Finally saw this a couple of nights ago - I'm no hardcore LOTR/Hobbit freak or anything but did enjoy the LOTR trilogy.
I also read a lot of reviews and they seem just slightly ahead in positives vs. negatives.
I went in with an open mind and have not read any of the books, but do remember watching the original animated video back in the day, that's my only reference.
I really enjoyed it. The acting was excellent, the flow and plot was fairly smooth and the SPEFX were convincing and added that fantasy element very well. For me though, the scenery and setting is what did it.
The colors, the forest shots, the early evening shots, mountains and plains were just beyond excellent and added the atmosphere needed for such a film to come together. One of my favorite scenes is the eagle rescue and ensuing flight to the tip of a mountain where all characters met back up.
The audio/video and editing is first rate and will tax your display and surround set-up.
One thing I did notice was the definite vagueness of a few scenes which practically forces viewers to demand sequels, which will be coming. It's almost to say 'yeah, we all know there's more, just wait to see what's next'.
Lots of people have different nit-picks of this movie - in defense of the film, the logistics, the coordination, the time and imagination involved to bring this together is beyond what we'll ever know - much credit and kudos to Peter Jackson and crew for bringing this film to the public. The 2 hr and 50 minute run time just flew by .
I will be looking forward to the others as they become available.....