The most harrowing part of our trip didn't happen to us - Chris's friends from work were supposed to go with us -- well, I think Chris will tell the story but basically, I looks like when the wife cleaned for Thanksgiving company, she threw the tickets away. (and really has no idea what she did to the poor guy. She kept saying things like - it's ok, we'll go on Thursday.) check out Jim's journal for the real world end to a perfect day...
OK, here are some very very quick first impressions - we are going at least once more tomorrow, and I should have a better handle on it.
These are non-spoilery, but hey, I write book-verse, so you took your chances when you came in here...
Thing no one I go with was surprised about: I get an emotional hard-on over the architecture and props. Osgiliath made me limp in my seat, both from its visuals, and what was happening there.
Most beautiful thing I did expect to be a beautiful thing: The seventh level of the city, with the top of the ship wall. Oh, and Faramir!
Most beautiful thing I did not expect to be a beautiful thing: Grond! Grond! Grond! Grond! Grond!
Still I most wanted: the beautiful Alan Lee drawings that go with each character. I wanted Faramir enough to howl, and Boromir and Aragorn were only slightly edged out.
Actual still I most wanted: Very tough choice, this, but... Faramir opening his eyes.
Best How can that be making me cry: The Lighting of the Beacons.
I cried the hardest: when the opening credits started.
Denethor is : Unbelievably! tied with my vengeful Denethor for Bad!Denethor no doughnut. Mine is probably more truly evil since I feel he enjoys it. But John Nobles visuals are so -- heartstopping -- and icky---
This left me liking both Eowyn, who uses misdirection instead of whinyness, and Arwen, who I felt was caught up in destiny- see below.
story I was most worried about finishing before this came out and didn't, but it had no effect - the palantir arc.
Stories I am most pleased I wrote before this came out: Arwen as the Ace of Cups and Pip's relationship with Faramir, especially Sworn Man.
I didn't outright hate anything that was in except the Arwen is Dying arc which makes no sense in any context and took up time, because the real problem is, there are WAY too many thing that are not going to make sense to non bookies till the extended. If the purpose of the cuts was to make the story tighter for the mass audience, you can't jump from point a to point b with no nod to how such a massive change came about.
And maybe the best screen kiss ever. at least until the extended....