I caught the noon showing of Return of the King at the Rave theatre in Birmingham. The funny thing is that there were only about 6 people in the theatre because everyone had walked into the first of two screens showing the movie at the same time (doh!) - which made it a much more enjoyable experience for us in the second showing.
Having not read the books, everything here was fresh to me and I only had guesses as to how the movie was going to end. So take that into consideration when I say that this movie is the best movie I've seen this year.
Return Of The King really kicked *** . Easily the best movie I've seen in the theatres since Two Towers, I'll probably be going in to watch this again just to show my appreciation.
Unlike movies like T3 or X2, where its sort of 'Eh' a day or two after seeing it, several scenes in ROTK have stuck in my head a day after seeing it. Most of the amazing scenes come from the big battle at the end, specially where the Riders of Rohan attack the flank of the Orcs and confront those big elephant *******s. The fight with the spider ******* (Bosheilia? I couldn't make out what the hell they called her.) was really creepy, and I'm not even all that scared of spiders. One of the coolest little scenes is where the Orcs do a cool 'D-Day' like invasion into the outter wall place (forgot the name), using little boats with dropping planks.
The only flaws in the movie, in my opinion, are :
The scene with Legolas climbing up the elephant ******* was very poorly CG'd... As I was watching it I couldn't beleive the CG guys didn't have Legolas climbing the thing by sticking arrows into the elephant *******'s legs like a rock climber. Instead, Legolas just effortlessly scales the elephant *******, fighting off the bad guys with his Elf-aim, and somehow keeps his balance as he kills the thing and (surprisingly to me) survives as it crashes to the ground... I dunno, it just didn't look well done to me. Too fake.
Another big flaw is that the movie ends about 4 times... The screen goes black and the music fades, but then opens right back up to another scene. Poorly done, I think.
I'll probably think of a few more parts that I didn't like, but those are the only ones that really stood out after the first viewing.
Reward the cast/crew of the LOTR movies by seeing this movie at least twice... Maybe then other movie makers will catch a clue and start making more than just 'decent' stuff.