We saw Return of the King this weekend with some friends. I loved it. As with most everyone else there are things that I wish had been included, but nothing significant enough to sour the movie for me. Of course if I had my way, there would have been six five-hour movies to tell the tale, but alas that could not happen.

On the positive side, the visuals were outstanding as expected. The battle scenes were wonderful, and the landscapes breathtaking. The actors turned in wonderful performances, particularly Sean Astin. The Oscars are the one remaining major awards presentation in which I have any faith left. If Astin is not at least nominated, all hope is lost. Elijah Wood was also wonderful, and Peter Jackson did an excellent job conveying the burden the Ring was to Frodo.

Of the three movies Return of the King may have presented Jackson with his biggest challenge. Fellowship and The Two Towers had a fair amount of material that could be easily stripped away. ROTK has much less of this type of material. A good case for inclusion can be made for much of the material that Jackson chose not to include, or gloss over, but a good case can be made for the material that was included. So, all in all, I really can't complain. Here are some of the things I do wish had been included.

*The Mouth of Sauron. This is the one item I feel would have added quite a bit of drama and emotion to the movie. The Mouth of Sauron presenting Frodo's armor, and the despair that it brought would have been wonderful. I also think that it could have been done in a way that would have made the audience question the fate of Sam and Frodo (at least for those not familiar with the books).

*Saruman. I expected the scene at Isengard to be abbreviated, but I was hopping for at least some confrontation and the breaking of Saruman's staff.

*More Gimli! I agree with Jaquanor's wish to see more of the dwarf's hand to hand combat prowess.

*The Rangers. I don't think it would have been too much to include the Rangers arriving with Elrond, and follow Aragorn through the Paths of the Dead. This would have added to the uniting of the Men of middle earth.

*One complaint about the visuals. All four of us who saw the movie on Saturday agreed that the scope of Minas Tirith was lost in the attack on the city. The orcs' catapults appeared to decimate (yes, reduce by one-tenth) the city.

*One big MISTAKE come during the crowning of Aragorn. In the shots of the four hobbits, Sam is the tallest. Um, Merry, Pippin? I honestly cannot believe that Peter Jackson missed this one. It would have been fine if no reference had been made to their growth, but to include the Ent Draught in the special edition of TTT, and forget it at the end?

As I said, overall, I loved the movie, and I expect that I will like it even more after seeing it again. I hope that some of the things I mentioned make their way into the special edition DVD.