Tolkien biographer Joseph Pearce doesn't believe "Tolkien [would] have given Peter Jackson's movies the thumbs-up." Why can't Barb consider the movie, not from a purist's point of view, but from a story-telling point of view?
Those of us who love the trilogy are a lot closer to understanding the purist's view than the story-teller's, I'd say. We already know the story, and have little trouble filling in the films' lacunae and wallowing in their excesses. The Two Towers is the only non-family movie I've seen in a theater in half a dozen years, and even as I watched it I was thinking, "I hope everyone else here already knows the story," and, "This really isn't a very good movie." Everyone is sort of moping around, and there's no obvious motivation for a lot of what the characters do. It's like an early rehearsal for the Battle of Helm's Deep, where everyone is more concerned with where to stand and when to walk to their next mark than with why they're standing or walking.
But it's still a hugely entertaining movie, for me at least, and I look forward to seeing the final installment. Not being a fanatic, though, I'm not seeing it on opening day. My pre-ordered ticket is for tomorrow morning.