Seeing movies with a big group is always enjoyable as well, and it's been a while for me. It's nice to have a good respectful crowd that doesn't talk or goof off during the film, but is still enthusiastic. That energy is there. Also, I saw this one in IMAX 3D and I loved it. I wish I would have seen the first one like that, because it was fun and distracting. Distracting, because I still don't like the plastic feel of the CG in these films. It did seem better this time around, because there was less needed, sans the dragon. Or at least, the effects were a bit more subtle.
Then there's the elves! Goodness, I was excited to see them. They're just so pretty and they always steal the show. However, Legolas did look really different because of his new contacts. They're just so piercing and light that he almost looked like a different character. I don't know how to feel about that. They do make him seem colder, which complements the story quite well, but that connection to the old character is missing. Also, I did notice that every elf had their own unique ear tips which added to their personality. Unlike the first trilogy, all of the elves had the same shaped prosthetics, so it was a nice change. Lastly, it was awesome to see Mirkwood for the first time as well, and they did a great job of bringing that city to life.
So now I'm pumped for the third, and final, chapter. They cut it off at a really juicy part too, which sucks. I hate when they do that! Oh well, December will come faster than I know it.
Happy movie watching!