Written by Frances Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair & Peter Jackson
Running Time: 2:59
as Frodo Baggins
Picking up from where the first part left off, The Two Towers follows three separate stories. In the first, Frodo and Samwise are still trying to get to Mordor and Mount Doom so they can throw the ring into the fire and get rid of it forever. They are attacked along the way by Gollum, the creature who used to own the ring until Bilbo Baggins took it from him. Gollum is dead set on getting it back, but is rebuffed and taken by the Hobbits. They use Gollum to get them to Mordor and along the way Gollum seems to transform into a nicer creature. However, he has a split personality, one determined to get the ring and kill the Hobbits, the other bound to protect his new masters. They are all captured by the brother of one of the original fellowship and while he wants to use the ring to protect himself and his people, he ultimately lets them on their way to destroy the ring.
The second story line follows the other Hobbits, Pippin and Merry. They were captured in the last film and in this one they spend most of the movie in the forest with talking trees. In a slow moving storyline, they, and the trees, come to realize the importance of the fight and end up taking out one of the two towers and putting a dent in the plan of Sauron by defeating the mighty Saruman while his army is elsewhere.
The final, and in this case most extensive, storyline follows the remaining members of the fellowship: Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli. They were chasing after Pippin and Merry and at one point thought they were dead. But instead they run into a still alive Gandalf who managed to slay the beast from the last movie and was granted a return to life to fulfill his destiny. Together they team up with Théoden, King of Rohan to defeat the 10,000+ strong army of Saruman. Saruman is trying to defeat all free human places left in Middle Earth and Rohan is one of them. There are many battles, and at one point Aragorn is presumed dead, but through the love of Arwen he survives and returns to fight the good fight. The movie ends almost in the same place as the last one, with Frodo and Samwise still trying to get to Mount Doom. But this time, the war has started and Sauron is ready to strike.
Having never read the books, I like not knowing where things are headed. On the other hand, had I read the books, I might have been prepared for the walking, talking trees. Every time they were on screen it was like the movie came to a screeching halt. In fact in the theater you could hear people moaning every time they cut back to the trees. Only at the end when they started to fight were they exciting, but even then it was more comical than I think it was meant to be. Now that I've gotten that off my chest...
When I saw The Fellowship of the Ring I went in with low expectations. I hadn't read the books and frankly, I thought the previews didn't look that good. And I was blown away. It was easily the best movie of last year and one of the best movies I had ever seen. Which lead to the problem with The Two Towers. I went in this time with huge expectations and while the movie was still very good, it couldn't possibly meet those expectations. I started noticing the special effects more. Anything with those damn trees looked really bad. The battle sequences were exceptional, but there were other scenes that looked too fake. It might have been this way in to first film, but I never noticed because I was so enthralled with what I was seeing.
I think one of the other problems with this film is that it's a second film in a planned trilogy, meaning it has no real beginning and no real end. The Fellowship of the Ring started the whole thing, telling us the set-up, introducing us to the characters so if it didn't have an ending it was OK because it left us wanting more. And the upcoming Return of the King will give us the conclusion of this epic story. The Two Towers gives us only the middle and therefore felt a little weak. We were introduced to some new characters which was nice, and some of the old characters had smaller roles but weren't missed. This movie focused more on Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli so the storyline of the ring needing to get thrown into the fires of Mount Doom wasn't the major story. It almost felt like this movie was more of an aside. Having said that, Aragorn and Legolas are arguably two of the coolest movie characters to come along in years and the actors portraying them, Viggo Mortensen and Orlando Bloom, are perfectly cast. And this time they had the character of Gimli as a comedic character so even in the midst of a massive battle he could always be counted on for a laugh. It made the seriousness of the movie more lighthearted but in a purposeful way, as opposed to the trees which were funny in a sad way.
The look of the movie was once again fantastic. Each new setting was almost impeccable, especially the kingdom of Rohan as I loved the flying shot of the village with the huts built up against the hill with the castle on top. The fortress at Helm's Deep was also impressive in scope. Heck even the forests were impressive until they started opening their eyes and talking. The music was right on key with the film, much as the last one was. I didn't appreciate the closing song as much as it didn't have the right feel to me. One thing I really appreciated was the shot they had of the map which gave me a much greater understanding of where everything was in association to everything else. Isengard, where Saruman lives was on one end while Mordor is on the other, with the kingdoms of Rohan and Gondor caught in the middle. I found that one shot to be very helpful in understanding the story.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall I enjoyed The Two Towers, but not as much as I enjoyed the first part of the trilogy. I think it had a lot to do with heightened expectations rather than the movie not being well made. I found the trees took away from my enjoyment of the film almost to the point where I would groan when they showed up. However with all that being said, the movie was still very impressive and I'm hoping that when the conclusion comes out next year, it'll be better than these first two combined.
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The Hobbit and
The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings -
The Fellowship of the Ring
(Platinum Series Extended Edition
Collector's Gift Set)
The Lord of the Rings:
The Two Towers
Limited Edition Soundtrack
© 2002 Wolfpack Productions