The Hobbit is one of my favourite books of all time. I have read and re-read it often, since first discovering it as a child. As a result, it's unlikely that any film would capture my pre-conceived ideas of the story.
I'm not a Tolkein "scholar". I've never managed to wade through the Sillymarillyon. However, I loved Lord of the Rings, and delved into the appendices, but I can't tell you the difference between the Maiar and the Valar, nor do I particularly care.
I enjoyed Jackson's Fellowship of the Ring, tolerated his Two Towers and endured his Return of the King. I eventually watched the Unexpected Journey and found some things I liked and others that I didn't. At some point, i'll pick up the extended DVD and delve further. But I don't see PJ's version as canon.
And now, with the Desolation of Smaug opening tomorrow, I (against my better judgement) read some of the advanced reviews, including those containing spoilers. I guess I should accept that I am certainly no filmmaker. I don't know what would sell. I previously understood that it was necessary to simplify a novel when translating it to film, but from the spoilers, I understand that PJ has taken an opposite tack, and added complicated relationships, events and (darn it all) CHANGES to Tolkien's original story. And not simply adding in things from other sources (eg, the LotR appendices) but putting in distinct differences to the novel that change the actions and motivations of the characters.
I'm certain I will end up seeing this new film. I'm eager to see what Weta, PJ and Benedict Cumberband have come up with for Smaug. I want to see Stephen Fry's take on the Master of Lake Town. Much of the rest will likely irritate me, but at those moments I will need to remember that 'I am NOT the target audience'.
It bugs me somewhat that this relatively simple tale needs to be 'improved' by stretching it out over three movies (one skinny book is being given the same screen time that was assigned to the LotR trilogy, each book of which was double the length of the Hobbit!). New characters introduced, back stories invented for existing characters (some of which contradict the novel) and changes to characters and events that go against not only the text of the original, but to some extent the spirit as well. I get that some of the additional story comes from materials such as the LotR appendices, but it seems a lot more is invented just 'cause, well, wouldn't it be KOOL!
Maybe I should only watch movies for books I haven't read, or at least for books I don't really like.