The only part of the movies where I thought they captured that was in the opening scenes of the first Hobbit, where the dwarves come in one at a time, and then start singing while they clean the kitchen. So lighthearted and fun.
Yep, that scene was pretty well done.
To me, The Hobbit's flaws were just a magnification of flaws that already existed in the LOTR movies:
- Everything looked fake
- The pacing was always off. Either rushing through moments that should be awe inspiring, or dragging out moments that either shouldn't exist (because PJ invented them), or were boring filler (eternal battle scenes, interpersonal relationship drama).
- Trying to make everything epic. What ruined the soundtrack in LOTR (and The Hobbit), for me, was the fact that it never shut up. Not every scene requires grand accompaniment.
There was never a focus on doing these movies right. It was always about doing them big.