Because of the woman sitting next to me, and a few others in the audience, I am left with the evil desire to see the movie again...and bring along a large bag of plastic spiders to fling randomly through the audience at certain strategic points in the film.
It's been a long, long while since I read the books...but there are a few things in the film that jarred me as being out of true, whether through bad memory on my part, or actual deviation from the books. For instance, I don't remember:
-Sam mentioning anything about Rosie Cotton while on the sides of Mt. Doom.
-the chief Nazgul being called The Witch-King. What the hell? Was that really in the book and I've just blocked it out?
-Eowyn killing said chief Nazgul
-the ghost army - I don't have even the faintest recollection of this. Really must nab copies of the books again sometime soon.
-did Denethor really try to burn himself and Faramir to death?
There were some other annoyances:
- I especially found the "Really, Sam is a straight hobbit" bits to be an irritating distraction. I mean, filmmaker dudes...I get it that you don't want to feed the slasher fury. It's very clear that you want there to be no implied sexual/romantic relationship between hobbits. What you don't seem to realize, though, is that the more you try to make that point, the more annoyed those of us who don't *care* about hobbity relationship details are going to be...and you're not going to make any difference AT ALL to the slasher-folk. So get over it already, and quit trying to hammer us over the head with it.
- The final ending scene, with Sam as a happily married daddy hobbit, was annoying for both the above reason and because it was stupidly unnecessary. It made an already extremely long film longer, it didn't reveal any more of the story or tie up any loose ends. Didn't ya'll have a test audience? An editor? Anyone who could have told you that the last vignette should have been left on the cutting room floor?
- Speaking of cuts, there were quite a few that I found far to abrupt and jarring. Perhaps they'll be less so on a small screen...but they should have been done more smoothly for the theater release.
- Orlando Bloom, pretty as he is, should never have been cast as Legolas.
- I HATED the soundtrack. It sounded way too sappy and pastoral for a film that was largely about battle and war. The tension moments were WAY overdone musically...it sounded in spots like a fifties monster movie. Gah. The sappy pastoral bits sounded very much like the music from Titanic...does anyone know if the same person(s) worked on both? And whether or not they have a secret yen to re-score Forbidden Planet?
All that aside,
-the battle scenes were utterly breathtaking. Gorgeous. Frightening. Overwhelming.
-The bad guys had some AWESOME toys, including the giant elephants and the flaming battering ram.
-I LOVED when the defenders of Minas Tirith started dropping bits of broken buildings on the sieging host.
-Pippin singing that incredibly beautiful, mournful song to the insane Denethor.
-Frodo's tragic exhaustion of both flesh and spirit came through very clearly.
-Sam's determination to do anything to help save his friend was heartbreakingly visible.
-Minas Tirith. Wow. Just...really...wow. And I want to live there.
-All of the architecture, for that matter. It was gorgeous. It was much larger than life. Beautifully fitting for such an epic story.
-Mount Doom. ::sigh:: So, I'm a volcano freak...I think that a live, lava-spewing volcano is one of the most incredibly gorgeous sights that nature has to offer, and this one was done beautifully.
-the destruction of Mordor. Amazing.
-the concept art behind the credits.
All in all, I'm glad I saw it on a large screen, and I don't regret the $10 spent. I've decided, though, that I won't buy any of these movies on DVD until they come out with the super-special, limited edition box set (which they inevitably will). Hopefully, I'll actually have a job by then. Heh.