Last night I attended the midnight premiere of "The Hobbit". I arrived at the theaters at around 11:00 PM to make sure I got a good seat and then waited for an hour for 15 minutes of previews to start. After this the movie finally started and then it finished up at around 3 AM.
Needless to say, it was a long night.
The Hobbit begins with scenes highly reminiscent of "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"; in fact, early on in the movie there is a scene that is an exact recreation of a scene from The Fellowship of the Ring. This was fun, and people who have been longtime fans of the films will appreciate this.
The introduction to the movie is long. I would guess we don't start our adventure until close to 30 minutes into the movie. I've never had a problem with long introductions, but for some people, this may have been a bit too much. The story progresses very fluidly I felt, but there were so many subplots that you sometimes got lost in all the was happening. Also, this "impending doom" that was coming to Middle Earth was a topic that kept getting brought up, but everyone knows what this is, so I'm not sure why this message kept getting repeated.
Acting-wise, the cast is stellar. I can't think of a single performance that disappointed me. All the dwarves were casted wonderfully, Martin Freeman as Bilbo was perfect, and Ian McKellen returns to play the role that got him an Oscar. There were other cameos that may have been unnecessary in this movie, but their presence pleased fans and added to the story overall.
The cinematography was fantastic. I was drooling over the beautiful extreme wides portraying the landscapes and mountainous region of middle-earth. The fluidity of the cinematography is evident is every aspect of this movie. We seamlessly flow between the wides showing our adventurers traveling and the close-ups showing the true emotions on the character's faces. The film even uses several long takes that really show the great pacing that the actors had, even before they were being cut around.
Peter Jackson did a wonderful job on his latest return to Middle Earth, and quite honestly, I can't picture anyone else making these movies any more. He is really staying true to the feel of the Lord of the Rings movies while also keeping in mind the whimsical nature that is portrayed in The Hobbit.
Overall, I'd have to say this is a must watch for anyone who has been to Middle Earth before. Technically, this movie is almost flawless, and even the slow story is damn good. Go see it.
PS- I watched it in 3D. Really well made and seamless 3D, however, I'd save the extra $5 and watch it in 2D.