The sad thing about this film is not that it is disappointing, which it is, it is the fact that it being disappointing was easily predictable.
Despite the fact that it has had pretty much the same team working on it as Lord of the Rings, and once again an excellent group of actors, the trouble is that The Hobbit never gets quite so exciting; it never gets quite so dangerous. After all what is a dragon when you have seen a Nazgul?
Martin Freeman is Bilbo Baggins, the Hobbit of the title, and is quite happy at home without having any adventures. That is until Gandalf the wizard (played excellently once again by Ian McKellen) comes along with a dozen dwarves who are determined the recover their home from the dragon, Smaug.
Freeman is perfectly cast in his role, albeit that the character is quite similar to Arthur Dent and also to Tim from The Office. His constant look of confusion is an excellent foil to the adventures and new experiences that befall him, as they encounter goblins and orcs, as well as three trolls determined to eat the entire band for dinner.
The other actors do well in their own parts, although I couldn’t help comparing Richard Armitage’s Thorin Oakenshield to Gerard Butler’s King Leonidas from The 300. But the trouble, ever and again, is the lack of story.
The Lord of the Rings is a huge book, written as a trilogy, and lent itself very well indeed to a trilogy of films. Its storyline is epic, the characters are complex and danger is always just over the brow of the hill; the eye is forever watching.
But The Hobbit is a very small book in comparison, barely the size of one of the books of Lord of the Rings, and although it is fun, full of adventure and extremely imaginative, it is very much a younger cousin of its sequel.
Had it been made into a single film, which it ought to have been, this might have been a much more positive review, but stretching it into three films, well, as a future Bilbo might say, it’s like butter being spread across too much bread.
Fans of Tolkein will go to see it, and they will enjoy it, and they will go and see the future films as well. But sadly they are likely to be left with a feeling that it wasn’t quite as good as all that came before it.