The Hobbit is much discussed right now. I think there is more discussion for two reasons. Firstly, more people have read The Hobbit than LOTR. Secondly, since some many people saw the LOTR trilogy, they have something to say about the latest installment.
In short, Jackson choosing to spend 9 hours on this book has a 3-fold result. Two of these results are pleasing:
- The actual events of the book, The Hobbit, can be told with extreme detail. This is generally awesome. All the riddles in the dark are included. The opening Shire scenes are beautiful and leave one longing for a pastoral holiday.
- The background story from the appendices is added. This is also largely great. There is some artistic license to place the events of The Hobbit in a largely place in the events of Middle Earth. But things hold fairly tightly to Tolkien's world. I can't wait to see the White Council descend on Dol Gulder in the second movie! (I'm guessing here. But it seems likely. Jackson's laid all the right pieces in place.)
- The final addition is a bunch of generally ridiculous and lengthy action sequences. There are only so many times one can a swallow skin-of-your-teeth escape and unfortunately Jackson strains our credulity. Here the audience feels like they're being served future video game episodes.