I was highly unsure of Jeremy Irons (one of my absolute favourite English Actors) playing Brom. I need not be. They even had him doing some voice over narrating (because there is _so much_ exposition) that just set my heart a flutter at the very beginning. (He is one of the bestest voice over people in the world!!! (le sigh)) He owned that part. bringing to it much of what was described in the book but obviously not written in the movie...Gosh he is good. The movie itself stayed as faithful to the structure of the book, up to a point. Completely skipped over a couple of chapters that were terriffic in the book, but would have _seriously_ dragged down the movie (I mean how exciting can you make someone learning to read? Or going to a library for several days trying to track something down in old ledgers? Good to cut out, and not necessarily needed, but I miss a lot of the meaty character development it had.)
That's one of the big problems with trying to squeeze a large book into a 2 hour movie (and they did it in less than 2...it could have been much longer and still worthwhile) I think one of the main issues with the movie is that it was trying to be plot driven on a thin-ish plot when the book was very character driven and had the depth to prove it. I believe it also did a late intro of one of the most intriguing characters of the book Mortag. I remember him being integrated into the book much much sooner than he was in the movie, not sure why they did that. The movie also dropped one of my favourite characters all together, the Were-Cat. (sniffle. He rocked!)
Yeah, some of the decisions of the movie were a bit inscrutable (like, why a large city in the book was reduced to a small swamp-side village of huts...). But all in all, it was a good movie. You could tell it was trying very hard to be of LotR calibre, but it just doesn't quite make it (much like the book). Sadly, this is one of those movies that I wish I could watch without the knowledge of having read the book. I think I would have enjoyed it much more if that had been the case.