Warning: Spoiler Alert
So, I had the afternoon off after going to an interview earlier, so I went to see The Hobbit (you can't really beat a $5 movie in the theater). I didn't really go into it with high hopes, since I had still managed to get a vibe that it wasn't terribly fantastic, even with my phobia about spoilers.
Plus, there was the fact that Evangeline Lilly was in it, and she had two things going against her from the word jump: I have never cared for her, and I tend to lean toward being a Tolkien purist. But I was kind of surprised by the fact that I not only didn't have a problem with the addition of her character (a character that is nowhere within the legendarium), or the addition of the love triangle between her, Leggy, and Kili (something else that doesn't occur in the legendarium), but I actually kind of liked her. Sure, they changed some stuff with Kili to accommodate the addition of her character and the fact that he is now suddenly in love with her, but it felt almost like they were trying to tie The Hobbit movies to LotR (via Gimli being bonkers over Galadriel). My purist leanings were a bit bothered by the fact that there are four dwarves that are not at the Lonely Mountain (and who are instead in Lake Town) at the end of the film (especially since shit is going down).
I will admit hat I had a bit of a squee over the Easter Eggs that appeared in the film ... like PJ showing up in Bree (a la FotR, complete with carrot), Stephen Colbert in Lake Town (which I might have missed if I hadn't been prepared for it), and Leggy talking crap about Gimili to Glóin. Plus, I did nerd out a little over the fact that Gandy and Radagast visited the grave of the Witch King, and Gandy talked about the fact that Sauron was calling the Nine to him. Yes, complete set up for LotR, and not something that actually happened in The Hobbit, but it still made me happy.
That being said, I am not entirely sure as to why this film was called The Desolation of Smaug, when the fight with Smaug (and the destruction of Lake Town) isn't going to happen until the next film. Keeping the fight with him until the next film makes it feel like there's going to be a rush to get through the next one, since they still have to have Bard kill him with the black arrow, and there's still the Battle of the Five Armies. Bilbo getting back home is still needed as well, but there isn't necessarily a whole lot that is needed to be shown with that. But the death of Smaug and the Battle of Five Armies are two pretty huge things to leave for the end (and that's not even counting the fact that they still need to get all of the dwarves back together again as well ... and get Gandalf back with the gang, who is trapped again at the top of a tower. Can he get through either trilogy without getting trapped? Seriously); it almost feels like having two finales instead of pacing it.
I was also expecting there to be a little bit more with Beorn than there was. There was so little of him in the film that it almost didn't seem necessary to add him, and he almost could have gone the way of Tom Bombadil. As it was, it felt like the only point of adding him was to make sure that the dwarves got ponies for a portion of their journey (so, he really was the Bombadil of this trilogy), but the ponies were only use for all of three seconds.
I kept wanting to shake Thorin, especially when he started talking crap about Bilbo (calling him "The Burglar," instead of Bilbo. This bothered me more out of the fact that at the end of An Unexpected Journey, he had finally seemed to accept (and respect) Bilbo, but the gold fever had wormed it's way into his head far too far by the time that they actually made it to the Lonely Mountain.