And I didn't throw up this time, so yay me.
Keeping in mind that I'm not really a Tokien fan, much less a purist, while Hubby is very much both, so afterwards, I got the whole THAT'S NOT WHAT HAPPENED spiel.
I definitely enjoyed this one more, even aside from not having claustrophobia, migraines and nausea through-out. It was nice to basically cut back to the chase without a whole lot of set-up and world-building. I'm currently appreciating the genius of George Lucas in managed to get the Star Wars verse set up in that first word-crawl of the first movie WITHOUT devoting a lot of screen time to it.
As a non-purist, I didn't mind the Tauriel/Kili love story, although it did amuse me to realize "Oh that's why they cast Adrian Turner and made him completely non-grotesque, because Peter Jackson doesn't think we'd believe it, if pretty girl elf fell for actually Dwarfish looking Dwarf. (In spite of throwing a shout-out to the Legolas/Gimli shippers, unless it was an anti-shout-out designed to squick anyone with age-discrepancy issues.)
The Bloom is off Orlando a bit. He's the one case where doing the later story first plays out badly. He's just not nearly as pretty as he was in LoTR.
Dwarf Flume was fun, although got a major "THAT'S NOT WHAT HAPPENED!" from you know who.
I'm starting to worry about Stephen Fry. He wasn't bad as the Mayor, but he was very Fry-ish, just as he was as Mycroft. Maybe he's always been one of those "larger than life" personalities who is always going to be bigger than the role, but I thought he was better at not just being himself in Gormenghast and even to some extent in Wilde, but maybe having become "national treasure" he just can't anymore. Kingdom was sort of borderline. Maybe it's the casting/direction. Maybe it doesn't matter because being Stephen Fry is a good gig and why not stick with it. Leave the transforming yourself to Hugh Laurie.
I liked Bard. Again, not knowing how close he is to the source material version, he definitely came across as an interesting character with his own rich demons and back-story. When he was duking it out with Thorin, I was thinking, you know, he's got a point...and this is much as love Richard Armitage...I do know slightly enough of where this is going to realize that the "quest" is not going to end well for him.
Dragon---good CGI, but was there any particular reason, aside from fan-girl appeal to "cast" Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice, if they were just going put the James Earl Jones voice filter on him anyway? There really is a stench of "Hey, we've got Martin Freeman and there's a built in following for Martin and Benedict together, so why not? Hubby thought it was a good choice when I told him about it because Smaug is "crafty," but then he felt that in the execution, the craftiness didn't really come across, so it was a waste on that level.
My biggest laugh came as I knew things were wrapping up and leaving the movie in that 2nd film in a trilogy situation we know so well from Empire Strikes Back i.e.-everything sucks, and hubby was like...wait, there's going to be another one? I'm sure I've told him a zillion times that it was another trilogy, but he just doesn't absorb fannish twaddle. (I'd told him about BC several times and it never stuck.)
Did you know...Tolkien was one of Sister Wendy's professors at Oxford? I was watching a documentary about Sister Wendy yesterday and this tidbit came up. I found it kind of hilarious and awesome.