With that aside, all of the reviews of the movie I have read so far have been negative, although most of them acknowledged that there would be a group of Tolkien fans who would go to and enjoy the movie despite poor reviews. As I expected, I am among that group.
The negative reviews complained about the length, three hours, but the story, which I've read over and over and over again, held my interest, and that of my wife and nine-year-old daughter, neither of which knew much about the story, though they were somewhat familiar with Middle Earth from watching the Lord of the Rings movies with me. Both of them peppered me with questions on the way home, so they apparently found it interesting.
The movie did not exactly follow the storyline of the book. For example, Radagast the Brown, one of Gandalf's fellow wizards is not mentioned at all in the book, but he is a delightful character in the movie. Unfortunately, Tom Bombadil did not appear in Jackson's Fellowship of the Ring, but I figure you have to give a guy some dramatic license when he's trying to capture something as expansive as Tolkien's Middle Earth. Jackson captures the feel of what Tolkien wrote in a modern movie format. Tolkien would have no doubt been disgusted by the idea, inasmuch as he was a serious man of letters, but for those of us who grew up reading the stories of Middle Earth, the movies are something fun to share with our kids in the hope that they may one day turn the pages of the books we loved so much as kids.
Critics be damned. I liked the movie, and I suspect that if you liked the Lord of the Rings flicks you'll like this one, too.