So, I saw the fuckin' Hobbit yesterday. It was a pain in the ass, had to walk a mile through pouring rain to get to the theater, then, three hours later it was still raining. Had to walk home in it too.
First, I should probably say that I'm one of those pretentious Tolkien nuts, and that I will try to judge the movie on its own merits. However, this is an adaptation and there will be points where I can't help but compare it to the book.
The first problem I had was two minutes into the movie. The way Bilbo begins the book is a bit odd. First, he tells the story of how the dwarves lost their kingdom, and then he quotes the beginning of the actual book. I think this would have worked a lot better, had he started with what Tolkien wrote; and then once the dwarves had entered the story had them tell how Smaug took the mountain.
Then, after a long while we get to the part with the trolls. Now, in the book, Gandalf uses his powers to project his voice and change it to sound like one of the trolls, prompting an argument that lasts until daylight. I would not have had much of a problem with them changing it, only what they changed it to was so horrible. At first, I thought Bilbo was going to start the argument. I was thinking it actually might be a good idea doing it that way, to show the audience how clever Bilbo can be in a tough spot. But no, he makes them argue with him, not amongst themselves, and then Gandalf comes and saves the day. This part works a lot better if you give the credit to just one of them, not both.
I don't really know what to think about Peter Jackson's depiction of Radagast the brown. I feel as if I should be outraged and offended, but really I'm just taken aback by the whole thing. It feels as if they're making the Mayar (The wizards) to be lesser beings than they are, when really they're the third most powerful race in Tolkien's universe. I don't think the wizards (Gandalf especially) should have had any comic relief parts. They work better as mysterious figures that hold unknown amounts of power, who say cryptic things and have unclear motives. I don't say that because that's how Tolkien did it, I'm saying it because it's true, they really do work better that way. How they had Gandalf act like a nervous school boy around Galadriel, and as her subordinate; it sort of degrades Gandalf. Not only is he a superior being, he is much more solemn and stoic (or at least, should be.)
Now, for the part in which the wargs chase them up the tree and the eagles must come save them. Them coming down from the tree and fighting the orcs ruins a lot of the tension. I know I said I wouldn't compare to the book too much, but I'm sorry, I must do it again here. The way the book did it was better. They're up the tree, the wargs below. They're throwing flaming pinecones as a last resort, and now the tree's on fire. They are fucked. There is no hope left. Then at the last minute, the eagles come and save them. Very epic, in my opinion. In the movie, all that happens, but the eagles don't save them at the last minute. Thorin walks from the tree and fights the pale orc. Oh no! He is defeated! Now he will die for sure! Oh wait, Bilbo's comin' to save him. Oh, now he's defeated too. Looks like they'll both be killed. Nope, all the dwarves have jumped into the fray now. And now they've been defeated as well. Oh look! Eagles!
See what I'm trying to say here? In the book, it's short and sweet. In the movie it just feels drawn out and messy.
I'm sort of on the fence about adding this whole pale orc thing. It could be cool, and while the dragon is motivation enough for Thorin adding that other rival may not be such a bad idea. On the other hand, it's such a huge change. I think I'll wait to the second movie to form an organized opinion.
Oh, and a few little nit-picks that don't really matter much.
Galadriel wouldn't come if Saruman called. She fucking hates Saruman. And it doesn't make any sense to call her because once again, she is inferior to Gandalf. In the books, the dwarves all have beards so long they can tuck them into their belts. Some of the acting in the beginning seemed a bit cheesy to me, although I may just be crazy when it comes to that.
Now for some things I actually liked!
The effects. Holy fucking christ, the CGI in this movie was stunning. Seriously, it's like a micro version of Avatar. Even if this movie had just been utter shit, I would still have been blown away by the effects.
The songs the dwarves sing at the beginning, especially "That's what Bilbo Baggins hates." I just feel they did a really good job on these, and they pretty much took them right out of the book for once. It was really a wonderful portrayal, and actually very similar to how I imagined them while reading the books.
Gollum. If they only got one thing right in this movie, it was Gollum's part. Following the above, his effects were awe inspiring, his emotions showed perfectly. When he started to cry, I almost wanted to cry with him, the poor fellow. I actually can't remember if the part with Bilbo about to kill Gollum is in the book or not, but either way I'm glad it was in the movie. It was a very moving scene.
The part at the very end with Smaug. That was so freakin' bad ass. In the theater I swear I could feel that growl reverberating in my chest.
TL;DR: In conclusion, this movie could have been a lot worse. It was certainly better than I expected it to be. It had some faults, and a few very redeeming qualities. All in all, I give this movie a 6.5 out of 10; and I will certainly be going to see the second one.