Let me start by saying I am not a "Hobbit" kind of girl. I am not into Science Fiction and I only go see these types of movies to fulfill my "Criticly Duties". So if you are expecting a big review of how close this movie was to the book, or some long diatribe about how fantastic the sci-fi effects were, you might as well stop reading. Because I have no idea.
How did it compare to the others in the Lord of The Rings/Hobbit family of films? No idea. I only saw the first one in 2001 and my memory fails me. Nor have I read any of the books. But I do know this, I enjoyed it very much.
I want to share a bit of the dinner conversation between me and my daughter after the movie. (Tawni -18 - Artist/Gamer who has seen all the movies. She "got" the movie and did an excellent job keeping me up to speed with the "whos and whats" I might otherwise have missed.) We talked at length about the epic battles of the movie, and the way they were depicted with no blood or gore. Because of this, I think I enjoyed the movie more than I would have otherwise. It made it a bit more family friendly. That being said, we debated if the absence of the blood and guts of true battle would somehow desensitize children. Just something to think about...
There were great life lessons - about true love and greed. Good stuff.
We saw this at the fantastic AMC BarryWoods 24 in IMAX 3D - I HIGHLY recommend you do as well. The scenery was breathtaking. I was blown away by the special effects. And who thinks up the creepy monsters and ogres anyway? It was amazing.