5 December 2012 1:34 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Peter Jackson's new Tolkien adaptation opens to cautious praise from early reviewers

The first reviews have hit the web for Peter Jackson's return to Middle Earth, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – and the verdict is almost as puzzling as one of Bilbo's riddles.

While the majority of critics praise the first film in the trilogy based on Jrr Tolkien's 1937 children's novel – which was followed 17 years later by the better-known Lord of the Rings – there are considerable misgivings about the length of the movie, the decision to split the book into three films, and Jackson's determination to shoot at a controversial 48 frames per second. The film currently maintains an 82% "fresh" rating on the review aggregator site rottentomatoes.com, yet you wouldn't know it from some of the comments made in the reviews.

The Us trades, in particular, are a bit sniffy. "Spending nearly three hours of screen time to visually represent every comma, »

- Ben Child

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