What an epic adventure told with the clarity only Sir Peter Jackson could bring to the big screen.
The first instalment of The Hobbit trilogy was a breath-taking fantasy ride through Middle Earth.
And watching the journey in High Frame Rate 3D added a new dimension to the viewing pleasure.
Offering 48 frames per second rather than the normal 24, we are brought even closer to the action and made to feel even more involved in what we are seeing.
Apart from Sir Peter's obvious mastery, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) are the stars of the show.
Baggins is a reluctant soldier chosen by Gandalf to help a merry bunch of dwarves recapture their kingdom of Erebor from the dragon invader Smaug.
These little people, led by legendary warrior Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), are brave and fearless and determined to prevail.
Thorin cannot see why Baggins has been brought along and sees him as nothing more than a hinderance.
On their way to the Lonely Mountain, they are forced to fight off goblins and orcs, deadly wargs and giant spiders, shapeshifters and sorcerers.
They must use all their skills, and a helping of Gandalf's magic, to survive.
Their fierce battles are many and varied and violent.
The special effects wizards from Weta came into their own as thousands of goblins waged a prolonged battle with their visitors inside their mountain lair.
While this was going on, Baggins made his acquaintance with Gollum and had to use the brains and commonsense Gandalf saw in him if he wanted to outwit the odd little creature.
There is no doubt about the pending commercial success of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It is a brilliant story with cinematography that takes your breath away. And there is no doubt we'll all be lining up for the second instalment.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected journey
(M) 180 minutes
Rating: 4.5 / 5