For the most part, I thought that ROTK was amazing. There were a couple of things that left me a little dissatisfied, though, mostly having to do with some of the cuts that were made. I was completely shocked to realize that Merry was riding to the Black Gate with them (I wouldn’t consider myself a purist in the strictest sense, but I kept thinking the entire time that he should have been back in the Houses of Healing.) And I felt like the HoH section in general being cut was not the greatest idea–it just felt too abrupt, seeing Eowyn, Merry and Faramir injured so badly, and then the next time you see them they’re fine and happy. And I’m really not sure about that whole “Arwen’s going to die if the Ring’s not destroyed soon” bit. Think I’m going to have to watch that one again.
That being said, the interaction between Frodo/Sam/Gollum was incredible- just how I would have imagined it. The battle at Pelennor kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time, and I loved the Eowyn/Witch King showdown. The tension and later teamwork between Gandalf and Pippin was really great. Shelob freaked me out (I hate spiders!) Faramir’s scenes with Denethor were heartbreaking, and Denethor was very, very well portrayed. The Paths of the Dead were really cool. I’m very happy that it ended with Sam saying, “Well, I’m back,” and Frodo leaving the other three hobbits at the Grey Havens was very touching. And Legolas’s fight on the mumakil was just freaking cool.
Overall, I thought PJ did an incredible job with this, but I still think that it will be greatly improved when the EE comes out and we get to see some of the things that got cut. Of course, that’s still not going to stop me from going back to the theater several times between now and then.