The LOTR films were far better than I would have expected — although I am still irked by the portrayal of Aragorn as unsure of his role and unsure of his love for Arwen. Goes completely against Tolkien’s vision of the world.
Jackson butchered most of the male characters; Frodo was more assertive and had more leadership qualities, and he certainly never told Sam to take a hike. Theoden and Denethor were weakened, and their characters became (in the eyes of my friends who had not read the book prior to seeing the movies) basically identical.
I still think that someone should make LOTR into a television series. That’s the only way to have enough time to do it justice.
I didn’t like the story liberties taken with Merry and Pippin. The whole theme of the thing was friendship, and in the book, Merry, Pippin, Sam and Fatty conspired from the beginning to protect Frodo. They took that totally out of the movie, and I think it was poorer for it - making it seem just an accident the hobbits all went along.
The continual “slo-mo” scenes throughout the movie were too much, also. Having Arwen cast a “spell” over the river struck me as wrong also - there was no “witchiness” associated in the book with the fellowship.
The scene with Galadriel and the pool was off. In the book she is kind, and involved - she warns him not to touch the water. In the movie she’s like a malevolent zombie in that scene, just staring at Frodo while he’s struggling.
You know, it’s the small things that get you and make you say, I don’t know if they understood the character at all. Leaving things out to condense time is one thing. Having characters do something that just seems essentially wrong is what bothers me, like they lost some basic essence.
Oh, and Sauron - well, he’s just all wrong. I don’t know what I really expected, but what I got wasn’t it.