10 December 2012 3:09 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The film of Tolkien's classic will take us back to a happier, simpler time

Dragons, dwarfs, magical rings and benevolent wizards: Britain is about to embark on a quest for escapism. As the first film in Peter Jackson's trilogy based on Jrr Tolkien's epic, The Hobbit, premieres on Wednesday, millions of cinemagoers are ready to believe that trolls are real, trees can talk and many of our most venerated actors, from Ian Holm to Barry Humphries, are only four feet tall.

But it's not the fantasy that draws us, it's the nostalgia. We will be, in Tolkien's words, "walking in a world that was no more" – back in the Shire, a rural idyll where village folk ride on ponies and no one ever need worry about locking the front door of their burrow.

Martin Freeman, who plays Bilbo, the eponymous hobbit, is perfectly cast: he epitomises our national combination of decency and derring-do. »

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