The unfortunate thing about seeing a movie of a story I know so well is that, at least the first time I see it, I can't help but compare every bit of dialogue and every bit of plot with the story to see what was changed. The especially unfortunate thing about Lord of the Rings in this regard is that the movie's hype machine keeps on churning out statements about how Jackson has hardly changed the story at all, only the bare minimum necessary to bring it to screen, blah blah blah. And although that isn't true for his version of Fellowship (Bakshi's version, with a screenplay written by Peter S. Beagle, is based more closely on Tolkien, say whatever you will about rotoscaping), for some reason I was holding out hope that Two Towers would contain fewer gratuitous changes.
I was wrong. It had more. And they kept pissing me off.
I didn't like much of anything about the way the Ent story was handled. I didn't like the notion that Saruman had "possessed" Theoden's body or that Theoden's depression was entirely due to a magic spell. I didn't like the squabble between Arwen and her father (one might think that elves who had lived for 100s/1000s of years would have finished with adolescence). I would have preferred that Fangorn come to Helm's Deep instead of Lothlorien elves. I didn't like that Faramir was all set to take the Ring against Frodo's will and suddenly changed his mind. I thought Gollum was good but not good enough to deserve that much screen time and I didn't like the "go away and never come back" bit, which sounded like it was out of some kind of new age encounter group [imagining a new age encounter group full of Gollums]).
At first, I rather liked Jackson's slightly altered emphasis on the relationship between Frodo and Gollum - emphasizing the similarities between them as fellow ring-bearers. But by the time Frodo had his sword at Sam's neck for several minutes, I thought it had been a little overdone.
I liked the way they opened the movie. I liked most of the battle of Helm's deep and the Rohirrim in general.
And yet, some parts made me cry or otherwise blew me away emotionally.
So I kept swinging back and forth between "blown away" and "pissed off."
As with Fellowship, I'll probably like it better when I see it a second time and I can consider it as a movie on its own merits.