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(the main reason I avoided the LOTR movies...
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i gotta tell ya, jon. there aren't many bigger fans of tolkien's works than me. i first read the hobbit and the trilogy in the late sixties. i've read them again four times over the years.((plus the silmarillion and tolkien bios and anything else i could get my hands on.) i've collected (pre-peter jackson) LOTR stuff. and when i went to see thse flicks, i was not disappointed. sure, there's dramatic license taken in them. and there's stuff left out. but overall... it's freakin awesom! the "heart" of tolkien is in these movies. jackson, obviiously, was also a huge tolkien fan before making these flicks and he threw his all into it. the actors are perfectly cast. they're now my favorite movies of all time.