The film off the Hobbit has opened to mixed but generally favourable reviews. Having seen it in 3D I would award it an excellent rating. The critics seem to have honed in on a few points - the length of the film, that the story takes a while to get going and the use of high speed 3D.
The first two points are related. By making use of the other writings of Tolkien, particularly the appendixes of the Lord of the Rings, the film is able to fill in the background information to the dwarfs quest.
This actually makes the film easier to follow and is to be welcomed in my view. The film takes a while to 'get going' because the book takes a while to get going, but the early chapters of the hobbit are brilliantly imagined - keeping faithful to Tolkiens story without allowing the very childish passages of the book to change the tone of the film.
The bewildered Bilbo Baggins as the dwarfs ransack his larder is played to perfection. Of course it it difficult to distinguish all 14 dwarfs - but it is thus in the book and the film does a better job than the book does !
The film is largely faithful to the book, with the usual cinematic licence needed to convert what is on the page into something on the screen.
The encounter with the trolls is comic, and that with the goblins scary and that with Gollum deeply moving. It is striking that Gollum comes across so sympathetically and one feels for a creature who is actually - only an animation. Definitely a highlight of the film.
It is great to see Radaghast the Brown given some scenes and these add to the arc of the story, especially as in years to come people will watch the hobbit followed by the extended version of the Lord of the Rings.
I didn't watch in the high speed version so i can't comment on that but The 3d effects are used sparingly and effectively. I particularly enjoyed the eagles in flight and the various birds and butterflies flitting out into mid air.
The only worrying note - the great Goblin reminded me of the late astronomer Patrick Moore.