What I did do was sit there with my mouth open at the visual splendor of a screen filled with white desert and our hero in billowing white robes on a white horse. I gaped at the audacity of a red-clad villain fighting a rose-garbed maiden in a forest of yellow leaves - leaves that swirled and struck with a power of their own, and turned red when death came. I also had the heady rush, a la Vertigo, of suddenly realizing I had no idea where this movie was taking me.
Aside from the far better cinematography and wire work, why did the Return of the King comparison come to mind? Because the group battle scenes were more real, in part because they substantially used actual people to do them. The sight of a thousand men lying on their backs, holding their bows ready with their feet while their assistants stood ready with more arrows, was electric with possibility. The hundreds of men guarding the emperor - they had weight. The yellow leaves blowing in the forest - they were more than perfect, they were genuine. The entire movie was meaty and epic in a way that a film substantially created with CGI could never hope to be. Holy Jesus. Why hasn't this thing been released yet? I'd go see it again tomorrow if they were showing it. I know it's out on DVD, with 15 extra minutes available that weren't on the version I saw today ... maybe I'll go rent that instead.