Before I tell you why I disliked TTT, let me first tell you how much I loved FOTR. I saw the latter in the movie theatre thirteen times, and even though I disagreed with some of Jackson’s changes (that cheesey “Ringwraiths in the wrong room” scene, Frodo’s passivity, the omission of Tom Bombadil) I was thrilled overall. I loved Ian McKellan as Gandalf, cheered Legolas’s bowmanship, and loved the dynamics of the Fellowship as a whole. Boromir’s fall and subsequent death was positively Shakespearean.
So why did TTT fail? Largely because of two reasons–needless departures from the original story and losing the focus of Sauron and the Ring of Power. Jackson justified his omission of Tom Bombadil by claiming that Tom did nothing to advance the ring quest, and I accepted that (grudgingly). By the same token, however, Arwen’s tragic end because of the love she bears for Aragorn is equally irrelevant — Tolkien himself had to leave it for the appendix! Given that this book would be difficult to adapt to the screen with its multiple storylines, Jackson further clouded the issue by including that particular storyline.
He also made changes from the book that leave me baffled. I can understand why Faramir’s character worked better if he was a little less morally sure of his stance concerning the ring, but I cannot understand why Gandalf and Eomer’s calvary saved the day at Helm’s Deep and not the creepy Huorns from the book. When the forest “appears” and the orcs disappear is one of the most memorable scenes from the book.
Except for the rousing speech Sam gives to Frodo about why they can’t give up, very little in this movie grabbed me emotionally (and the aforementioned scene does so only slightly). I was interested, but never thrilled. I would occasionally exclaim, “hey, that looks good!” (e.g., the gates of Morannon and the Olliphaunts), but I never gasped in surprise (like during the Prologue in FOTR). And, quite frankly, even though I love Gollum in the books, I found him just annoying here. Jackson even took away his best line (“don’t want fish”.
I’m starting to lose hope for ROTK. I hope I’m wrong.