I have been a fan of The Lord of the Rings ever sinced I picked up the Hobbit back in 1998. I believed it was a few months before they began the shooting of the movie. Anyway, this article by the BBC showed what critics thought about the book 50 years ago. Most of them are positive although some has dismissed the book as a "juvenile trash".
To me the question is whether after Peter Jackson completes the remake of King Kong would he attempt the film The Hobbit - as well as The Silmarillion?
Source: BBC News