The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

★★★

(directed by Peter Jackson, 2013)

With Christmas hovering on the horizon, it’s once again time for a trip into Middle Earth and, since I wrote in some detail about the first instalment of The Hobbit, I don’t think I need to do too much scene-setting here. We rejoin Bilbo, Thorin and their companions exactly where we left them: on the far side of the Misty Mountains, finally within sight of the Lonely Mountain, with a warg pack on their trail. A breathless cross-country chase takes them to temporary shelter in the cottage of the skinchanger Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt) and then into the forest of Mirkwood, to the realm of the elven king Thranduil (Lee Pace, on imperious form). Beyond Mirkwood lies Laketown, the final settlement before the Lonely Mountain; and then there is only the mountain itself to challenge them, as they seek the hidden door that will lead them into Smaug’s domain.

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

★★★½

(directed by Peter Jackson, 2012)

On a chilly evening last Sunday in Leicester Square, waiting for the doors of the Odeon to open, I found it hard to believe that eleven years have passed since The Fellowship of the Ring came out. A fair amount has happened in those years, but in this moment they ceased to exist: the prospect of spending an evening in Peter Jackson’s version of Middle Earth made me feel as if I were sixteen years old all over again.

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Sherlock: Seasons 1 and 2

Sherlock

★★★★½

How on earth did I manage to miss the first season of Sherlock?  Mark Gatiss’s and Stephen Moffat’s sleek, modern take on Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories has been catapulted into the stratosphere of cult shows over the last few months.  I feel very much like a latecomer at the party.  Over the Christmas holidays I watched the first and last episodes of Series 2, which was enough to get me absolutely hooked.  After watching The Reichenbach Fall, I spent hours reading through comments on news websites, trying to figure out how he did ‘it’.  My wonderful parents bought me the Series 1 and 2 boxset for my birthday and, since then, I’ve been luxuriating in this marvellous programme, which has rekindled the kind of geekish fervour I previously reserved for The Lord of the Rings.

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