I'm going to be very brief as it's close to midnight and I have to finish a book for work before I go to bed. As I work for, ahem, New Line Cinema, we had an employee screening of a certain film tonight in Sherman Oaks, CA at the new Pacific Theaters there. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is amazing. The visuals are astonishing, with worlds you couldn't even imagine in your head coming to vivid life. The casting is spot-perfect and the acting solid. While the FX are jaw-droppingly good (and by and large organic-looking and not just obvious CG, particularly in the Cave Troll sequence), what's so nice about the film is the emotional depth to the proceedings; when tragedy strikes, you feel it. As I haven't read the books since high school, I'm not sure how close it hews to the original material, but my friend said that while there were a few minor changes, it's fairly accurate. It's surprisingly dark and nasty at times; there's very little in the way of cutesy Harry Potter antics. Fear and uncertainty play a large part in how the characters react to their situations; the piece is refreshingly mature. The three-hour running time is not a deterrent; the consensus of most of the crowd was that we wanted to see the next six hours right away-- and not have to wait two years to see this all through! See this in the biggest, loudest theater that you can. The low-end bass in our theater was astonishing. Coming from a professed movie cynic (whose faith in film has only been recently validated by such gems as "Amelie" and "Donnie Darko"), this is a terrific picture and almost -- almost -- makes me forget "Dungeons & Dragons."