Alan Dee’s film preview: For Smaug’s sake, how much more of this is there?

All right, where were we? Bilbo is a hobbit, Smaug is a dragon – do we really need to go on?

Yes, it’s time for another interminable episode of Tolkein tosh, as if we haven’t already suffered enough.

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

A slim children’s book has been split and stretched across a tortuous trilogy, and after spending more than two hours watching main man Martin Freeman getting dressed and leaving the house in the first episode here’s your chance to spend another 160 minutes of your life following his progress.

And if you like this sort of thing, there’s plenty more where that came from – the third and final instalment is slated for release next year.

You can probably tell by the tone here that I’ve never had much patience with fantasy fiction in print or on screen, and I blame Tolkein for kicking off the whole overblown genre of goblins and wizards and who knows what else.

I am mildly interested to note that the star-studded cast includes both Freeman and his Sherlock oppo Benedict Cumberbatch.

Here the tables are turned because Freeman has the title role and versatile Ben is the baddy of the piece, although you could say that his dragon character gets a nod in that complicated title, too.

There’s lots more lovely location work in far-off New Zealand for Peter Jackson’s pointy hat rep company including Ian McKellen and Orlando Bloom, and there are also roles for the likes of Stephen Fry and Cate Blanchett.

Fans of the Lord Of The Rings series will doubtless be delighted, but everyone else will be nodding off as the quest unfolds.