Before I get too far into this, I want to warn everyone I will be putting up some potential spoilers. There's just a few things I have to get off my chest about this movie.
I would consider myself a HUGE fan of both The Hobbit and The LOTR trilogy. I am also a HUGE fan of the movies for LOTR, despite the changes in story/characters/etc. Since I knew they had planned three movies for The Hobbit (something difficult considering the length of the book compared to LOTR), I knew I needed to keep an open mind going in. And for the most part, I'd say I enjoyed the movie. There are a few key things however, that still bother me. (SPOILERS AHEAD)
Principal of these errors (for me anyway) is the change in how Bilbo found the ring. In the book, Bilbo found himself in intense darkness that was Gollum's cave. The ring had abandoned Gollum some time before, hoping to find another way back home. It was only as Bilbo was stumbling around in the dark (confused and scared) that he found the ring. In the movie, they make the event much more dramatic (and obvious). In my mind, it lessens the impact and makes it too scripted.
The riddle-game also lacked the characterization Tolkien built into the scene. In the book, Gollum is torn between his excitement at playing games with someone else and his desire to eat Bilbo. It's a very obvious thing, shown by how far away he starts out from Bilbo and how much closer he tries to come. The tension is palpable. In the movie, they start with it as Gollum gets really excited over a game. But then for some reason, that conflict is lost. It's really too bad, because they spent so much time in the LOTR movies showing his remaining humanity (or hobbit-ness) and they could have done the same thing here.
The last gripe I have is regarding the Goblin King. Now I don't know about the rest of you but for me, the Goblin King was a figure of power and terror for the dwarves. His voice was deep and booming. In the movie, the figure they drew was lame and completely unimpressive. The voice they used was so pitiful as to make you wonder how he could ever command anyone. And I REALLY don't get the huge chin/neck bulge dangling below his face.
The other things added in (i.e. Radagast's story, the start of the Necromancer's tale, the albino orc leader, etc) are what I expected given three movies for this book. But some things really shouldn't be changed in my mind. It's the same type of mistake that made me cringe when Arwen controlled the waters of Rivendell rather than her father.
In the end, I guess I still enjoyed the movie overall. I am still looking forward to the next two. I just hate having some of my fears confirmed, particularly with a book I enjoy so much. If you're still here with me and have already seen the film, what did you think? Am I being overly critical or were there things that bugged you too?