So, yeah, it's Peter Jackson, filmed in New Zealand, visually stunning, good f/x, blah, blah, blah. Many actors in the LOTR movies reprise their roles in this one, including several who do not appear in The Hobbit at all; this movie is far more a prequel of LOTR than the book was.
One thing I did not realize was that this is part one of a two-parter. (Part Two: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, release date December 13 2013.) We agreed that, with the way all sorts of back-story was added, it was fairly necessary.
Mrs. Drang: "I wonder if Part II is where Saruman goes over to 'The Dark Side.'"
Me: "I dunno. He was sure talking like a Democrat..."