I rally wanted to love this movie.
I really really wanted to love this movie. I loved Fellowship, I found it
nearly flawless. I give a 10/10 for the acting and the special effects. If
I have never read the books, I would have been absolutely flawed by this
movie. Some of the changes detracted from this movie, but not terribly.
But the fundemental changed made to Faramire (compare him in the book to the
movie - not merely changed but the opposite) seriously undermined the whole
plot of the trilogy.
Still, I have this an 8/10. On its own merits, it is excellent. But
changes were made that weakened the story for no good reason....
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its great...... .
A visual masterpiece and better than the first
So the journey continues with 'The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.'
This review will assume you have seen the first film, 'The Fellowship
of the Ring.' Which is fine because Peter Jackson, at the helm of this
massive production, assumes you have seen it as well. Intelligently,
Jackson does not begin with a redundant and unnecessary prologue. He
dives right into what the filmmakers considered the hardest of the
trilogy to make.
When we left the fellowship, they were in shambles. Gandalf had fallen;
Merry and Pippen were kidnapped by the evil forces; Aragorn, Legolas,
and Gimli seek their smaller comrades without the help of Boromir, who
has also died; this leaves Frodo and Sam on their way to Mount Doom,
the one ring still in their grasp.
'The Two Towers' is more successful than 'Fellowship' because the
storytelling becomes more complex without drowning us in information.
The first film introduced us to the many characters of Middle Earth
(too many, I believe). 'The Two Towers' isn't quite as concerned with
exposition, though new characters do come on board. Merry and Pippin
meet Treebeard, a large, talking "tree herder" who is concerned about
the plight of his forest's future since the destructive orcs and their
masters, Sauron and Saruman, burn everything in their path.
Legolas, Aragorn, and Gimli enter the kingdom of Rohan and cross paths
with King Theoden and his people. Theoden has been under Saruman's
spell as part of he and Sauron's master plan to take over the separate
kingdoms of Middle Earth. Eowyn, the king's niece, develops a special
liking for Aragorn. However, as we understand from the first film,
there is still a deep love between Aragorn and the elf Arwen. Along
with the rest of the elfs of Middle Earth, Arwen is persuaded to leave
for another world entirely. She does have reservations leaving her true
love Aragorn, though mortal and she is not, for distant lands and never
see him again.
Frodo and Sam are introduced to the mysterious Gollum, who attempts to
attack the hobbits in their sleep to regain the ring. Instead, Gollum
and Frodo kindle a special relationship since they both harbor a
certain addiction to the ring's power. Frodo's Elijah Wood is the most
effective actor in 'Two Towers' as he is gradually taken more and more
over by the ring and it's awesome strength. Gollum becomes Frodo and
Sam's guide to Mordor, as he has been there before. Gollum's
intentions, though, are never clear to the hobbits - neither are they
These three strands of story form a massive, thoroughly effective, epic
tale of nature vs. machine, creature vs. creature and, through Frodo,
man vs. himself. The encompassing story leads to a heroic battle
sequence fought on two fronts, while all the time we wonder how long
Frodo can hold on to his sanity as the ring slowly takes power over
The pacing, which was an issue with 'Fellowship,' is not problematic at
all the second time around. The three stories are told in a manner that
flows right through the three hour+ tale. One problem that persists is
that 'Two Towers' is largely unaffected by the humanity other than
Frodo's saga. There is love between Aragorn and Arwen, Eowyn also shows
up as a romantic character. Her father, Theoden, is a courageous man
but flawed psychologically. There exists connections between these many
characters and more but they all feel half baked and cast aside to make
more room for fighting.
Still, 'The Two Towers' is enormously successful as a narrative and
even more ambitious than 'Fellowship' visually. The score, by Howard
Shore, is among the very best ever composed. The evil orcs and uruk-hai
never look fake and evoke terror in the characters and in the audience.
I still yearn for a more personal story, but in other realms of
film-making, Peter Jackson and those under his command have outdone
themselves. ***.5 out of ****.