Opinions on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey are like those bookends that came with the collector's edition of The Fellowship of the Ring. Lots of people have 'em, but no one knows quite what to do with them.
Jason and I had very different takes The Hobbit. We both agreed the 48fps tech is a bust, but Jason found the film to be perfectly fun, if a saddled with some pacing problems. From his largely positive review:
Like Fellowship of the Ring, An Unexpected Journey has to set much of the stage for what we'll see in the next two movies, and it does this well: I can't wait to see what will happen with the dragon, or the shape-shifter Beorn, or the battle of five armies. But Hobbit stands out for one reason—none of the protagonists in Lord of the Rings have held a candle to Freeman's Bilbo. And it is Bilbo, the smallest character in this very large movie, whose simple acts make The Hobbit a spectacle well worth watching.
I, on the other hand, thought the whole thing was overly fan-servicey and tension-free, like a video game, in a bad way:
I was sorely disappointed by The Hobbit. What could have been a bittersweet, lighthearted return to Middle Earth feels instead like a self-indulgent faux epic, drowning in bloated spectacle and unearned sentiment. It was almost exactly as satisfying and dramatically engaging as watching a stranger play a video game. And there wasn't even an achievement for making it all the way through.
But that's just us. Annalee at io9 liked it, pointing out that it's a lot better thought of as a war movie. Richard Lawson at The Atlantic Wire didn't care for the film, nor did Laura Hudson at Wired. Ali Arkin at Press Play was somewhere in between, and took a considered look through the lens of the source material over at Press Play.
So many different opinions! So little time. Now that I'm guessing a big chunk of you have seen the film, I thought I'd open up some discussion. What did you think of The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey?