Conceived and executed as one gigantic, 9hr. 18min. film, this faithful, innovative adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy kept children and everyone else hanging on to the grand story, though it was released over three consecutive Decembers. By disdaining the facetiousness that informed nearly every other fantasy (and most other kinds of Hollywood-type movies), LOTR located a narrative and emotional grandeur that had been missing nearly as long as the ring that carries Middle Earth’s destiny and Frodo the Hobbit’s doom. The digital effects work, however imposing, built on the achievements of generations of Hollywood technicians. What remains amazing about the enterprise is that, over seven years of planning, production and digital effects work, Jackson kept his eye on the prize, never losing the epic heft or stinting on the telling visual or character detail. It’s wonderful when moviemakers dream this big, and make their dreams ours.