I think the decision was Warner Brothers and not Peter Jackson. Movie companies have been known to do this sort of thing to make more money. Case in point: Deathly Hallows, Breaking Dawn, etc.
This being the first of three films, it's really padded and it didn't need to be as long as it was.
That being said, I enjoyed the film very much and it was great that Peter Jackson returned to middle-Earth. The prologue is brilliant on an epic scale.
Thinking back to the 1977 animated film, it really is amazing how loyal that made-for-TV movie was not only loyal to the source material but also brilliantly animated...for TV, that is.
But I thought the goblins and trolls of 1977 were much better done than this version.
Jackson's goblins and trolls were more like comedy relief if anything else. Yes they were a tad menacing, but only because of either size or numbers.
The Dwarves in Jackon's film are WAY better, though. In 1977 they all looked a like and reminded me more of Disney's Seven Dwarves.
At least with Jackson, it looked like multiple artists worked on different characters. If I didn't know any better, I would say that ONE artist designed ONE dwarf.
Good again to see many characters from Lord of the Rings, both Gollum and Saruman. Even the characters I'm not a fan of like Elrond and Galadriel.
Still a damn good movie, though, I cannot wait until they next two. As for DVD, I think I'll wait for all three to be out, I'm sure they'll have some sort of special package.
It was awesome to revisit Middle-Earth, once again.