The latest instalment of Peter Jackson’s second trilogy sees the young hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) continue his epic adventure alongside Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his company of 13 dwarves.
Picking up from where the previous film left off, the companions leave the Carrock and set out eastwards on a quest to rid their former mountain kingdom of Smaug the Dragon, who lies encamped within.
With Ian McKellen’s Oscar-nominated Gandalf preoccupied with the rise of a mysterious necromancer, the band of adventurers make their way unaided through the deadly forest of Mirkwood and on towards Lake-Town where they prepare for the final leg of their journey to the Lonely Mountain. It is there that the unlikely hero Baggins has to honour his contract with the dwarves and help them to banish the seemingly invincible Smaug from their ancient stronghold.
The ever-popular Benedict Cumberbatch provides a menacing dragon’s voice while Orlando Bloom makes a welcome return as Legolas to complete a strong cast of characters battling with a dazzling ensemble of fantastical creatures from JRR Tolkien’s book.
Having written the screenplay with his long-term collaborators from the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit; An Unexpected Journey, Peter Jackson retains and employs a strict formula to deliver the kind of cinema experience that satisfies both critics and the public alike.
An enthralling tale brilliantly realised.
Review by Tom Robertson