The Quest for more money. Meh.
I agree with those who are pointing to King Kong. Man that is a hard lumbering molasses movie to sit through on rewatch.
I dunno, every single time I've become a fan of a director in modern times, their next work always seems to be massively self-indulgent. Happened to me with Bryan Singer after X-Men 2 (bleh Superman Returns), Peter Jackson after LOTR (King Kong), Sam raimi after Spider-Man 2 (Spider-Man 3), even Nolan isn't immune (Dark Knight Rises, which I do actually like more than any other of these follow-up movies I've mentioned, but event hat feels bloated and self indulgent).
Three movies out of The Hobbit *shakes head*
You know they always talk about respecting Tolkien's work, but how about respecting the story structure he chose? There's a reason those stories are in the Appendices and not in the main plotlines of the books. The Hobbit should imo be one truly great 3 hour movie.