I watched The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug last night courtesy of iTunes and Apple TV.
As with every one of Peter Jackson's depictions of Middle Earth the setting, characterisation, acting and action are all first class.
Laketown in particular stands out as a beautifully realised location with it's medieval architecture and gothic moonlit rooftop sequences a real pleasure to experience. The classic orange flames set against the blue hue of the town at night looks every bit a painting that the finest of chiaroscuro painters would have been proud of.
For all it's style (the Smaug sequences toward the end are quite special) I was left, after two and a half hours, with a real fondness for the Orcs.
I just think they look stunning. Hulking great brutes with one thing and one thing only on their mind - death.
Azog, their leader, is a fantastic specimen. He must be 7 feet tall and just the stuff of nightmares. His son Bolg is similarly horrific. Between them and their endless hordes they pursue and terrorise the good guys at every turn.
I love the Tolkien stories and I love how Peter Jackson has turned such detailed works of literature in to something quite special on screen. I was just left feeling a bit "so what" after the credits rolled.