Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
And the Masterpiece continues. With The Two Towers, director Peter Jackson takes us one step further along the journey of the quest to destroy the one ring of power. As in The Fellowship of the Ring, the world of Middle Earth is faithfully re-created and we are re-immersed in the world that J.R.R. Tolkien created in his literary classic.
Jumping immediately into the action from where we left off in the first installment, The Two Towers hits the ground running and the action just never stops. Having already established the situation and introduced the characters in The Fellowship of the Ring allows the plot to move along at a nice clip.
More than the first movie, The Two Towers differs from the book it is based upon. The most important difference being that the movie ends one chapter short of the last chapter of the book. This was the most shocking change because the book ends on a cliffhanger, where the movie, ending where it does, really isn't one. Instead, it ends more at a moment where all of the characters are taking a breather, a pause in the action so to speak.
Another change, and this one is a good one, is that where as the book is clearly divided into two books, one covering Sam, Frodo, and Gollum, and the other covering the adventures of the rest of the Fellowship, with no cutting back and forth between the two, in the movie; the action is constantly cutting back and forth between the two. This definitely helps the tension and the sense that all this is happening at the same time.
The best new part of this movie is the character of Gollum, who was only in the first one for a few moments. If they were to give an Oscar for the best CGI character, he would win it hands down. His schizophrenic conversations with himself are funny and touching at the same time. He is the first computer animated character in a movie I actually felt was fully rounded and actually evoked emotions in me.
Another stunning moment in a movie filled with stunning moments, is the battle of Helms Deep. It is to Fantasy battles what Saving Private Ryan's opening scene was to war movies. The attack of the Orcs, who swarm like ants against the castle defended by our heroes is non-stop action and visually brilliant.
Frankly, this is one of those movies where a review is completely unnecessary. If you saw The Fellowship of the Ring and enjoyed it (and how could you not?), then you'll enjoy this movie. To put that another way, if you have any taste at all, then you'll enjoy this movie. To put it one more way, these three movies will stand the test of time, they are already classics. There is no reason for you not to see this movie. It has action, adventure, romance, great characters, great villains, fabulous sets, special effects, and anything else you could possible want! Go see this movie!!!!
Elijah Wood in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
As Scott said the second part of The Lord of the Rings trilogy continues the magic of the first. The story grows more epic in scale and the cast of characters continues to increase. The kingdoms of Gondor and Rohan are introduced, as are the ents, led by the wistful Treebeard. Like in the first movie director Peter Jackson balances beautifully between faithfulness to the written word and small concessions to the celluloid reality of movie making.
Through the wonderful performance by Elijah Wood, we see the ring's effect on Frodo growing stronger. It is an addiction that has consumed Gollum and now threatens the brave hobbit. This arouses in Frodo sympathy for the tortured soul once called Smeagol. They are like two junkies in rehab; the One Ring of Power gives them a common bond that must be experienced to be understood.
My favorite characters in the books were always Gimli and Legolas. I love their contest to see who can kill the most orcs during the battle of Helms Deep.
The brilliance of the story is in the minute details that are painted on such a vast and ambitious canvas. At times we are standing back seeing the whole landscape with tiny figures running across the horizon and then seconds later we are privy to an intimate moment between characters we know like old friends.
I can't wait to watch all three of them together. They really are one long movie just as the books are really one long novel. I think Tolkien would approve.
Viggo Mortensen in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
Scott wrote that the movie "hits the ground running." Not exactly. Yes, most of the main characters are here so we do not need them introduced. What Scott did not mention is that many new characters get introduced. So there are many dialogue scenes. This movie really has no more or no less action than the first.
This film does have one hell of a climactic battle. It is however, the last half hour of a three hour movie. This battle alone is worth the price of the ticket. Actually my ticket was free. I got it out of my dvd case of The Fellowship Of The Ring. Anyway, the battle is suspenseful and thrilling.
Aragorn, Legalos and Gimli are the real focal point of this movie. Where as in the first movie the humor came from Merry and Pippin, in this one it is from Gimli. When he can't see over the rampart or when he asks Aragorn not to tell the elf that he had to toss him. The relationship between these three characters is what made the movie for me.
The weak part of this movie is the same as what I felt for the book. The Two Towers seems like so much filler. How many times do Sam and Frodo stand on a hill and look at Mordor? Do they ever get any closer? At one point Gollum has them right at the gates of Mordor. A few scenes later they appear to be further away again. remember in the first movie when Gandalf first looks out over the country and sees the fires of Mordor. Why couldn't Gandalf just lend Frodo his horse. Apparently he can get around a hell of a lot faster than these 2 hobbits.
The only plot development this movie has with Frodo is that we see him slowly succumbing to the weight of the ring. One of the scariest things in the first movie is the Nazgul. They are back and they now ride on black dragons. However, they are completely underused and thus not at all threatening. Luckily we have the much more entertaining story of Strider, Gimli and Legalos to carry this movie.
Photos © Copyright New Line Productions (2002)