I’ve blabbed about this on Twitter, Facebook, and NeoGAF, so I’ll just copy/paste what I wrote in NeoGAF and might add a sentence or two. Since I don’t like to avoid spoilers, here is a SPOILER WARNING.
It’s been a long time since I read the book, but I remember liking it. However, I did not like this movie.
I was surprised, albeit bloodless, things like a decapitated head were shown. I was not expecting that nor did I remember it from the book. I looked up a list of changes because since it’s been so long, I could simply not remember properly, and it doesn’t specify any kind of beheading or lack thereof just comments on the generally invented arc of Azog being alive and wanting revenge as “It also transforms a children’s story into an unnecessarily violent action film.”
Radagast was not something I remembered either, and he was so involved in a couple of sequences I thought I’d forgotten EVERYTHING but turns out, all that wasn’t in the book either; he had merely been mentioned in passing in the book.
I liked the first 2 of the 3 LotR movies but was never able to finish the first book. I guess what I don’t like about this movie is that expects me as a viewer to have a certain level of liking for Middle Earth and Tolkien that I don’t. I like the works on a moderate scale but not to the point that I welcome splitting a nice book like The Hobbit into 3 movies so I can get more of an LotR prologue instead of just enjoying The Hobbit.
A lot of the additions and changes did not strike me as improvements for helping making the movie better.
I didn’t have high expectations as I was already miffed that it was being split into 3 movies, but I was still disappointed.
The Hobbit’s story is good enough to stand on its own merits, and while undoubtedly many disagree, I felt that all these changes detract from, rather than enhance, that story by making it needlessly long.