The Hobbit was quite a surprise for me. Indeed I am thrilled that they sent out screener discs so that I did not have to watch it in the headache-inducing 3D or the 48 frame version. (Although I would be interested in seeing some clips in 48.) What surprised me is how much action they managed to fit into the film, and how that kept the film's three-hour running time at a comfortable length. I had expected that a lengthy film covering the first third of a brief children's book would be padded to an uncomfortable extent. But I am happily wrong, the film is quite entertaining.
The cast helps a lot; Martin Freeman is excellent as the young Bilbo Baggins, and all of the other returning cast members from the other Lord of the Ring movies are excellent, especially Ian McKellan as Gandolf. The sound design and music were very good as well. Some of the visual effects were astounding, especially the character animation for Gollum.
My to my surprise, I recommend the film!