It’s difficult to recall now, but there was a time back in 2001 when it was far from certain that Peter Jackson could deliver everything his adaptation of The Lord of the Rings promised. A broadly faithful reading of Tolkien’s text matched with sumptuous visuals and a dynamism that could convert even the most fantasy-averse punter? Impossible! That he proved all the naysayers wrong has been largely overlooked since he drowned in the tsunami of awards that were subsequently thrown in his direction. Since then, he has taken a few knocks for his (some would say) overly reverential remake of King Kong and flawed adaptation of The Lovely Bones, so there was more than a little deja vu in the run up to the release of this first chapter of what is now a trilogy based on The Hobbit. Expectations were sky high: could he deliver the goods again?