The Return of the King is without a shadow of a doubt an 'event' and not just a film. Orcs and Sourcery shouldn't really be this much of media darling: everybody on tv was gushing forth the praise like a smoker exhaling with joy that first drag in the morning(thats better mmm menthol!). the film itself is a resounding success amazing battle scenes, good characters and sexy elves!
or perhaps not...
As a cinemtatic translation of perhaps the greatest book of all time (apart from the bible and the koran and maybe the communist manifresto but i digress) it fails miserably. its not that it doesn't capture the spirit of the book; its just that it perverts it. The spectacles of pelenoor and shelob understandably are set peices around which the film and book's narratives is based and spectacular and epochal they are. but for me the greatest aspect of the book are the journeys, the physical journeys, through a distant yet familar land is lost. there is nothing to deepen our understanding of the deadites/ghost/zombies that aragorn enlists. or the scouring of the shire. or the palantir.
the fellowship has more of the awe of the scenery, the experience of the journey than the two towers or the king strikes back but not the same epic grandeur of martial conflict. yet this film(s) is a triumph, as it circumvented at least an americanization of the books which would have been far worse than measured clipping and transformations of jackson's menagerie. the casting has proven to be almost universally spot on with the possible exception of denethor(patrick stuart would have been my choice). thees gorra see this film. get thee to a screnery!