This film is not like the book of The Hobbit, which is much gentler and more amusing. It is mostly violence, fighting (and very gory fighting with very frightening monsters - overkill on special effects). In particular, early in the film, we are shown a battle (a 'remembered' battle from a dwarf who is telling a story about the past - he should have just told the story and not had it portrayed as a scene) - in which the dwarf king's head is chopped off and then held high by an ugly scary, evil monster - held high for just a bit too long. The monster's arm is then hacked off with blood spurting everywhere. And that sets the tone for the rest of the film, which gets rather repetitive - same ugly monster chasing dwarf band, and scary tense moments and gory fighting. It is the tone which is inappropriate really. I feel the makers of the film have tried to be too clever in showing off their ability to make grotesque special effects. The rating should be UPPED to at least 15, and I quote from the description of a 12A censorship, regarding violence. "What sort of violence can I expect in a 12 or 12A ? At 12A, moderate violence is allowed but it should not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries or blood, but occasional gory moments may be permitted if they can be justified by their context (for example brief sight of bloody injury in a medical drama)."
It says it should not dwell on detail (erm holding a chopped off head up high for all to see for a bit too long?!) It says a brief sight of blood injury in a medical drama. This was no medical drama and blood gushing out of a chopped off arm is hardly a brief sight in a medical scenario! And seeing Thorin in the jaws of a giant evil warg, being shaken about, for just a bit too long also, and then dwelling on the fact that Thorin looks dead is also highly inappropriate.
Basically the film is not what it should be - and the whole story is ruined anyway by the fact that we know that Bilbo survives because we see him at the start writing his memoirs as an old man! And this is not the case in the book. It is purely done to provide a 'link' with the Lord of the Rings films. Fact is, they should have filmed the Hobbit first! It was written first - instead of trying to turn it into some sort of prequel.
It is far too long, and doesn't even tell the whole story in one film, dwelling too long on certain scenes, particularly the fighting. It is basically a film about grotesque scary monsters and fighting, with hardly any plot - and what plot there is, isn't explained properly.
It was unnecessary to try and link it with the Lord of the Rings, as younger children may not have seen it anyway. What they should have done, was made ONE film - the story of The Hobbit, as more of a gentle, humorous story (as the book) then made two more about the Silmarillion (which WAS a prequel).
Finally - 12A says that it is suitable for children aged 12 and over, but that younger children may be taken accompanied by an adult, at the parent's discretion. NOT ON! The parent's discretion is based on thinking this is a film about the book The Hobbit! So any parent who is thinking of taking a child younger than 12 needs to have read up about the film first - and as this is a Christmas/New Year film, people tend to go on impulse.
A young child sitting behind us got very distressed and will probably have nightmares about scary monsters, and may never want to have anything to do with The Hobbit again! I feel the violence is gratuitous, particularly for any child under 12. Possibly a mature 10 year-old may handle it - but in general, I would say the 12A rating should be CHANGED. It should say NO children under 12 should be allowed to see it. And in that way, the makers of films would tame their violence if they want it rated as a PG.