Saw it last night with Dad. Consider this post spoilery.
All in all, I was disappointed - except not, because I had low expectations. It was very patchy, and clunky, and overlong.
-Like I suspected, the tone was unsure. PJ was obviously trying to make the film "match" LOTR, down to adding scenes from the day of Bilbo's party (which didn't really work - Bilbo looked facelifted, and while Elijah Wood is pretty darned ageless, he had a slight moustache shadow.) So the film was mostly very dark and epic. But then there were some lighter, almost kiddie moments, such as the dwarves' dishwashing scene - which was pretty neat, it just felt out of place.
-The opening. Boring. Shouldn't have been. I think it should have just started in the Shire, with flashbacks to the downfall of Erebor later if need be - but I'm not convinced they were needed at all. If PJ had been forced to keep the film at a reasonable length (ie, not 9 hours to tell a straightforward story!), he would have left it out and nobody would have missed it.
-I hadn't realised how similar LOTR and The Hobbit are, in terms of plot. The Eagles saving the day... Rivendell and the Shire... giant spiders... wargs... orcs... It's fine in the book, but it felt very rehashed in the movie. Partly because of Howard Shore's leitmotif thing. Weird, because I LOVE his LOTR score, but it seemed too obvious here. "Oh, that music, the Eagles must be coming" - "Oh, Elves must be about to show up" - "Oh, the Lorien theme, Galadriel must be around". The dwarven theme was lovely, though.
-Too many cheesy speeches. Fellowship's "What to do with the time that is given to you" speech - good. Sam's patriotic speech at the end of TTT - cheesy and vaguely anachronistic. The Hobbit's "theme" speeches reminded me of the latter. They came across as very staged - "we're going to have a moment now in which someone wise says something wise that sums up the movie, k?" Annoying.
-Galadriel looked stunning, but too iconic, if that makes sense, with her dress wrapped around her ankles as she turned. It looked like the shot was designed for a trading card. It was too perfect.
-I didn't like the "sexy dwarf king" thing. Thorin didn't look like a Dwarf. The proportions were all wrong, and he just wasn't believable. Good actor and all, just not Dwarf-y. And in general, the dwarves didn't "match" - some were buffoony, almost cartoony, some looked like slightly short men of Gondor, some were halfway between. They didn't seem to come from the same universe.
-3D sucks. I knew this. Not the movie's fault. I won 3D tickets. But still, it's worth saying. Why do people make stuff in 3D again?
-The escape from the Goblin King's lair was way too Indiana Jones. No way they should have survived that. Spectacle over storytelling. Bah humbug.
-Radagast... what? Just what?
-The "Riddles in the Dark" scene was very good.
-Martin Freeman. Perfect casting. Although in the first scene with Gandalf, he played a more obvious Bilbo - blustering, fussy, dignified - and after that he just kind of played a regular Martin Freeman character. Which fits in with Bilbo pretty well, so it was fine, mostly...
-It was nice to see Elrond doing something vaguely active.
-The dwarves' humour didn't bug me as much as I expected. It wasn't too juvenile. I quite liked the meal at Rivendell, in which the Elves came across as a little bit sappy and la-dee-dah.
-The stuff about the Necromancer annoyed me less than I expected. And the Ring wasn't the focus of the film, thankfully. Nor, I am happy to say, did Legolas, Arwen or Aragorn show up at any point.
-Some stunning scenery
-Bilbo's running after the dwarves and joining up on the adventure was done very nicely - one of the few moments that felt like an accurate representation of the book, to me, and didn't annoy me in some way!
-I liked the finding of Sting, Orcrist and Glamdring
So... yeah. I'll have to see it again at some point, but it's not something I'm dying to do. I'm glad I'm not in huge-obsessive-Tolkien-fan mode, or I'd be a lot more peeved - I have enough distance now to say calmly "Well, that could have been better".
I was surprised by how far through the story we got. I kept expecting it to end, and it didn't. Does this mean Film 2 will finish the Hobbit story, and film 3 will be the fanfictiony "transitional" film PJ threatened awhile back? Or will there just be a ton of fluff in Films 2 and 3? Bleh.
My father, who hasn't read The Hobbit for 30+ years and was enchanted by the free food we got with the tickets, apparently enjoyed the film very much. So there's that. I can't wait to talk to my little sister about it - she's 14 and just recently discovered the LOTR movies, and loves them. She saw The Hobbit at midnight and sent me an email saying it was "interesting" and she wanted to talk to me about it. I hope she wasn't horribly disappointed... although I hope she wasn't thrilled either. Good taste is important in a sibling. :p