(No spoilers in this OP. If you've seen it, please be careful when commenting and please don't ruin it for others who haven't.) It was every bit as good as I hoped. I saw the 3D version and visually it was amazing with terrific casting and performances all round. Some of the scenes... just wow... don't want to give too much away. Just posting to say if you're looking forward to this, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Peter Jackson has done it again, big time. I might go see it again tomorrow. The worst thing about this is having to wait a whole year for part 2.