Sweeping landscapes, distant fires, dwarves, dragons and treasure hunts…all in 3D. Can you ask for more?

Get ready for the patter of padded feet once again. Those hairy humanoids, the Hobbits, are back with their large, colourful supporting cast of villains, warriors, orcs and that troublesome golden ring on which hung the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Happily for director Peter Jackson, author J.R.R. Tolkien wrote an earlier companion volume titled The Hobbit, which lends itself to yet another cinematic trilogy (how fortuitous is that?). In a smart move that the Batman franchise would approve of, Jackson has set out to give us the back story to the LOTR saga with The Hobbit in three annual instalments: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey; The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, to be released next year; and The Hobbit: There and Back Again, which will release in 2014.

The first is the story of how Bilbo Baggins — uncle of Frodo Baggins, the central character of the LOTR trilogy — chances upon the Ring. He gets possession of it when he first meets the part-man, part-amphibian, largely animated creature Gollum (who is actually a different kind of Hobbit).

On the bidding of the wizard Gandalf, Bilbo has set out to reclaim the lost Dwarf kingdom of Erebor, which was conquered by the gold-loving dragon Smaug. There’s also a treasure to be retrieved (but of course), so Bilbo and his band of 13 dwarves get a warrior, Thorin Oakenshield, to lead them on their mission.

If you’ve seen the LOTR trilogy and you wouldn’t mind another big dose of hobbits and orcs and Gollum and the sound of those strange names that are evocative of worlds unseen, you should enjoy this movie. Especially since you pretty much know what you’re in for.

With quite a few members of the LOTR cast and crew retained, and much of the shooting done in picturesque New Zealand, there’s going to be some bit of deja vu. Sweeping landscapes, strange creatures, distant fires and deep earth-rumbles, with that ring hanging over the heir heads. Except that it will all be in 3D now and as much of spectacle that cinema and technology can give you.

The Hobbit

Cast: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Christopher Lee, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, Andy Serkis

Director: Peter Jackson

Releases: December 14

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