Well, I went and enjoyed it. A few observations from an avid reader however
Firstly – I think the Three Hunters were cast perfectly – I can’t imagine them being better. The scenery and landscape is breathtaking. I loved the start with picking up where Gandalf fell. Gollum was fantastic (schizo scene was a little worrying!)
Now for the questions –
I didn’t get why the Hobbits had to go to Osgiliath – I thought Faramir was okay but this storyline meant his character had to change a little, you can tell from other comments that this hasn’t been well received.
I’m still not 100% about all this Arwen and Aragorn, and being immortal etc. Perhaps I’m not versed enough in the Silmarillion. Has Jackson gone over the top with trying to get a love story going?
Where were the Huorns? – I thought Helm’s Deep was great, but simply Gandalf and Eomer turn up and then they win left me missing the plot somewhere.
I was left with the feeling that I want to reserve judgement until the proper version comes out – that Jackson had produced a theatrical version which acted as one big trailer for the real thing (next November?).
I hope that the contest between Gimli and Legolas carries on in the DVD, and includes a mention of the Caves/Forest bargain between them – this will give greater depth to the strongest characters in the films.
All in all, I am left hoping that the DVD picks up some of the detail that the theatrical release missed.
Perhaps further viewings will give a more balanced opinion.