Actually that is a extinct giant deer known as an Irish Elk (Megaloceros giganteus.)
Thranduil rides a giant moose.
Whew! what a relief! I am glad none of my worries over this movie actually came true. I should have just trusted that with Jackson at the helm it would turn out fine.
I did have a few nitpicks over all but really enjoyed the movie.
Seems like Bilbo just wasn't very endearing or likable in this film, did anyone else get the same impression? It certainly didn't feel like the dwarfs would do anything to protect their smallest party member and his contributions to the quest seemed watered down a bit from what I remember reading.
Some parts were a little campy but nowhere near the disaster that I thought might happen after watching the trailer.
I wish that the stone "giants" would have been more along the lines of traditional giants of mythology or established folklore.
I liked the look of many of the dwarfs from other scenes better than some of the very un-dwarfish looking main characters. The dwarf with the goblin axe stuck in his head is the dumbest visual choice that Jackson has made in four movies so far. What the hell was that? Lame is the answer.
Overall I am very pleased. I want to see it a second time to ingrain it before I have to wait many months for the DVD.