Thanks to an online pal who won tickets, I got to attend this great screening Tuesday night.

The biggest thing: This wasn’t just a movie with a few new scenes spliced in, it was a whole ‘nother movie entirely. Very, very few scenes were exactly as they were before, and the whole thing seemed completely re-scored, so even familiar scenes sometimes had slightly different music in them. Sometimes it was something as small as just a new cut to a different camera angle on something, or even a single line that had been added or changed, so all in all, it was a completely fresh
experience. Being able to see it at the wonderful Cinerama (with the new TTT trailer before, too–woot!) made it all the better, as well.

Scene-by-scene as much as I can remember. Some of these descriptions will sound familiar if you’ve read the reviews so far.

Prologue: A new bit of business with Isildur fighting and putting on the Ring, which he loses in the river.

Opening sequence is completely changed, and is now a great voiceover by Bilbo as he writes “Concerning Hobbits” with a few bits of funny Hobbit business, and a beautiful shot of Sam lovingly planting flowers outside Bag End. Bilbo gets interrupted by people knocking on the door, and has a truly fantastic freakout moment when he misplaces the Ring. Then it cuts to the opening we’re familiar with, with Frodo reading and happening on Gandalf. There is a fair amount of new dialogue here, and some of Gandalf’s dialogue is replaced by Bilbo’s voiceovers. This bit felt slightly disjointed, to me, but I did love the new lines.

The party scene has a few new bits in it, including a great Bilbo/Frodo sequence which spells out more of their relationship and is also quite funny.

New scene: The Green Dragon. Singing, table dancing Merry and Pip! With Frodo running around the table they’re on! Frodo and Sam and the Gaffer chatting about strange goings-on. A very brief glance between Rosie and Sam, who turns away from her. A bit more on their exit from the pub, where the hobbit behind Sam says goodnight to Rosie in an efflusive manner, and Sam gets indignant. Frodo pats him and says, “Don’t worry, Sam. Rosie knows an idiot when she sees one.” whereupon Sam pauses, confused and concerned and says “You think she does?” My take: I could’ve done without this bit, because I disliked how it portrayed Sam as a doofus.

Next new scene: Frodo and Sam on their journey, Frodo reading, Sam cooking. They hear the singing of the wood elves, and go watch them leave, and talk about the Havens. Wonderful foreshadowing here, where Sam says that the whole idea of sailing away, never to return, makes him very sad. Frodo and Sam have a lovely moment between them with this.

Next great new scene: Frodo and Sam laying by the fire, trying to get sleep. Sam complains about being poked in the back by roots, and Frodo tells him, in a quiet, loving and gentle voice, to imagine being back in his bed, with soft feather pillows. Sam listens to him, and they lay there for a moment, and then he says, “nope, this isn’t going to work, I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight.” Frodo smiles gently and says, “Me neither, Sam.”

There were a few new bits on the journey to Bree, and in Bree itself. New lines from the Gatekeeper and Barliman.

There’s a small bit in the Midgewater marshes, and a few other new long shots. There are a couple of new shots of Merry actually saying his “how do we know…” line, and a nice little dig about the way Aragorn smells! Then there’s a lovely little scene where Viggo sings a song about Beren and Luthien. He plays this very well, in terms of the Aragorn/Arwen story.

Weathertop is the same, but there’s a great little added line at the stone trolls from Sam. The horse chase and waking up in Rivendell is the same. We meet Boromir, who has a few more lines and interaction with Aragorn.

The Council scene has a major new added bit, where Boromir goes for the Ring, and Gandalf stops him by chanting “Azh Nazg…” which causes all hell to break loose. There are a few new shots here and there of everyone during this. Even Figwit gets a new shot! Woo! There’s the scene of Aragorn at his mother’s grave, talking to Elrond, which is great. The best bit in Rivendell, though, is when the Comapny departs, and Frodo looks achingly beautiful, and small, as he tries to be courageous and lead the party out, but has to ask Gandalf which way Mordor is.

The journey:

A few more long shots. The most fantastic bit here is an extension of the Boromir/Merry/Pippin scene, where Aragorn goes to pull M/P off Boromir, and they attack him as well, knocking him down, all of them ending up in a giggling pile.

Caradhras: There’s a new shot of Merry and Pip, freezing their poor little hobbit butts off, and Boromir saying they can’t survive the cold. The walls of Moria: A lovely new sequence here, where Gimli waxes poetic a bit more, as they search for the door, and Legolas (!) has a funny line about it!!! (I absolutely loved this, and I hope he gets more funny lines in the next movies–it’s a nice break from his normal suave sniper character.) There is a drop-dead funny bit where Pippin teases Gandalf for not being able to open the doors and Gandalf says he’ll use Pip’s head to bust them open if he doesn’t shush.

Inside the Mines there is a new sequence where they discuss what Moria’s true treasure was (Mithril.)

The cave troll sequence is extended a bit with a few new bits of action, primarily focusing on Boromir.

Balrog and all that is pretty much the same.

The next new stuff is Lothlorien, which is HUGELY expanded. It almost seems criminal to me now, how much they sliced from the theatrical version. There is a ton of new Haldir stuff, and a lot of new dialogue in Elvish (including some from Legolas.) There is even a line in Dwarvish, too, which is great. There is a lot of new Celeborn and Galadriel stuff at the meeting. There’s an expanded bit between Merry and Legolas (“I haven’t the heart to tell you..”) and then a cute bit with Sam trying to recite some poetry for Gandalf. There’s a new bit where Galadriel shows Nenya to Frodo during the Mirror scene. The gifting and send off is all new, and we get to see a softer, gentler side of Galadriel, which is great. Sam makes her laugh, with a funny little question. Galadriel and Aragorn have a scene talking about Arwen. Then there’s the Lembas scene, as Dom described at the ComiCon breakfast. I won’t spoil that one for you any more, but suffice it to say I had to force myself to stop laughing, and that it’s pure Peter Jackson. Celeborn and Aragorn have a scene where Celeborn tells him that there are “new orcs” pursuing them.

They all finally push off down the river, and then there’s a new scene where they stop for the night. Boromir spies Gollum, and then has a confrontation with Aragorn, where we see how he’s really starting to lose it. Sam goes all concerned on Frodo and tries to get him to eat something.

The next newness is in the Amon Hen battle scene where we get to see a lot more battle action from Legolas, Merry and Pippin. There’s a fabulous new bit in the Lurtz/Aragorn battle. And then a heartbreaking new line at the end of Boromir’s death scene.

That’s about it. I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few things, and I haven’t quite gone into as much detail as I’d like, but this is the gist of it. It’s absolutely wonderful, and I could seriously watch it another 9 times (as I saw the original in the theater), as a whole new movie. I loved seeing more smiles from Galadriel and Legolas, more funny lines, more character interaction, more setup of Pippin as a ninny (which will be lovely to contrast with how much his character grows later), more sensitive Aragorn, more tidbits of history and details, more non-English dialogue, more screentime for Haldir and Celeborn, and, best of all, for this hobbit, more Sam and Frodo! Thanks, Peter!