If you'd predicted back in 1992 that Jackson would enter the third millennium spending $360m on Lord of the Rings, you might have been locked up. The boy's done good. Looking at this one, you can perhaps just about tell, given the yearning for scale and the detachment from reality, though I imagine we probably won't be seeing Gandalf going berserk with a lawnmower. This still remains the paint-the-walls-red goriest movie of all time, building beautifully from a slow opening which creates some great characters (Moody as the mother: "You know what she is: she's experienced...") up towards the final half-hour hell-bent on going gloriously over the top.
Criticisms? Sure: the period setting is irrelevant, save to justify some wobbly model trams, and the final monster fails miserably to get anywhere near the standards of the previous effects. But the spirit and inventiveness on view is wonderful, and it's no wonder Jackson and Fran Walsh would be Oscar-nominated for their next script, Heavenly Creatures. Kung-fu priests, zombie babies, and more totally appalling things to do to the human body than you ever imagined possible.