It's long, at least one scene too long (the audience I was with groaned), but it's packed.
It will undoubtedly hit the top five of the imdb top hundred, and I don't think that's right. It's a magnificent effort, and a great achievement, but it is not one of the best ever films.
Peter Jackson (director) has done a very good job. The actors are all ok, no-one screams out 'bad' or even 'poor'. But I don't think there are any great performances in the trilogy. I still wonder if, as he thinks, Christopher Lee could have done better at Gandalf, for example.
Peter Jackson (producer) has done a staggeringly good job. I don't want to even think about how many things the producers have had to bear in mind.
Peter Jackson (script writer) has also done a very good job, even if every so often I got the feeling that 20, 30, 40 or even 50 pages of the book were skipped over in a single cut. It's been over twenty years since I read the books, but a whole section of the end has certainly gone.
So why not one of the best ever?
Well, it's mostly the fault of the books. Plus the score's just 'ok'. The effects work is mostly good - some of the model work screams out 'model!' and some of the CGI didn't convince.
I just like his earlier splatter films more. They're more fun.
Update: It's currently (31st Dec) at #4 on the imdb top list. Told you so :)