Peter Jackson's franchise-christening "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" arrives under no small amount of pressure: not only does the shadow of the impressively executed "Lord of the Rings" trilogy loom large over it, but the new film faces widespread cynicism over Jackson's decision to stretch J.R.R. Tolkien's slender children's yarn into three gargantuan films.

Sad to say, I'm not the only one to think it buckles rather catastrophically. Unexpected or otherwise, this is one dourly overextended journey, sorely missing the jaunty dramatic propulsion of the source material -- and that's before I factor in my concerns about the deadening, daytime-drama effect of the sleek but texture-draining 48fps technology. Still, the film has some ardent advocates, and not necessarily among the Tolkienite crowd, while our colleague Drew McWeeny deemed it a qualified success. So I'm very curious to know what you make of it -- in any frame rate. Do share your thoughts in the comments.

Guy Lodge is a South African-born critic and sometime screenwriter. In addition to his work at In Contention, he is a freelance contributor to Variety, Time Out, Empire and The Guardian. He lives well beyond his means in London.