I wish I could say I came out of this movie with my concerns about the book being split into a trilogy assuaged. I really do.
I'm afraid not.
I'm left wondering why this needed to be a trilogy of nearly three hour movies, and not, say, a two parter. It definitely needed to be longer than a single movie, but right now it feels really stretched out, sometimes palpably dragging. I wasn't one of the people who thought The Fellowship of the Ring dragged when it came out, but this one had me wondering just how many wooden bridges I really needed to see a pack (a hoard? a buffet?) of dwarves run across. I also wondered why the hell we needed two prologues, one of which (regarding Thorin) would have been better served by being described during the story I think.
There was a lot about the movie that I loved, though. I though Martin Freeman was great as Bilbo. I almost died of squee during the riddles in the dark sequence. While I still have no idea what half the dwarves are named, at least some of them (other than Brooding Dwarf -- I mean Thorin) really stand out and have very distinctive personalities so I could keep track of them. And shockingly I was very glad to see some of the additional scenes, such as the conversation between Saruman, Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel. That was very cool, and I enjoyed seeing more character development and the foreshadowing of things to come. (Also, anyone else find themselves wondering what might be between Gandalf and Galadriel?)
One small but important thing I'm very excited about is that two of the songs from the book made it in at least. I wish there could have been more of the singing, once they got away from the hobbit hole. Songs are such a major part of the book.
Visually, it was just as pretty as the original (if that's even the right term) trilogy. I just saw it in normal 24 fps with no 3D, and I thought that was plenty. I don't do 3D anyway since it gives me headaches, and I'm not sure if a super sharp picture would have helped anything.
I laughed, I enjoyed most of the fight scenes (until they got a little too stretched out), and I'll be happy to see the next part. I'm looking forward to hearing Benedict Cumberbatch be an evil dragon. I do hope it's more dragon-y and a less draggy.