PJ nails it!
A good decision on PJ part to include this segment at the beginning...good background info and great acting by Serkis. Glad to see that he gets some screen time.
Pippin takes the Palantir: A
Frodo, Sam and Shelob: A
I was afraid Sam's attack could be cheesy...but the protracted skirmish made it believable.
A little bit of a slow point in the movie...but absolutely necessary and well played out.
Paths of the Dead: A-
A tough, tough scene to film...not as erie as I imagined, but PJ pulls it off better than can be expected.
Minas Morgul opens: A+
Spellbinding...you can practically feel the power of Mordor being unleashed.
Osgiliath attacked: A-
Pretty solid sequence, although a tad routine.
Minas Tirith: A+
The city looks awsesome...Billy Boyd really comes into his own here.
Pippin's Song: A+
Brilliant juxtiposition of Denethor's desperation and the ensuing battle.
Rohirrim at the Pelennor: A
Just how I imagined it. The Witchking himself is powerful and spellbinding.
Cirith Ungol: A-
Hopefully we'll see more of this in the EE.
Sam and Frodo's Journey across the Gorgoroth: B-
Practically nonexistent. But, given the length of the movie, you can hardly blame PJ for cutting it out.
Battle of the Morannon: A-
Slightly underwhelming...perphaps I was just dissapointed by the lack of the Mouth of Sauron.
Mt. Doom: A+
The highlight of the film...absolutely enthralling. Astin is brilliant. You can say all you want about PJ's choice to emphasize certain themes in lotr, but one thing that shines through is the friendship between Sam and Frodo, possibly the most important one in Tolkien's work.
Frodo gets visitors: A-
Slightly cheesy...but hey, I can forgive.
Aragorn's Coronation: A-
Well done except for the kiss...I realize it was done this way to relieve some tension, but it kinda ruines the moment.
Gray Haven's: A
Excellent. My only complaint is that I didn't even get teary-eyed. Dammit, make me cry PJ!
Sam's Back: A+
My only complaints about the movie are my complaints about the trilogy as a whole: some lines are still cheesy and it could be more subtle in places. Then again, I don't know how possible it is to eliminate these aberrations in a film rendition of this size and scope.