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It's ... so ... dull ...
It was incredible how well it got rid of ALL the charm of the original book and BBC adaptations. And now I've seen how good an actor Martin Freeman is and he was still wholly forgettable in this film. Amazing.
All accusations of over-seriousness and slow progression lose their weight because of how profoundly likable the movie is. It isn't LOTR, with kings, princes, war heroes and others of the "best" fighting to save the world. It is the commonfolk, the small people on the periphery of Middle Earth fighting a less-grandiose but still moving battle. Martin Freeman does an unbelievable job giving Bilbo heart and personality, and the Dwarves are all great. The movie gives a bit more depth to Gandalf's character, and a sense that he is special, not just in his wizardry but in his approach to the world. They're not the best, brightest or strongest, but they are special because they're the only people who stepped up when called upon. The exploration of dwarf culture is also fascinating; we see their profound strengths and goodness as a people. It provides a depth which adds to and accentuates points in the other movies. Connecting it in to LOTR using the first few minutes and material from Tolkein's appendices is just a bonus, and would really facilitate a six-movie run through when they've all come out (if anyone can watch 24 hours of film at once).