I saw this movie last night in 3d at 24fps. I will see it in Imax 3d at 48fps on Saturday, so I won't comment on the frame rate at this time.
I thought that the movie was a lot of fun. It was often funny and quite engaging. Just like the LOTR, I was eager to see what happened next. I wanted to write this to express why I disagree with the critics who are giving this very low marks, and to disagree with those who see nothing or only a tiny amount wrong with this film. For background, I usually agree with the critical consensus on movies. Since this movie is currently fresh, I guess I technically am agreeing with them again, because I would have given it a good review.
First off, I actually thoroughly enjoyed the part with the dwarves at Bilbo's house in the beginning. It did not feel tedious, or that it went on too long. The movie was rarely if ever boring to me. I left the theater wanting more. That being said, there were some unnecessary scenes. The part with Ian Holm and Elijah Wood does not seem necessary at all. There are edits and cuts that could have been made, especially in the beginning. And you do not see a point to a lot of the events between leaving the Shire and reaching Rivendell. If there is a point when one might become bored, I would say it would be during that stretch. Still, the movie is great fun over all, and does not deserve the trashing I have seen from some critics.
Some of the problems with the movie are inherent in breaking the book up (not just into 3 parts, but breaking it up at all). Unlike the LOTR, it doesn't have the most natural of breaking points, but Jackson does pick the best spot to stop if making 3 films.
So, overall, I disagree that the movie is "ponderous" or "plodding" or "boring" or even "slow-paced". However, I do agree that edits could have been made. The length itself is not the problem. I've never had a problem with a long film. It is that some of the scenes do not really add much to the story, and I wonder exactly why they are still in the film. This and the perhaps overuse of CGI are my main gripes.
I hope that you all enjoy the film as much as I did. I cannot wait to see the Desolation of Smaug. I am relatively confident it will be better received. Hopefully Jackson and co. have more time to sharpen their editing scalpel to make the next movie a bit crisper (not necessarily shorter, I say the move the better, just make the more have a point).