What was once a simple tale for children has morphed into a giant tableau that simultaneously seeks to lay the groundwork for what is to come in The Lord of the Rings while existing as a story in its own right.
JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit can be viewed – not particularly accurately – as a prequel to The Lord of the Rings. In the hands of Peter Jackson, returning to the fold after almost a decade, it emerges as a crowd-pleasing extension to one of the most adored franchises in film history. Set 60 years before the events of the first three films The Hobbit sees Bilbo Baggins (played by Martin Freeman in an inspired piece of casting) accompany a band of dwarves as they embark on a journey to reclaim their lost kingdom from the dragon, Smaug.
Persuaded to undertake his mission by the wizard Gandalf (a returning Ian McKellen), Bilbo finds himself among a merry group led by fearless warrior Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage substituting for Viggo Mortensen and Sean Bean).