Ottawa at 2:30pm - Difficult work done fairly well
The movie is more fragmentary than I would like.
It was not helped by including the Arwen/Elrond scenes; they should have been left in the archives. It was during the last of these that the 8yr old started to lose interest - the two had nothing to do with TTT and even he recognized that.
The 8yr old liked the Nazgul mount and the Osgiliath sequence, but the whole episode following Faramir's capture of Gollum through to the release of Frodo weakens Faramir's character quite dramatically from that of the book.
The 8yr old understands the beginning of the Rohan/Isengard war, but I found it all too familiar - nasty orcs uprooting house and home. The Dunlanders were igored once they were introduced, thereby simplifying the war wrt the participation of the various races.
The flight to Helm's Deep was too long, but the warg battle was quite something.
The introduction of the new characters:
. Eowyn was very well done, but overly long for TTT.
. Gollum was OUTSTANDING. I was highly impressed.
. Wormtongue himself was outstanding from start to finish.
. Faramir was acceptable, though he looks a lot like Boromir here. I think I'm going to have problems, come ROTK.
. Treebeard was very well done, the remaining ents are not well differentiated in terms of full body shots.
The 8yrold enjoyed all the battle scenes, although Helm's Deep were too busy for easy comprehension. I have read reviews stating that the orcs were too easily killed; well that's what happens when you attack a fortified position without the aid of laser-guided bombs.
In summary, several variations from the books were quite acceptable, others were unfortunate.
Technically, the photography was outstanding and the script was acceptable in general, but there were some glaring additions. For those of you interested in Oscars, I can't see this getting a best picture, but a nomination might be possible. More likely, Peter Jackson will get a director nomination and someone else will stay home, cursing the Academy.
I believe the major media reviews have been dismal displays of journalism so far. That's one advantage the 8yr old has, he ignores them completely.