Did I like the film? Yes.
Did I like it as well as any of 'the Lord of the Rings' films? No.
The entire time I was watching it I kept thinking: “That’s not in the book.” “That’s not in the book.” “That’s not in the book.” “That’s not in the book.” “That’s not in the book.”
See the pattern there?
I’m actually shocked at the shameless way that Peter Jackson and Co. are beefing up the Hobbit book. I mean, the book is 300 pages! And they make THREE, three-hour films out of it? Holy shit. That’s like making three, three-hour films out of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ (which was also around 300 pgs).
There were things about the movie that I loved. Smaug the dragon is probably the best movie dragon ever. Amazing CG and with the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch he’s like the evil version of Sean Connery’s Draco (from ‘Dragonheart’). But again, the majority of Smaug’s scenes were completely made up by Jackson. There’s even a beyond-necessarily long scene involving a big foundry in Erebor (the dwarves’ kingdom) that results in a strange scene with a giant golden statue that’s halfway solidified.
I really liked the ‘skin-changer’ character Beorn in the book. He wasn’t as interesting in the film as I was hoping he would be. His giant bear form was cool, but in his human form he looked sort of like Lon Chaney (the Wolfman).
I really liked the shadowy figure of the Necromancer (SPOILER: it’s Sauron, the baddie from LOTR, but you probably already knew that). He’s about the only addition to the movies that I enjoy (although I also enjoyed seeing where Gandalf went off to in the first Hobbit film, which is only alluded to in the Hobbit book). I think the Necromancer is only mentioned in about two throwaway sentences in the book. Here it’s explained more who the bigwigs (the White Council) think he is.
The elven king of Mirkwood, Thranduil, is pretty cool, a very cold and severe king. There’s an interseting scene with Thorin where he allows his face to revert (I guess) to show that he was once burned by a dragon ages ago.
Luke Evans as Bard the Bowman looks like Orlando Bloom which isn’t bad. It was just off-putting. I kept thinking he was Bloom. But it’s weird that Bloom is even in this flick... because Legolas is not in the book. (But Legolas IS the son of Thranduil, who IS in the book... and really Legolas probably would have been in the book, too, had Tolkien invented his character at the time. In all honesty, it’s only mentioned in LOTR that Legolas is Thranduil’s son as a tie to the original Hobbit book.)
And there’s a new female elf named Tauriel, who is cool in her own right, but she was given a really, really stupid love triangle between Legolas and Kili the dwarf. I heard that this addition was asked for by the MGM studio (good job, morons) and that Jackson had to reluctantly do it. Evangeline Lilly, the actress who plays Tauriel, was apparently pissed about this because she played a character on the TV show ‘Lost’ who was in a love triangle, too. (I don’t know for sure as I never got into that stupid show.)
I liked seeing Peter Jackson’s cameo at the beginning of the film in Bree, in a similar cameo to his in ‘Fellowship of the Ring’.
The Laketown scenes are ok, but I felt there was a lot more that they could have done.
I honestly have no idea what the third Hobbit film will be like as the actual storyline from the Hobbit book is almost over. All they’ve got is the killing of Smaug and then the Battle of Five Armies. The filmmakers could probably cover it in about 20 minutes, but knowing Jackson, he’ll probably push it to like 90 minutes... but what will the other 90 minutes involve? I have no idea. Perhaps because there won’t be much to compare to the original novel, that I’ll like it more than the first two Hobbit films.
Here's a good article expressing how I felt about some of the scenes: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/seth-abramson/the-top-5-most-prepostero_b_4446500.html