Neither there nor back again. This movie could easily be compressed into just a few scenes, and adds little to the overall telling of the story of the Hobbit.
But who cares? It’s worth the price of admission to be transported back to Middle Earth for another two hours and forty minutes, even as much of the film is spent building anticipation and dread for the titular dragon we meet, at last, in the final reel.
There are a number of horror flourishes at play here, lots of jump moments – it’s not a movie for kids to watch: darker than the original LOTR trilogy, but it’s an enjoyable ride. Freeman is excellent at playing Bilbo Baggins, showing a level of nuance I’ve never seen from him before.
Looking forward to the final instalment: spending the extra couple of hours in Middle Earth this time around made me realise why director Peter Jackson made the decision to take the title of a short, well-known book, and stretch it out so far.
If you’re a fan of Peter Jackson or of Tolkien, you know you’re going to see it.