Despite the admirable Martin Freeman, this last film of a bloated trilogy offers few departures from a tried and tested formula
It is not just a brand-new Middle Earth that Peter Jackson is creating with his latest fantasy trilogy, based increasingly loosely on JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit.
Delivering £11m between them, top titles The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Life of Pi both posted sensational holds, helping UK box office overall to achieve its fifth biggest weekend haul of 2012.
If I want to see long-form storytelling played out on a screen, I'll watch a season of Breaking Bad or Mad Men.
"Unexpected" is right, for a couple of reasons. Peter Jackson, the man who brought Lord Of The Rings to the big screen to eardrum-shattering acclaim 10 years ago, is now taking just the same approach to Tolkien's much slighter, slimmer children's book The Hobbit. It's getting expanded into three movie episodes of which this whoppingly long film is the opener.
I don't think I'd ever read a proper parody before I stumbled across Bored of the Rings.