We've just got back from seeing The Two Towers. One word - fantastic! It really lived up to all our expectations. The acting was superb (Gollum was particularly good - voice and CGI came together a treat), and the scenes were absolutely stunning. The battle scenes were the only part of the book that I found a bit tedious, but they were totally awe-inspiring in the film.
I suppose it's because I know (and presumably Peter Jackson does too) that JRR Tolkien was influenced by the events of the First World War, but the depiction of Isingard reminded me hauntingly of the mud of the Somme, the arming of the boys in Helm's Deep had echoes of all the young men who went "over the top" to their deaths, and the gathering of Saruman's forces looked chillingly like a Nazi rally. But alongside all the heroics of the elves and men, they didn't lose the quieter and more profound heroism of the hobbits, battling with their own fears.
The Ents were much better than I'd expected. I think that the sound they made was actually elephant infrasound calls - quite appropriate, since they are for long distance communication, rumbling through the earth. There were a few minor absurdities: I'm sure that Gimli wasn't such a wise-cracker in the book (though it's such a dark film, I can forgive them that), and there was a moment where some horses suddenly appeared in a hall in Helm's Deep (do they keep them in the cupboard under the stairs, or what?). But none of these decreased my enjoyment.
So, in the spirit of an Alan Partridge style poll, what race of Middle Earth would you be - Elf, Dwarf, Man (there are no women in Tolkien, only women in the women-and-children sense) or Hobbit? I would love to think that I would be an Elf - graceful, elegant, light of foot and sharp of eye, and with an ingenious horse mounting technique. But in my heart I know that this would just be going against my nature. I pretty much am a Hobbit already - very short, big hairy feet (well, OK, they're not hairy) planted firmly in the earth, stubborn and home-loving.
One kid in the cinema obviously fancied himself as Gollum, and did a frighteningly good impression of him. He's going to drive his family up the wall over the next few days.