I was glad they left out the scouring of the shire in this version. The movie is so long, that by the time the characters are heading home, the last thing I wanted to watch was another big, heartwrenching problem for them (I felt the same way about the book). An English friend of mine said that he likes the scouring scene in the book because it shows how Merry and Pippin grow and deal with the problem in the Shire on their own (for the most part) but I think the books and movie had already illustrated that quality in them, through their battles and separation, without this. I do love how they do come home in the movie, and how the scowling hobbit man is there to see them return.
And I'm so, so glad that the movie ended quite faithfully to the book, with Sam simply saying to his wife, "Well, I'm back." I'd been waiting in suspense for over three years to see if they'd use that line, possibly my favorite line from the trilogy, and I was so thankful that they did. There were several times in all three movies that I felt silly because I was a grown woman brought to tears by a fantasy tale, but that particular line always gets me.
I must admit that I always felt really sad whenever I got to the end of these books, because even though it's supposed to be an uplifting theme, the reminder of the passage of time and how it changes things just really depresses me! The movie sort of makes me feel that way too. It's a bittersweet experience. When I first heard that they were making this trilogy I was wishing they would actually have started with "The Hobbit." But now I think it will be a good thing if Peter Jackson and the studios resolve their financial dispute and Jackson makes "The Hobbit" now, because I've always felt sad at themes dealing with the passing of time, people getting old and dying (or going away forever), and it will be so nice to see a younger, revived Bilbo in a movie version of the book that is much more lighthearted than the trilogy that came after it. I'm really looking forward to what Peter and his crew will do with that one. I think the passage of time may prevent Ian Holm from being able to pick up the role of a younger Bilbo, but I think Billy Boyd would be perfect to switch into this role - he does look the part. : ) Though some might prefer an English accent to a Scottish - personally I think, once the movie got going a bit, no one would give it much thought.
This movie is still by far the best adaptation of this book. (The Keira Knightley version has its own charms here and there, but overall was a big disappointment to purists and was not historically accurate at all, though Donald Sutherland did add a surprising sweetness to Mr. Bennet - a nice if not faithful interpretation.)
There is one little editing goof in this version that does make me smile. How many times do they tell us that Lambton is but five miles from Pemberley?
And I'm glad I did. While I don't share quite the exclamation-point-profuse enthusiasm some reviewers have for it, I was very impressed. (***Don't read any further if you haven't seen the movie yet and don't want to spoil the surprise.***) I had no idea throughout who was good, who was crazy, whether or not there was anything supernatural going on, whether or not the kids were really sick, or how it would end. I, fortunately, hadn't read the other reviews here of it before watching the movie, so hadn't made the obvious comparison to the surprise ending of another ghost story that came out at the same time, ahem ahem...but I didn't mind it. It was different enough, in my opinion, to still be likable, and it had come as quite a surprise to me. And really, excellent as the other movie was, it was NOT the first ever to use such a concept. It was even used in "Beetlejuice," remember? Though in that one it happened at the beginning, not the end.
Anyway, "The Others" is a pleasant surprise of a ghost story.