New trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - the dragon terrifies Bilbo Baggins

The second film in the trilogy, released in cinemas this December, sees the Dwarves make an uneasy treaty with the Elves

The first film in Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy was less warmly received than the director's Lord of the Rings movies, suffering criticism for its substantial running time and numerous tangential plotlines.

But the trailer for the second instalment, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, promises a more action-packed motion picture this time around.

In the clip, Martin Freeman's character Bilbo Baggins is seen lying to Ian McKellen's Gandalf about his discovery of the One Ring, while the wizard warns about the rise of Sauron's forces.

The trailer also shows Bilbo's terrifying encounter with Smaug the dragon in the Lonely Mountain, the former home of the Dwarves.

"Truly, the tales and songs fall utterly short of your enormity, O Smaug the stupendous," the unseen Bilbo tells the dragon.

Smaug replies: "Well thief, where are you? Come now, don't be shy. Step into the light," later sending plumes flame at the screen.

Elsewhere, Orlando Bloom returns as Legolas, with an apparent love interest in Evangeline Lilly's Tauriel, and the Dwarves seek help from their old enemies, the Elves.

The first Hobbit film, An Unexpected Journey, grossed more than one billion dollars worldwide. However, it didn't perform as well as The Lord of The Rings in the UK.

Last year, it finished fourth in the yearly UK box office rundown behind Skyfall, The Dark Knight Rises and Marvel's Avengers. In 2002, The Two Towers narrowly beat Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to take the British box office crown. A year later, The Return of the King flattened Finding Nemo to finish first.