny from audiences and its own filmmakers alike, and the Tolkien estate established a major vice grip on their properties just to avoid another disaster like this.