Well, they shot incredibly long films. The first one is just too long. It feels like an extended edition, even in its theatrical form. The second one is alright. It moves at a decent pace and offers a nice roller coaster ride, suitable for any other dumb popcorn film. But the third one feels gutted. It might have something to do with the short running time (for a Middle-earth film), but many plot threads set up in the first and second film seem to ultimately go nowhere. Alfrid is annoyingly kept around for a long time and then just disappears. Parts of the battle seem entirely glossed over. The dead Dwarves get no proper send off. Bilbo digs up the Troll hoard apparently off-screen. Beorn gets horribly short-changed and - as it stands - could have been eliminated from these films altogether. Surely, there must be more footage somewhere that would have all this make sense? So despite the trilogy's length, it feels incomplete at some points. Especially when you look at the individual films. With the films being what they are, I'd like to see the extra footage that would connect a few more dots and make each film a bit more complete. And most of this has to do with B-stories. Gandalf's quest, Laketown shenanigans, the way the final battle was intended to play out in full, that sort of stuff. On the whole however, the point still stands that this story - you know, the one about Bilbo the Hobbit joining a bunch of Dwarves on a quest to capture a mountain filled with gold - drags on for ever and ever. It's especially noticeable when you watch the trilogy back to back. You know that whole dragon battle at the end of Desolation of Smaug? I can almost forgive them that when I watch just DoS. At least it gave the film a climax that sort of lives up to the action in the first half of the film. I guess. But watch this between An Unexpected Journey and The Battle of the Five Armies, knowing that dragon is going to fly off to Laketown anyway, and you'll experience how pointless the whole thing really is. It's a twenty minute sequence that exists solely to fill in a blank on a single movie's story structure checklist. It has no purpose to the overall plot or development of any of the characters involved. In fact, it features so many narrow escapes that it ultimately lessens the threat of Smaug. After all, it's stated in AUJ that a dragon can reduce you to a pile of ash within a matter of seconds. Yet here, flames burst out around our heroes several times and everyone walks away without as much as a singed beard. It's this kind of vapid filmmaking (honestly, it's Middle-earth's equivalent of the conveyor belt sequence from Attack of the Clones) that leads to a feeling of indulgence on behalf of the makers and the trilogy feeling unnecessarily stretched . And these problems will likely remain if you watch all three extended editions back to back, even if the three individual films might be slightly improved and better balanced. I guess we'll find out for sure in November.