Peter Jackson is being hailed as a ''wizard'' but one of his characters ''descends into Jar Jar Binks territory'' one of the first Hobbit reviews out says.
While the movie has been seen by reviewers in Wellington already, a tight embargo means reviews are generally not allowed to be published until the public release on December 4 (NZ time).
But New York Daily News reviewer Ethan Sacks' take on the film is now published.
''There's only one real wizard in Middle Earth,'' he wrote, ''and it's director Peter Jackson''.
He went on to describe Wednesday's Wellington premiere as: ''An eye-popping night, from the celebrity-filled red carpet to, more important, the action on screen''.
But Sacks' wasn't all gushing, writing: ''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.''
Jar Jar Binks was a Star Wars character brought in to the later-made prequels to the franchise, and widely panned as an utter and unfunny buffoon.
On the new 48-frames-per-second technology used - twice the frame rate of most films - Sacks wrote: ''After a minute or two of adjusting, the higher resolution is eye-popping, similar to discovering HD television for the first time''.
He said The Hobbit was ''lighter and funnier'' than the Lord of the Rings trilogy but remains faithful to the world of the Rings trilogy.
''The connections abound through the two-hour-forty-minute epic, including important cameos from Andy Serkis' Gollum and Elijah Wood's Frodo.
''The result runs rings around most special-effects driven blockbusters.''
- Fairfax Media