"It was amazing"; "It was fantastic"; "The clarity was amazing"... Those lucky enough to see The Hobbit's premiere last night were effusive.
Those spoken to after the screening praised the beautiful New Zealand sceneries, the captivating story and were dazzled by the special effects featured in the first movie to be shot in 3D at 48 frames per second (fps).
"It was fantastic, it was very realistic. And compared to the Lord of the Rings movies it was great to see, that special effects have come a long way," Stephanie Cook said.
"It was amazing, especially the battle scenes and it left you wanting more at the end," Paul Bingham said. "The 48 fps is totally the future of movies. It takes you a couple of minutes to get used to it, but the clarity is amazing. I read the initial media criticism but I have to say: It's just fantastic."
Shihad frontman Jon Toogood agreed. "I thought Gollum was awesome, that was my favourite", but the whole movie looked amazing and sounded awesome, he said.
The new 3D format "did feel a bit voyeuristic at first but once you get used to how crystal clear it is, I think it is quite amazing. It is arresting when you first see it. It is almost like something you shouldn't really be seeing it. It's cool," he said.
The movie also got some backing from director Peter Jackson's 16-year-old daughter, Katie. "It was amazing," she said after seeing it for the first time along with the 850-strong crowd at the theatre. "It's very close to home with Lords of the Rings and I think Hobbit fans will enjoy it very much".
Another movie-goer described it as the best of fantasy put into 3D. "I don't know if it was so advanced or if it was so old, that's how I would describe it. It was just gorgeous," she said.
It would be fair to assume, that Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee, who was heavily involved in the negotiations with Warner Bros, didn't have much of a choice than loving the movie, but his praises sounded sincere.
"I thought it was fantastic. The bits you can probably most appreciate are the sound quality, that was extraordinary, and all of the technical side of it. The 48 frames per second, it's some of the best 3D ever produced, and then the story itself, I think it just captures you," he said.
"The best bit for me though was the 3000 names at the end that worked on this production."
After seeing the movie he said he was more convinced than ever that providing Government subsidies, worth close to $100m, for the movie was the right decision.
"Because you're not just investing in a film, you're investing in all the technology that goes behind it and to have the two chief executives of Warner Bros and MGM say that they have never been to a film premiere like this is just brilliant."
Many who viewed it took to Twitter to voice their opinions.
While a select group of media were able to watch ahead of the premier on the strict condition no reviews would be written until it had premiered in the United States, the satisfied audience however, took to tweeting without giving anything away to voice their enjoyment.
Hollywood director Bryan Singer said: "Just saw #Hobbit. Having some serious frame rate envy. Amazing and involving. Loved it! And @ianmckellen118, my friend, you are brilliant!"
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce called the movie "masterful".
"Really enjoyed #Hobbit Unexpected Journey world premiere. Masterful movie. Congrats Sir Peter Jackson et al. Privilege 2 be there #HobbitNZ."
Wellington blogger Kylie Klein called it "everything I could have hoped for", and also tweeted a picture from inside the Embassy of the audience giving Sir Peter Jackson and his wife Fran Walsh a standing ovation at the end.
Another New Zealander, Carter Nixon, said "I just saw and enjoyed the shit out of The Hobbit. It's great."
Although many also took to Twitter to ask about details of the film from those who saw it, the lucky few remained tight-lipped on the film - opting to stay vague until December 5.
- © Fairfax NZ News