A pre-Christmas outing to the cinema this afternoon to see Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey. I went with an assortment of young things and an adult. I should immediately note that the assortment of young things were unanimous in their approval and enjoyment. However, said adult and I were unanimous in our disappointment and tempered enjoyment. I suspect the reason for this is in some considerable part because we two adults had actually read Tolkien’s original (I don’t think any of the young things had). Turning a blind eye to the relative brevity of the original tale, most of the reviews I have read have been positive, if not glowing, and strangely accommodating of what must be one of the slowest starts in a modern film. It is fully three-quarters of an hour before Bilbo Baggins’s journey actually gets under way and by the end of the film we have only reached the sixth of Tolkien’s nineteen original chapters. Moreover, the film critics seem strangely ready to accept the fact that if you are going to make an epic trilogy out of a short book then inevitably the story is going to be a bit baggy. To be fair, I thought Jackson did justice to Tolkien in his portrayal of the famous riddle game between Bilbo and Gollum, and I said this to the assorted young things. ‘That was the most boring bit in the film,’ they said ‘and it went on for far too long.’ Quite.