In the back of the theatre, they had a hot table with pizzas, a bowl of ice, a stack of cups, and various pitchers of soda, lined up by brand & type. (Unfortunately, there was one pitcher that had been placed halfway between the "Dr Pepper" row and the "Diet" row by some idiot. I didn't know what it was and didn't touch it.) I got some pizza and a Dr Pepper, and spotted Paracelsus and Aisha (local furries; in fact, Paracelsus was the guy I heard about the event from.) I joined them and some of Josh's friends (a clever way of saying "Paracelsus's non-furry friends", clever except for the fact that I had to explain it just now) and we sat down. The seats have tables in front of them to put your food and drinks on.
At midnight, before the movie started, a guy stood at the front of the theatre and welcomed us all, and then introduced two guys, one dressed as a warrior of Gondor and the other dressed as an Orc, and they fought. (Because it was midnight, they could get away with stuff like the Orc giving the other guy the finger and shouting "Fuck Gondor!") The Gondorian won, of course.
Then the movie started! Wait, no, the previews started. One of the fun things about seeing a movie with an all-geek crowd is, people aren't afraid to yell funny comments at the screen. During the Spiderman 2 trailer, when Mary Jane says to a reluctant Peter Parker, "Kiss me", someone yelled, "If you don't, you're an asshole!" There were also trailers for "The Butterfly Effect", in which Ashton Kutcher gains the ability to change the past, yet inexplicably does not go back to prevent "Dude, Where's My Car" from being made. Um, and some other trailers I don't remember.
Okay, then the movie started. We get to see a flashback in which Sméagol and his cousin Déagol find the Ring in the river. Déagol finds it, then Sméagol kills him and takes it, then gets older, bonier, creepier and slimier, until he turns into the computer-animated Gollum we all know and love. (One scene shows a closeup of Gollum's rotten teeth biting into a raw fish. I still had some pizza; I wonder how many other people were trying to eat pizza at that moment!)
We also see Gandalf & company arriving at the flooded ruins of Isengard to be warmly greeted by Pippin & Merry; Pipping looking into the palantír and seeing the Eye of Sauron; Frodo and Sam fighting Shelob, the giant spider...
Oh yes, and the battle scenes. A huuuuuuge army of Orcs and Uruk-hai against Minas Tirith, soon joined by Haradrim atop gigantic Oliphaunts. These things are about as big as the AT-AT Walkers from "The Empire Strikes Back", and bear a resemblance to them as well. In one scene, Legolas climbs an Oliphaunt to fight all the soldiers riding on it; after he's done dispatching them, I half-expected him to trip the Oliphaunt by tying its legs together!
Many funny lines, too. When Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli go out in search of the Dead Men of the Mountains, they find a scary cave of doom they have to enter. Aragorn runs in, then Legolas runs in. Gimli hesitates, but then says, "Wait a minute! An elf going underground, while a dwarf fears to? ...I'd never hear the end of it!" And he enters the cave too.
Oh, and remember when I said people were making comments at the screen during the previews? Nobody yelled anything during the movie itself; we were all too entranced to do so.
Ohhh yes, and the climactic scene inside Mount Doom was stunning. Frodo finally makes it to the edge, and stands there, ready to drop the ring... but unable to do so... instead he puts it on... and then Gollum leaps out and pounces him! Imagine, if you will, Gollum wrestling an invisible hobbit and then biting off his invisible finger with the invisible ring on it! And then Gollum holds up the ring and gazes upon it with a look of absolute joy on his face. He's finally got his precious back! This is the happiest day of his life! Until, of course, Frodo fights him some more and he falls off the cliff into the molten lava and dies. Then the Ring melts and the Eye of Sauron goes "WHAT THE FUCK" and then "OH SHIT" and then "FOOM"!
Frodo and Sam are then rescued from Mount Doom by eagles, taken to Rivendell and healed up, and then they go back to the Shire. Here's where a large chunk of the book was left out, to keep the movie from being five hours long: we don't get the bit with Saruman taking over the Shire, calling himself Sharkey, and turning the place into a police state. (Maybe not a bad thing. "Sharkey"?! I'm picturing Saruman in a pinstriped suit saying things like "I'm da new boss o' da Shire, capisce?")
So anyway, is Return of the King worth seeing? Oh HELL yeah!