I went back and watched The Fellowship of the Ring before I saw The Hobbit, and to this day I’m still blown away by the excellent photography and art direction. The real outdoor shoots, the beautiful lighting, the gorgeous crafted models – all of this is what makes the experience so memorable. These choices earned the trilogy multiple awards and recognition from critics worldwide, something The Hobbit is unlikely to achieve.
It’s baffling to me that the same director, Peter Jackson, and cinematographer, Andrew Lesnie, are responsible for both An Unexpected Journey and The Fellowship of the Ring. All those actors who played orcs and goblins are now merely CGI creatures, and the wonderful model locations have been replaced with green screen and CGI effects. Everything looks dramatically different, and in this case, that isn't a good thing.