A word on the Lord of the Rings Extended Edition: The extended films are 'superior' in that they more completely convey the details of the story, plus added things like further showing the relationship between Boromir and Faramir. Whereas the theatrical cut is superior in that it is more professionally finished, every scene you see it cut correctly with the proper effects meshed nicely - they are tighter, and tell the story concisely.
But in the theatrical edition, some things just don't make sense because the bit of the film that set it up was cut and you'll find it in the book.
And in the extended edition you get things that are just plain wrong, like the death of Saruman (which I believe had simply been cut for the theatrical edition), and Tom Bombadil's lines being transplanted into Treebeard's mouth. Without those bits, I could have pretended that the Scouring of the Shire happened, and that the hobbits really did meet Tom Bombadil.
But since both versions suffer from innacuracies such as these (like forgetting to convey that 20 years passed between Bilbo's party and Frodo fleeing the Shire), overall I do prefer the extended edition. And the book is even better*.
*Yes, fine, the films are amazing and impressive and a lot of love and care went into them, but I still don't get why the books get forgotten so much of the time. As soon as the films came along, it's as if they were an original idea by Peter Jackson linked loosely to some guy called Tolkien.
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