Warning: Those not interested in Lord of the Rings movie nitpicking need read no further.
After watching the extended edition DVD of the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King movie New Year's Day, my SO and I couldn't help but make a few lists to summarize our thoughts on the movie (we've tried to be careful with spoilers, but there's only so much we can do):
Best additions to the extended edition of RotK (we last saw the theatrical release a while ago, so may have missed some)
1. The Houses of Healing.
2. "The king has his crown again".
3. The Mouth of Sauron.
4. More on the siege of Gondor.
5. More cute orc armor on Frodo and Sam (and even marching with orcs!)
6. More time with Pippin in his Gondor armor.
7. More time and detail on Cirith Ungol.
Most mangled additions to the extended edition of RotK
1. Saruman's fireball: Magic is subtle in this world. Subtle!
2. Just about the entire conference with Saruman at Orthanc, especially the ending.
3. Gandalf's chat with the lord of the Nazgul.
4. The end of Aragorn's conference with the Mouth of Sauron.
5. Even more time spent on Arwen dying due to Sauron's power (or something).
6. The Indiana Jones sequence in the Paths of the Dead.
7. Aragorn seeing the corsairs from the end of the Paths of the Dead (he had to travel across a great amount of country to get to the river).
8. Eowyn talking to Merry on the road to Gondor with her helmet off (anyone could have seen her!)
9. The drinking contest.
Most glaring non-additions to the extended edition of RotK
1. The scouring of the Shire.
2. Gimli and Legolas talking about the Glittering Caves of Aglarond and Fangorn Forest.
3. Sam tracking orcs in despair after Frodo's encounter with Shelob.
Most mangled bits from the theatrical release of RotK:
1. Frodo and Gollum's fight at the very end.
2. Lack of scouring of the Shire (yep, it's big enough to mention twice).
3. Frodo telling Sam to go away.
4. Denethor's fiery leap.
5. That the "last ship" is leaving for Valinor (Sam, and others, enter Valinor decades later).
6. Pippin "dancing" with the palantir (subtlety, people, subtlety!)
7. Pippin lighting the signal fire.
Most mangled characters (in the entire series)
1. Denethor: A noble and keen-witted (if despairing) leader gets turned into a gluttonous, dimwitted, stereotypically ineffectual leader.
2. Treebeard (and all ents): The caring shepherds of the forest have no idea that their flock is being slaughtered.
3. Faramir: The noble man of the line of Numenor gets turned into a son whose only goal in life is to do something to make his father love him.
4. Gimli: He was so much more than comic relief.
5. Elrond: Wise, noble, helpful elf turned into unhelpful, domineering father.
6. Legolas: He could be so much more than Captain Obvious, the pretty killing machine.
7. Arwen: Why was she even in the movies as anything but a bit part?
8. The rangers (Dunedain): Where were they?
9. And, of course, how could I leave off my namesake (Radagast) from this list? He was deleted entirely (not that he doesn't deserve it, but still)!
Most improved characters (in the entire series)
1. Boromir: We both hated him in the books before seeing the movies, but now feel bad for him, even when rereading the books.
2. The Ring.