(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.