Have owned Hobbit for 2 + years and Wonka for 1 week. Hobbit is my favorite game to play. It pulls you in and is a cinematic experience. I feel like I am in the battles. It is multiball heavy, but I love that. It has the best pinball moment ever in my opinion with killing Smaug. Nothing has ever felt more exciting and satisfying. It is the perfect blend of shots, skill, luck, lights, music, and video. Some folks don't like the creatures that pop up, but they are very well integrated into the code. It has 33 modes and each has unique features and shots. This is not a shoot the flashing light type of game. Hobbit stays because you continuously peel back layers of it as you learn that each mode is a mini-game in itself. Smaug multi is a mini game. Each Wizard Mode is like 4--6 levels of mini games. I've never been to "there and back again", but someday I will. Yes, good games can go long. But it is not a grind, it is epic. Plus music, callouts and video assets are amazing.
Wonka is a joy to play for me. The shots flow like butter. I like the music, sounds, and movie callouts. The narrator voice is a little harsh. It is a harder game and harder rules to understand and I am just starting to open it up. Haven't found that amazing pinball moment yet. The Wonkavator multiball startup is pretty cool, but not as grand as I thought it would be. I think the game captures the fantasy and personality of the film. Light show is amazing and more like WOZ with all the colors. I can tell I will be keeping this game for a while. It may not be as deep, but it plays faster and harder so getting deeper takes some skill.
To compare the two, Wonka wins with shots and layout. Light shows are even, but extremely different. The light shows fit the themes perfectly. Wonka is rainbow colors and Hobbit is a lot of golds, whites, and fire colors. Audio and video integration goes to Hobbit hands down. I agree with previous people that Wonka will have shorter game times and Hobbit is a longer player. Wonka feels more casual and Hobbit feels more epic. Like you are sitting down to watch or read a saga. Wonka is ramps and loops, Hobbit is sharp shooting, drop targets, and mechs. Unfortunately, they are so different in character, layout, and theme it is hard to directly compare them. Hopefully one will speak to you more. I don't think you could not go wrong with either. A Hobbit LE and a Wonka Standard should run you about the same on the used market. Word to the wise, Hobbit is the heaviest JJP pin clocking in at 300+ pounds and Wonka is no light weight either. Good luck!