Comparing Titanic to LotR is completely pointless. Cameron took real life characters and made sweeping assumptions about their reactions and their personalities, eg; Murdoch and Lightowler. to do something like that is a big mistake for any director, particularly when the source material for those assumptions is generally unreliable and coloured by events, trials and inquiries.
LotR on the other hand, is a reasonably faithful, if somewhat pruned adaptation of one of the most popular fictional works of all time. Of course it's overblown! It's a fantasy epic, you can't do it on a west end theatre stage or give to a small indie director....oh wait, Peter Jackson was a small indie director. Says a lot for New Line that they gave a project to a director as unexperienced in blockbusters as Jackson.
Yes I am a Tolkien fan, yes I have read most of the lost Laundry Lists and personally, roll on The Two Towers! After all that I'm not sure I'd classify it as a foreign film though. :o)