Just watched it tonight in HD on VerizonFIOS.
I have to say, the color and detail was incredible even on streaming. I have a large-screen 3D high-end TV and I just found myself staring at the facial zooms because the detail was so exquisite. Still, it takes more than detail to make a movie.
Jackson often adds a few good touches to his movie. I like how Smaug left a straight swatch across Laketown on his first fiery pass. It gave a real sense of power of the dragon, a 5-second pass in a straight line and that part of the town is visibly gutted.
I like how Bard had to steady his arrow on his son's shoulder, which was just oddly sentimental and said something about their relationship.
I like how Thorin and Bard talked to each other through that long hole in the wall emphasizing their distance.
I like that Thranduil got a little depth at the end after being a total asshat throughout the series, by his few comments to Legolas and Tauriel that revealed that part of his coldness came from never getting over the loss of his wife.
I like they played the gate scene pretty close to the book, where Bilbo reveals what he did, and ends up having to go over the wall.
The pencil drawings in the credits were pretty cool and very lifelike.
I did NOT like how Galadriel turned all green and nasty glowing and stupid voice reverb again, for WHAT reason? She did this in LOTR and it was one of the stupidest things I'd seen. Why? Why? It doesn't even make thematic sense. And she's an elf -- she has inherent power due to the force of her spirit, but she's not a maiar like gandalf or saruman, so she and Elrond are not as powerful. It's just stupid.
I didn't like that Thorin could blame his gold lust on dragon fever. I think they should have made it less of a curse and more about Thorin's pride. Have some balls, let your characters actually struggle with the own evil within rather than being affected by some external dark magic.
I didn't like how Smaug had to give a freaking soliloquy to Bard. Would that have happened? no. I know you want to use Cumberbatch more if you get him in your movie, but really? I was also hoping the thrush would tell Bard about the dragon's weakness.
The fights themselves were okay (I thought the opening gambit with the elves coming over the shield wall, then the wall itself mobilizing and thrusting into the army was pretty cool!) but way too long and after awhile got to be a same-old same-old. And of course the endless fight with Azog and Thorin. Geez, just freaking kill each other and stay dead, okay?
I would also like to see a little more of Beorn, who only got one cool airdrop and nothing else -- I suspect he'll show up more in the Extended Edition.
And Albert. Oh albert, you're a hot mess.
Anyway, the end result: It was an okay movie. I liked some parts, I was indifferent to others. I also like Legolas, but this isn't his movie, thanks. Freeman as always was great. I like that Balin got so much spotlight, and it helps explain why Gimli was so heartbroken to find his tomb in LotR -- he was really a mentor to Thorin and the other dwarves.