Well you and I certainly differ in opinion with regard to the score; I thought the music, overall, was weak. As far as acting I should have also mentioned that Sean Bean in FOTR was incredibly good. In fact, I couldn't have asked for more from him. However, Viggo, Orlando and John Rhys-Davies (altho I liked the latter a fair amount more) were less, in my opinion, than ideal in bringing across the characters. Gimli was used a bit too often for comic relief, and that came across in the acting. Aragorn had little of his dignity or understated strength of character that was so easily detectible in the books. I had difficulty believing he was half as old as he's supposed to be. Legolas, the opposite problem: he seemed TOO old; that is, far too collected and cool. In the books he came across not as some uber-sweet guy who kicks everythings ass without breaking a sweat, although he was obviously a great fighter, he had a sort of playful side to him as well. Hugo Weaving was fairly good for what he was there for, but I don't think I was the only one who couldn't dismiss the image of agent smith... it would've been excellent casting aside from that.
As for having a movie move you, I didn't feel at all moved by the relationships, possibly because liv tyler was so aggregiously bad, and they excluded the houses of healing bit where Eowyn meets Faramir. I'll say I was awed by the battle scenes, of course, but there are several movies that have done that for me. And Gandalf Vs. Balrog I came away from going 'IF THE BALROG LET HIM GO WHY DIDNT HE JUST PULL HIMSELF UP?!?'
All in all the films didnt have half the emotional power of Apocalypse Now, The Godfather Pt I, Schindler's list, Citizen Kane and others.
Effects, as both you and I said were awesome, and I should've given a bit more credit for Gollum, because he was done so unbelievably well. Costumes, you say? Yes, good, but not 'Holy shit', I mean they fit, but you don't realy notice them as a great feature of the film. Makeup was good on the orcs, but not revolutionary.
And the directing was, sadly, not up to snuff. The manner in which the thing was done was fine in parts, good in others, but not 'Holy-Fuck-It's-Like-Pulp-Fiction' good. There wasn't the impact, the magnitude of the thing wasn't brought across a hundreth part as well as it was in the books. Go watch A Clockwork Orange for some REAL impact.
Now I do think it was a very good trilogy, and I think ROTK was a GREAT movie, probably the best of 2003 (Although if you really take the time to examine what was done with Kill Bill, it was an excellent picture, but we'll have to wait for pt II to really judge that one). But to put it or the trilogy on the level of masterpieces is a blowing things waaaay out of proportion.
So I guess you and me see LOTR a bit differently... you love it so much that something that is well done and reflects it in most ways is in your opinion on a level with God. I can see where you come from with that, but for me, I love it so much that something that doesn't do it justice, anything that I can honestly say does not live up to the absolute unparalleled epic greatness that was The Lord of The Rings books, is not something that I will put on a level with them. These movies were that something. I loved them, but I won't place them on my bookshelf next to any of my copies of the books.