Jackson’s LOTR films have a nice line in prologues, and The Hobbit doesn’t disappoint on that front, as it tells the story of how Thorin’s grandfather Thror ended up losing Erebor - a vast kingdom-cum-goldmine - to a greedy dragon.
An impressive mini-story, it manages to establish the Dwarvish way of life, reveal how Thror is corrupted by his love of gold, and incorportate a fierily immediate dragon attack in the space of mere moments.
And throughout the sequences, Smaug the dragon is barely even glimpsed, save for a skyward silhouette, a claw here and there, and flames. Lots of flames.
It’s an astonishing sequences, and one that has us salivating at the thought of getting a proper look at Smaug in action in later installments.
The prologue also plays host to the obligatory Peter Jackson cameo, though as the beardy auteur blends in so well with his Dwarvish cohorts, he’s not the easiest to spot.