New York paper breaks Hobbit embargo with broadly positive review

Warner threat lurks behind preview goers Geraldine Burnett & Seeby Woodhouse

A New York Daily News reporter has published a story packed full of opinions about the first movie in The Hobbit trilogy - or a review, if you will.

The 850 people who saw the premiere in Wellington are not allowed to review or even comment on the film until its public release December 4. (NBR has criticised the restriction as a craven kowtow to Warner Bros rather than a serious news embargo. No NBR staff attended the screening.)

Daily News' Ethan Sacks calls The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, "Lighter and funnier than its Lord of the Rings predecessors."

The film "runs rings around most special-effects driven blockbusters," Mr Sacks writes.

He is enthused about its special effects: "The movie offers technological wizardry, thanks to a 48 frames-per-second format, twice the industry standard. Critics who saw a trailer earlier this year were unimpressed, but after a minute or two of adjusting, the higher resolution is eye-popping, similar to discovering HD television for the first time."

But he is not unrelentingly positive.

"Like all unexpected journeys, there are a few pitfalls along the way, most notably the tangential subplot surrounding bumbling wizard Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy), whose buffoonery at times descends into Jar Jar Binks territory," Mr Sacks writes, referring to a much-maligned, over-egged character often accused of ruining the second Star Wars trilogy. 

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