The Return of the King
Now, I viewed the Matrix series with a critical eye, looking for philosophical themes and analyzing every character and plot turn. This enabled me to enjoy the last one, while many others were disappointed.
LOTR, though, I attended looking only for enticing cinema. Sure, I enjoyed the books, but they were exercise for the imagination. As the quintessential example of world building fiction, much of the enchantment in the books is in filling in the details of the world. I, for example, will always associate the story with the music of Delerium; it just seems appropriate. Movies, of course, fill in many of those details for you. To expect the film version to be “faithful” to the story is to ask an impossible feat of medium translation. Additionally, if I judge the films by my own mental rendering of the stories, I am destined for disappointment.
If my subconscious finds the story engaging because of classic good vs. evil themes and portrayals of archetypes, that’s fine. Consciously, though, I sought only a lot of cool battle scenes. Like a child, I just wanted to see pretty pictures, follow an interesting epic, and look for my favorite character. So, of course, I loved it.