Reading the reviews it was hard to know what to expect from this movie. I decided to arm myself with a super size menu of popcorn and Coke, forget about the reviews and just enjoy the ride.
For a movie that has a runtime of almost 3 hours it doesn't feel long or boring. It has a rather slow beginning where we get to know the dwarves as they gather at Bilbo's home in Hobbiton and we get a lot of background story of why the hell these dudes want to go on a journey and risk their lives to try and defeat the mighty dragon Smaug in the Lonely Mountain. After that the movie quickly picks up pace and there is a lot of action and fighting going on along the way.
We meet the 3 trolls, we get to visit the elves and Sauroman in Rivendell, we see a few nasty spiders in the woods, there's a Necromancer and there are lots of orcs and wargs. We meet many familiar characters from The Lord of the Rings [2001-2003] including Gollum. In fact this first Hobbit movie does a very fine job of merging The Hobbit with LOTR.
I am not really sure if it contains any material from "The Silmarillion" or if The Hobbit will even contain any of this at all or if The Hobbit movies only include some of the material from the LOTR appendixes. I read The Silmarillion very long ago and I am not going to repeat that experience as it is a very annoying book to read. I am however going to read The Hobbit again in the near future and quite possibly the LOTR appendixes to try and see exactly how many of the details Jackson & co. invented for this movie.
I don't know if Peter Jackson and his co-writers have actually listened to the criticism of LOTR, but it seems that Sauron hasn't been able to turn all male characters into ultra metro-sexual beings yet. In fact I think most of Middle Earth was gay in LOTR.
The movie works fine in 2D, so if you think that 3D is a scam, like I do, then there is no problem skipping the 3D experience and the stupid glasses and just enjoy the story instead. It is however a good idea to move to the back of the cinema. The camera spins around a lot and it will be annoying if you are too near the screen.
Like I said there is tons of action going on in the movie. Unfortunately a lot of it is shown like they did in LOTR 1 and 2. This means super fast camera movement with lots of spins and quickly shifting camera angles. It is a shame because it's hard to see what the hell is going on. They did a much better job in LOTR 3 and so it is a shame that they have now messed it up again. Every movie director should see Braveheart  twice a day to learn how a sword movie should be filmed.
The movie may not feel too long, but it is. It could have been tightened and shortened. Of course we would get the long version later on bluray anyway, but for the cinema a little less would have been better, I think. That said, most of the people complaining about the length of the movie are probably the same ones who never read or liked the book and people who had the same problem with LOTR. So if you didn't like LOTR or felt very bored watching it, then you should probably stay far away from The Hobbit.
The movie ends with Smaug wakening in his lair in his hoard of gold. I am up for the next ride: bring on part 2, bring on the dragon!