My son and I were one of the lucky people who got to see the extended DVD at the Chicago location.
The extra footage was funny (the extra Hobbiton stuff is a hoot!), touching (Aragorn singing the Lay of Luthien), scary (was Haldir going to turn them back at the border?), beautiful (the first view of “Elvendom on Earth”!), and sweet (Sam and Frodo talking about Rosie on the way out of the tavern).
We loved every minute of it. It’s got all the frosting on the cake now, and they should have put it out this way in the first place.
As wonderful as it was to sit in a room full of maybe 300 other people just as crazy about LOTR as we are, I could have lived without the teenage girls behind us screaming every time Sean Bean entered the scene. To say nothing of CRYING when Boromir died! But of course, they won’t be in my living room when I buy it on Tuesday. (My son’s remark – did they think he was going to pull through this time?!)
I don’t think I will ever watch the original theatrical release again. This one was too incredible.