Is The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey a money-grab or a genuine prequel that needs to be told on screen?
As a precursor to the Lord of The Rings trilogy, the first Hobbit film is one long set-up-- where you spend the first thirty minutes trying to remember names and locations in Middle Earth and spending the last five minutes anticipating the next movie. The rest of the film? It's a mixed bag.
Martin Freeman is perfectly cast as the reluctant Bilbo Baggins and the rest of the dwarves (with the exception of Thorin, the dwarf king) are forgettable. The quest perked up late in the film, but is quite light to carry the film. And the humor is very British-influenced so it's an acquired taste.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey barely justifies itself, but I'm looking forward to the rest of the franchise.