My Hobbit Review:
Ok,..this is only my first viewing and I did not see it at High Frame rate, nor 3D. Those are just bells and whistles, imho, and wouldn't impact my feelings on the story so I will not talk about that.
I did not like alot of the scenes used to tie into the LotR trilogy and thought that most of it should of been held until the second film. I think it made Bilbo's journey feel much more trivial compared to Sauron's return, and split my attention needlessly.
I liked all the scenes inside Bilbo's home. I thought we coulda used more Shire stuff, even though I know Jackson covered alot of that in the first film.
Radagast could have been left out entirely, or at least,..shortened his on screen time. Aside from his first introduction I didn't need the whole sled chasing scene.
The Troll scene worked well up until the end. It may of well been in the book, but I felt Gandalf saves people just a tad too much and too convenient. I would of rather Bilbo do as he talked about in Fellowship, when telling his story to the Children. That is,..chat them up and confuse them long enough to distract them, maybe lead them to a spot where Gandalf lay in wait to push( not split) a boulder down revealing the sunlight.
I loved the flashback history footage. The sacking of Erebor and Dale. I liked how he set up that tension between Thorin and Thranduil which plays into the Mirkwood and Battle of the Five Armies.
I especially liked the Azog( the pale Orc) stuff, which is all in the books, but really,.I am a bit torn on whether they needed him to be alive and chasing Thorin around. I understand why they did it,..but I feel Thorin's own pride and inner demons are enough that we don't need a 'physical' demon.
They could of had the Goblin King, who died in almost as lame a way as Darth Maul, be the one who chases them up the trees and has a standoff.
Speaking of which, GoblinTown was a spectacle to be sure. It was a bit over the top when the dwarves were sliding miles down a stone tube, as well as falling 300 feet on a scaffolding at the end. I wished they made more of a deal about what that place was and who was the Goblin King.
I digress here for a moment and bring up a pet peeve I have with this sort of thing. Example: in the original Star wars, we all knew the Millennium Falcon,..we knew the ships, they had purpose and names. Cut to Phantom Menace and I can't name one ship. It was just a gaggle, as if someone's concept book spilled into the render machine.
Rivendel was almost grueling to me. It seemed forced and, as mentioned,..all this posturing about Sauron's return got a bit heavy handed. Again..I wanted this first film to be about Bilbo's journey from his perspective.
I liked Bilbo's character. I'm glad he is not just another Frodo. This Bilbo is much more proactive. He Wants to be on an Adventure. He has that curiosity And yes, there are alot of Dwarves, and it is tough to give each their own screentime, but I think his focus on Thorin and a few other's was done well. Perhaps in the later films we will explore the others more.
I know the eagles save them in the book, but I can't help but roll my eyes and feel the need to defend their actions to friends who, especially from the Lotr, constantly ask why do they help them and why they don't just fly them to their destination.
They touch on some nice relatable emotions but either get sidetracked to foreshadow Sauron or some overblown action scene. Emotions such as Bilbo's realization to get out of his shell and see the world, the plight of the homeless dwarves, and Bilbo's acceptance and respect earned from the Dwarves. I feel if they dialed these traits up just slightly more it would of given the film more resonance.
All in all, I liked the film, and will definitely see it again. I did not mind one bit that it was almost 3 hours long, I just wished they organized those 3 hours better.