3 December 2012 10:51 PM, PST | Pop2it | See recent Pop2it news »

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" won't open until Dec. 14, but the first reviews are already in and they're ... mixed.

Critics generally agree that Peter Jackson's return to the realm of J.R.R. Tolkien lives up to the technical achievements of his Oscar-winning mega-hit "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. But with a bloated running time of 174 minutes (the end credits alone are 16 minutes!) for what is just the first film in a brand new trilogy, there's also a consensus that "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" isn't exactly swift on its oversized feet.

Star Martin Freeman (of the original U.K. "The Office" and the current BBC "Sherlock") is often cited as a strength, along with co-star Andy Serkis who reprises his motion-capture "Rings" role as Gollum.

Here's a taste of what critics are saying:

"'The Hobbit' alternately rewards and abuses [audience] appetite for all things Middle-earth. While Peter Jackson's prequel to »

- editorial@zap2it.com

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