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OK, I know that some of you out there are anticipating the release of Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” more eagerly than the Second Coming, and for you, here’s the short review: If you liked Jackson’s first three “Lord of the Rings” movies, you’ll love this one, too.

For the less committed, it’s a hard call: based on the 1937 novel by fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is the first in another marathon three-film excursion into epic swords and sorcery territory. Should the casual fan take the plunge?

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