I went opening night/morning at midnight with my kids and gaming friends (and worked the next day).
Some of them were quite upset at the differences between the book and the movie, but for my part I just can't figure out how they are going to do another movie.
So, when Frodo gives the ring to the Nazgul, I was pretty surprised. I thought the special effects for the Sauron-reborn sequence were absolutely awesome! The sound system in the theater added immensely to the feeling. The sub-sonics rumbling as Sauron bursts out of the floor of that chamber! Wow! I felt like I was there!The dialogue was pretty good. They used the dwarf as a comic foil for some of the tense scenes to good effect like the huge battle scene at Helms Deep where the dwarf is keeping score and competing with the elf over how many orcs they each kill. I liked the Ronald Regan reference when the dwarf says, "no, the news of my death is greatly exaggerated," and the Urak-hai(sp?) says, "not really" as he shoves the sword through the little guy.
One of the most impressive bits of dialogue was when Arragorn sneaks into Mordor with his father's reforged sword after Sauron is reborn.
Sauron: "Put down that bauble (sp?). Kneel and I will spare your
Arragorn: "I would rather die than serve such an evil!"
Sauron: "In the early age I was called 'the gift giver' you are so gifted!"
Then, the Arragon death scene is AMAZING! Were those his bones exploding? It was super cool. I would go again, just to see that!
I thought that it was cool that Sauron reforged the sword into a crown. That was just a neat, ironic touch.
I did feel that having Sauron make Frodo and Samwise into mittens was a bit over the top. Some of the younger kids were probably upset to see E. Wood's face on the back of that mitten, but it did fit with the tone of the movie.
I also thought the Tree-ent attack on Eisengard was well-done. Sauriman (sp?) calling down that pillar of fire on the trees was both clever and a cool special effect. Man, those Tree-ents really had no chance, but it makes sense when you stop to think about it. The Tree-ents were so vulnerable to fire and Sauron/Sauriman were so skilled in the use of fire magic. I can't imagine it making any sense that the trees could have prevailed against Eisengard.I didn't think that Golem/Smeegle was so strong a character that they should have turned him into the master of the enslaved Shire, but again it was fitting. Seeing him lead Merry and Pippin around on those "dark metal" chains was interesting. It did not seem to add a lot to the plot to me, but it did finish out the thread.
It was funny that Sauriman turned Gandolf into that mouse, and I thought the final scene where the camera pulled away from Gandolf-mouse's cage to show it hanging by a thread over that room full of cats was pretty interesting.
So, the movie was very well done, but I'm trying to figure out what the next movie will be about.