Since I am still in the middle of my December charm countdown, but saw an awesome movie today, you get the one ring.
I had read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy ages ago, and decided to reread it before seeing the movie. There were some things I loved that they kept, others were interestingly added to pad out the movie and flesh out the Gandalf side story in all the books, few additions had me giggling like a schoolgirl, and a small amount of things I was unhappy with. So let's start at the beginning. (note, my notes aren't as thorough as they are in other movies, since I felt it a waste of time to write down what was happening when it happened the exact way or close enough as it did in the book)
Opening up with Bilbo spouting exposition and Frodo going to meet Gandalf where he does at the start of The Fellowship. Nice touch tying it together. Also nice was moving up the dwarven backstory, so it's told somewhat in the order it happened, rather than just being a flashback fed to Bilbo in the middle of the dinner scene. Which was amazing by the way, loved that they actually sang the song from the book.
Brief interlude for a parody that comes amazingly close to the dinner scene.
I don't know why, but I didn't much care for the contract. Where did that come from? Bilbo told the dwarves no? How did he know where to meet them and that they would have just accepted him after his rude treatment? Why did he not invite Gandalf for tea to explain why all the dwarves were coming to the house? It all seems extremely rude, and it wouldn't have hurt to add one or two lines of dialogue, wouldn't have padded out the movie anymore than it had already been. Thought Bilbo definitively saying no did make for a hilarious scene where it;s revealed the dwarves were betting on him.
Where did the Radagast story come from? The bunny sled he rides is awesome, but I'm curious as to which 'side book' it's coming from, I don't remember it from the four books. Same goes for the Moria backstory, maybe I have to read LOTR again, but didn't the orcs move in long after the dwarves abandoned it after digging up the Balrog? (edit- thanks for the comment! Found out it's from The Silmarillion, the one book I haven't read yet. Working on acquiring said book.)
Skipping ahead a bit since a lot of the questions raised are the same as the ones before. Some things were just hilarious cliches like the scene in the goblin's 'front porch,' and Thorin's anger at Bilbo.
Here there be spoilers and rant at a missed opportunity, highlight if you want to read.
So in the last scene they set it up to show the mountain, with the Thrush knocking on the stone waking up Smaug. That part was okay, no problems there, awesome that they showed Smaug in the first movie. I think there was a missed line they should have had right before it, while the dwarves are staring at the mountain, where Gandalf could have said in passing, 'a friend lives close by, we should rest and regroup' or something like that. Sets up the next movie to be arriving at his house where they reintroduce the dwarves 2 by 2 and let the friend know what happened.