I first read the Lord of the Rings before it became well known in North America only because some friends had brought the books back from a visit to Britain. In the ensuing 50 years, I have reread it a number of times, reaching new insights each time. I was almost 15 years away from becoming a Catholic that first time, but even then, I could see the deeply Christian thought behind the tale.
I agree with the Chevalier in that I enjoyed the movies, but only as a separate work of art, not in any way connected with the books. I like to think that Jackson got his inspiration from Tolkien, and then wrote his own story.