I read the Hobbit long time ago. It's a relatively long and slow paced book. I was somewhat worried how this story can be put on the big screen in a way that is comparable to the Lord of Rings movies. I visited the area in new New Zealand where the movies were shot, so I had great anticipation for the movie. I can gladly say it didn't disappoint.
The movie unravels many of the questions you may had after watching the first three movies by going back one generation in time. It starts slow, but quickly accelerates to an amazing pace. Although the title suggests the story is about the hobbits that would not be a correct assumption. The narrative is dominated by the dwarves and their history. To my great pleasure the movie explored the sneaky but loveable character of the wizard Gandalf the Grey as he manipulates everybody around him. Also notable are the performances by Bilbo Baggins and Golum. The caves of the dwarves and orks are equally dazzling especially in 3D. I will say no more. Go watch it. You will be taken out of the real world for 3 hours guaranteed.
As a teaser read this first two paragraphs from the book and watch the official trailer or the 1966 Gene Deitch 12 minute version of The Hobbit.
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, we hole, filled with end of words and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats — the hobbits was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on an on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill — The Hill, as all the people for many miles called it — and many little round door opened out of it, first on one side and then on another. No going upstairs for the hobbit: bedrooms, bathrooms, cellars, pantries (lots of these), wardrobes (he had whole rooms devoted to clothes), kitchens, dining-rooms, all were on the same floor, and indeed on the same passage. The best rooms were all on the left-hand side (going-in), for these were the only ones to have windows, deep-set round windows looking over his garden, and meadows beyond, sloping down the river.