Anyway. Viewing it in a sort of post-LotR-dominant world is a little bittersweet.
Here's the thing: fans have gotten so jaded about it.
Yes, everyone has a right to gripe about the things left out. Whether there were inferiorities.
(For goodness sake, *I've* discovered that I've outgrown this vision of Faramir, and Strider's so hot I'm reluctant to leave that part of the movie behind...)
But fandom loves too well to hate a thing because it became popular with the mainstream, having gone outside the original fans (which is rot, my mother was in high school when these books were having their first revival of popularity, these fanchildren can get over it)
And it's so rank of privilege, in a way.
This movie was my Star Wars. I grew up watching movies with the toolset to create fantasy worlds from it's pioneering, but Lord of the Rings was the kind of awestruck experience that I think the first generation of Star Wars viewers felt in the theatre. There was an art to it, a skill to the mastery of new and old techniques, used to a whole other level. Suddenly, even what you could do with writing had to level up accordingly.
It was a masterpiece. John Howe and Alan Lee helped create a thematic realization of their whole bodies of work in fandom. Weta Workshop pushed the envelope for skill and artistry in both digital and physical design. Whole ranks of artists labored, some of them just to put together masses of chainmail, for years, that would hang right and be structured correctly.
And so maybe Peter Jackson has jumped the Phantom Menace shark with the Hobbit. My teen brothers love it, because it's the sprawling epic fantasy they are looking for, though the reason I love the Hobbit best of all books is because of the quiet threads of British humor and Bilbo's delightfully domestic outlook on these events of great moment. The man is an artist, like anyone, and can you imagine living with that over your head, as probably the greatest achievement of your life or at least the most notable? Who wouldn't go into a bit of sequel madness?
(And let's not even try to figure out how much studio politics must have gone into this incarnation, as well. Jackson got to produce LotR without any forces of expectations of a knowing public, and very little oversight from powers that be. That has no doubt changed a LOT.)
And you know what? I am SO SICK of feeling defensive because I fell in love with this movie, and gave it a piece of my heart I am never getting back.
Lord of the Rings was amazing.
So maybe Orlando Bloom, not so much.
And ten years from now, there'll be a more artsy rendition in which all the characters are less archetypical and more artsy, and I won't like it as well, but I'll give it a fair chance. But it'll be because PJ made it possible.
And no doubt some coming-of-age filmmaker who imprinted on that masterpiece will be doing something spectacular with innovations we can't even imagine.