One of the books I loved growing up was Tolkein's The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. I really enjoyed seeing LOTR come to life and was delighted when the disputes were settled and it was clear that Peter Jackson was going to direct The Hobbit.
I initially had reservations about the Hobbit being done as three movies, but after seeing Part 1, those doubts have been put to bed. As I watched the story unfold, it was just so rich, and brought beautifully across to the big screen (I am sure people will discover The Hobbit because of this film).
Jackson for me has got the characters spot-on. Watching Gandalf appear and respond to Biblo wishing him a good morning was perfect. I am really looking forward to seeing the story be built and developed through the next two films.
Complimenting the film perfectly is Howard Shore's score; and NZ is exactly how you imagined Middle Earth to be.
As an aside, I'm pretty excited for Before Midnight, which concludes the story begun by Before Sunrise and continued by Before Sunset. Definitely worth making an effort to see.