No story, but I loved those spiders

A friend mentioned to me recently she had never seen any of the Lord Of The Rings movies. Not very patriotic, she said.

Well, maybe. I am not much better.

I slept through all three of them, two in our lounge, one at a movie theatre, the first one, everyone there tremendously excited, except me.

I was snoring.

But I like Peter Jackson.

More than that, I love the man, his early splatter movie made on Sunday afternoons with left-over film from his friends in the business.

Bad Taste and the later Braindead were both brilliant. I watched them with pride in my eyes. And that wasn't patriotism.

I went and saw The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug just before Christmas.

Not the 3-D version, I don't see 3-D with one eye, but I could tell it would be pretty damn yeowww if I had two eyes and could see those 3-D spiders and the hobble dragon coming at me every which way.

The opening scene when Jackson himself walked across the screen was, however, magic, no matter how many Ds you use.

But after that?

Full disclosure - I have never read Tolkien.

It wasn't what I read as a child and it isn't what I feel I should read now to correct a missed piece of literary bonding.

The only thing I wanted to know about the Rings movies was how long would they take.

Same with The Hobbit.

161 minutes. Good grief.

The day before I saw Alan Partridge Alpha Papa.

Ninety minutes. And funny too.

Our older grandson loves The Hobbit.

He also likes to battle with his younger brother at all times, using anything that could possibly be turned into a weapon.

He particularly enjoys the cardboard cylinders they use for wrapping paper.

The weeks leading up to Christmas were a constant joy for him.

Wham, whap, wham, whappa whappa, WHAM, do you have any more cardboard cylinders, granddad?

The Hobbit did this for 161 minutes.

It was a 161-minute fight in a wide variety of venues involving weapons of all kinds, including fire from the mouth, lava from a furnace, spiders the size of pandas and a whole lot of tremendously accurate shooting from bows and arrows.

I won't reveal the ending because it didn't have one, just a metaphorical reminder there is one more Hobbit movie to come in the trilogy.

Did I mention that Wikipedia mentions that the first Hobbit movie did over a billion dollars at the box office?

And that 100,000 people turned out in Wellington's Courtenay Pl for the premiere?

The Desolation of Smaug, therefore, is possibly being seen as something of a weaker link, having done only $226 million by mid-December.

Presumably the budget was about that. But that is so far.

I didn't mind the movie really, and I didn't fall asleep at any stage, and I have fallen asleep in some pretty highly rated movies in my time.

I could be churlish and say Sir Ian McKellen took about 10 minutes to walk across the cobblestones of Coronation Street when they had him there eight years ago, he was not a young man, but he is even older now, 74, and he is scaling precipices and mountains like a Texas jack rabbit.

As well as fighting almost as aggressively as my grandson.

Does CGI stand for Climbing Grandiose Installations?

Some reviewers picked up on the relentless combat at the expense of wafer-thin character development.

One reviewer on IMDB said it was made for 15-year-old boys.

I did whisper to the mother of the 10-year-old we took, when suddenly there was an elf flirting with a dwarf, that maybe Jackson was having a lash at a romcom, but she said I was barking up the wrong mountain.

Then her daughter told her off for talking.

I will go and see the third Hobbit movie.

Because it will have an ending, and because they promised in the second one there would be more spiders, and to slip seamlessly into Orc language, oi lubyug pilag pishfong (''I love spiders in movies'').

• Roy Colbert is a Dunedin writer.

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