And he is Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth), a proven genius with a tendency toward darker films. Peter Jackson, of course, is producing. WETA workshop in tow.
J.R.R. Tolkien's Hobbit is the most light-hearted of his Middle Earth fiction. I'm wondering if that more boisterous, children's book-feel will be maintained with Guillermo del Toro at the helm. If I had to guess, I'd predict toward a more epic, less frivolous Hobbit.