Was it worth it? You bet your sweet bippy it was. (Google Rowen & Martin's Laugh In if you fail to understand that reference.) The film was a visual feast. As far as I'm concerned, New Zealand may now sink beneath the waves. It has served its purpose. (...as a film location for the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit – pay attention.) What else is it good for? If God really intended for folk to live there he would have pushed it closer to civilization.
What are you expecting – a review of the film? You have to be kidding. It's The Hobbit. Either you've read the story or you're an illiterate. If you have read the book, you have only one question to ask: Is the film true to the story? What? Didn't you see the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It was made by the same crew. Of course it's true to the book.
Yes, I know that there are some who complain about any attempt to render a beloved book into film. Did you see what happened with Dune? The producers of that film were almost lynched by the people who loved Frank Herbert's classic tale. (Frank Herbert wrote Dune. Do I have to explain everything?) Actually, I like Dune, both the film and the book. They were two different experiences, both enjoyable.
There will be no such problem with The Hobbit. The film is true to J.R. Tolkien's original story. Yes, the director took some license for the benefit of the literary-deprived in the audience who hadn't read the book. They also gave a little screen time to characters, such as Sauron, who is barely a footnote in the book. I suppose fans of the Lord of the Rings trilogy liked the evil wizard. They even used the same actor to play the role.
Once again, Gollum stole the show. My wife and I had watched a story about the actor who plays him, Andy Serkis, on CBS Sunday Morning. His expressions and inflections bring the character to life. The electronic wizardry that animates him on the screen is truly miraculous.
Complaints? Yes, my wife complained that some combat scenes, especially towards the end, were too drawn out – especially when you're old and you've been deprived of a trip to the restroom far longer than you're prepared. I agreed with her. However, modern audiences need their fix and this movie will give it to them.