Bizarre thought, I know, but have you ever heard of something reaching a level of brilliance because it was "rushed" to completion? Oddly enough, many people will reluctantly admit that they do their best work under pressure. Thus, an author puts off a completion date for a novel and ends up working his/her ass off to the deadline. A student waits until the night before a major thesis is due to begin work on it (guilty of that by the way) or a writer/director/producer works under time constraints that are neither ideal nor sought after and still comes up with a piece of work that multitudes enjoy and admire. In conjunction, there have also been in-depth, longitudinal studies demonstrating that great minds generally tend to procrastinate because they work better "under the gun". I'm not saying this to prove or disprove any kind of point. Frankly, I'm happy with my love of these films and don't need public opinion to support it in any way whatsoever. I'm just trying to add a different point of view. I loved all three parts of The Hobbit. I loved that the tone was different, the style different and the experience as a whole was different.... And it was all captured in just one word "Adventure". LOTR was this huge, dark, almost "Wagnerian" operatic style of films that to me was just too big, too dark and too overwhelming to be enjoyable purely for it's own sake. This is not said out of disrespect. I read the novels and loved them just like everyone else did and, at the time, they were one of the most powerful works on paper. That PJ was able to bring them to the screen with such brilliance and such obvious reverence to the original canon itself was miraculous. Not only had it never really been done before, no one really ever expected it to! But, as with GOT, it's also not something I personally find enjoyable or entertaining. Admirable and awe-inspiring yes. But just not something I want to kick back and watch on any given night of the week. For me personally, the world we live in is dark enough by half just as it is. I don't want to come home searching for "relief" from that in it's fantasy form... But that is also, just me. Give me Dwarves. Give me a "burrglerrhobbit"(?). Give me a quest to regain ones lost homeland and a character who is never quite sure if he belongs. Because that, in a nutshell, is all of us. I think we are all secretly hoping to go running down the lane "on an adventure". I think we are all also seeking the quiet pleasures of "home" even while far away from them fighting giant dragons and terrifying mutant elves and I'd like to think that even when what we are protecting is broken... that there is nothing we wouldn't do for our friends. That in the end..... "wouldn't anything be better than war?" I want "magnificent valor", I want the courage of forbidden love and the overwhelming desire to fight for what is right with one's "kin & comrades". I want it in episodes that start with the beginning of a "journey". I want a middle that involves a small and specific "multitude" of other characters and points of view. I want dwarves, elves and men to come together both to fight and to grieve and to recover from love, loss and the almost unbearable need to fight back yet again from that which was both necessary and terrible. I loved the back and forth between Smaug and "The Company of Thorin Oakenshield" because it was a beautiful play of words and actions and because "If it is to end in fire, then we will all burn together". I loved the "cheeky" (thanks for that @Carol) way that small company took on the biggest, most bad-assed dragon I'd ever seen until then. A dragon whose ego is now.... rather pale in comparison to one we have sitting in a certain oval office... and I was inspired by Thorin's rage and the way in which he rose to his role of leader, proving that "there indeed was one I could call King". I loved that after the initial battle with Smaug, it went once again back to the human village. One that had already been so decimated by the hunger for gold and power. One that would have to fight again, to save what little they had left to them... their lives.... because Thorin's family line carried not just power but incalculable destruction as well. I loved that The Battle of Lake Town offered, at last, a chance at redemption for one man and his family line. A family whom both humans and dwarves found wanting for what they themselves had wrought by greed. And I loved that finally and in the ultimate circle that is history repeating itself, Dwarf, Man & Elf alike found themselves back on the original battle place of Dale. A beautiful beginning come at last to fight for whatever ruinous finish it could get because everything, absolutely everything had been leading to that place and that time and all of the players had to be reassembled so the story could finally play itself out. Play itself out in a way that was magnificent, terrifying, overwhelming and gave each player their own part to see through to it's end. So questions could be answered, the truth could finally be found and old hurts could finally begin to heal. It took everything. Every piece of each movie to arrive at that beautiful and magnificent ending. It took heart, and fear, and loyalty and duty and honor and it even took one little Hobbit with a small nut in his pocket ("to plant when I get home so it will grow and I can sit underneath it remember all of it... the good and the bad"). The Hobbit Trilogy, in short, makes me happy. It moves me to tears, it fills me with joy, hope and wonder and makes me believe in magic again because it makes me want to. For me, these are feelings I revere and seek out. I relive the feelings like that, provided by films and/or books again and again because it makes me happy. And along the way, I appreciate the characters, the costumes, the settings, the cinematography, the soundtrack and the story as a whole. I'd love to be able to come up with a brilliant and compelling argument that is virtually indisputable in it's logic. I'd love to have that kind of justification and lay it out like a mathematical proof. But I don't have any of those things. I have only my love for these films and my devotion to them. I have the fact that I go back to them again and again... while with LOTR I do not because once was more than enough. And that's enough for me. Because, as when Bilbo was asked "who was Thorin Oakenshield" upon his return home.... these movies are my friends. Oh... and the extended version of Desolation of Smaug holds with the same thread title on KODI/Exodus (see stream noted above).... Check the time on each thread, which comes in at about 3 hours and 8+ minutes!