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Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Unlike in London, where a trip to the cinema can be a spur of the moment decision, I realised yesterday that in Devon, such visits are a whole different kettle of fish. Instead of a short hop on the tube, we drove for nearly an hour along roads ankle-deep in floodwater and through driving rain, at one point having to get out and walk to check that we weren’t about to get stuck. Whether this heightens ones enjoyment of the film when you finally make it I’m not sure, but it does add to the drama!

After I had put aside my initial discomfort arising from the whole 48 frames per second malarkey, I actually really enjoyed it. As in the first instalment, it takes only the bare bones of the story from Tolkein’s book, but instead of creating confusion, the extra plot lines added by director Peter Jackson form a convincing narrative that rattles along nicely with far fewer contrivances than might be expected.

With a number of brilliant set pieces, including the infamous hobbits-in-barrels sequence, and star turns from Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage and Ian McKellan and even Orlando Bloom, this seems a much more confident film than the first part, spoiled only by its rather abrupt ending. And sadly we must wait another year for the conclusion…

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