Tolkien was a genius, and I'm glad Peter Jackson had the ambition to bring that genius to a new audience on the big screen. I'm excited for the release, especially after all the stopping and starting the production went through, and it will be nice to see more of Bilbo.
Now seems to be a great time for fantasy novels to appear on the big screen, as special effects and animation have become so advanced; the magic can be recreated without awkward distractions, such as seeing the cables allowing a person to 'fly', or an ill-fitting mouthful of vampire fangs that probably wouldn't even pass quality control in a joke shop (Christopher Lee...)
Obviously a lot had to be cut out of LotR (and there was nothing special effects could do about that!) but I think it is impressive how well Jackson managed to use the stories to make such thrilling and enchanting films. Not all books are in such safe hands, and some real treasures have been ruined by bad acting, cheesy sfx and/or mutilated storylines. I'm sure we all have our pet hates, especially if the book meant a lot personally. Mine is The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. But...that's a story for another time.
I know I have nearly another whole year to wait, but I don't think any film will get me as excited as The Hobbit in 2012.
Because I'm feeling excited, a bit geeky and nostalgic about the time I read The Hobbit under the duvet with a torch as a kid, I'm ending this post with my favourite of the riddles in the dark...
This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.