I bought the extended version of the first Hobbit movie on DVD and I’m glad I did. It was much improved from the theatrical version. Admittedly, I am a big Tolkien fan and I realize a lot of people didn’t like the first Hobbit movie even though it made over a billion dollars in a month’s time. You can’t please everyone. But this extended version fleshes out the characters more, adds some missing context (like among other things, hints why the dwarves and elves have this rift), and even adds two songs from the book, and they are well done. Especially the Golbin town song which you only got a snippet of in the theatrical version., The full song is actually pretty decent.
If you are a fan of Tolkien you definitely want to check out the extended version. It makes me very interested in the extended version of Desolation of Smaug now. I just wish they’d have cut the stupid drug references and scatological humor of the first movie, because it’s very unTolkien and also lame. Ah well.