It's really late, and I need to get up for work tomorrow. But I wanted to write my first impressions of The Two Towers while they're fresh in my mind. Spoilers abound, so don't read on unless you don't care about that sort of thing.
It's a great movie, at least the equal of the first one, and sometimes better. They've taken a lot of liberties with the text this time around: Faramir intends to take the Ring to Gondor, and only changes his mind when he sees Frodo's temptation to use it himself. Elrond and Arwen appear and talk about how she should leave Middle-Earth and Aragorn. Merry and Pippin have to show the Ents the destruction of the trees at Isengard before they decide to attack. I'm sure there are more. But those are all OK with me, though I thought Faramir was a more upstanding character in the book than he was in the movie. Merry and Pippin don't have much to do in the book, so letting them show the Ents the way gives them some depth. And there has to be a little romantic and dramatic tension in the love story.
Helm's Deep was every bit as amazing as I thought it would be. Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas all get the chance to show their skills in battle. The Ents attacking Isengard was good, but I missed the horns and drums that Tolkien mentions repeatedly when describing the Ents' language and battle songs. Gollum was fantastic. I hope he does get some Oscar consideration, because his performance is probably the best acting job in the movie. I hated him and loved him at the same time, which is just how the character is supposed to make you feel.
The movie has no beginning and doesn't have much of an ending. It throws you right into the story and leaves you anticipating the ending. I can't wait to see The Return of the King next year. I'd go get in line now, if it weren't so cold and late.