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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Reviewed by Starflight

All in all a great way to spend 2 hours and 59 minutes. The movie opens with a mountain scene; as the camera pans the range you can hear in the distance a voice in distress. Enter the interior of the mountain and again see the fall of Gandalf. But this time you see all his fall and the beginning of the battle with the Balrog. But it is only Frodo dreaming. Frodo and Sam are lost above the Dead Marshes. This is as in the book. Gollum finds them seemingly asleep and ends up captured by Frodo and Sam.

What is never explained is the reason the very loose rope around Gollum's neck "Burns us so, . . . please takes it offs us," and why it holds him bound. Frodo releases him after he swears on the Ring to be good. At one point Frodo calls him Smeagol. You can see the change come over him from Gollum to Smeagol as you watch. It is the first time in many, many years that someone has treated him as a person and it shows. You actually like Smeagol and feel for the torment he endures for want of the Ring. You really begin to understand the evil and the hold the One can have over a person.

Lets stick with Frodo and Company for now. The one thing I really have problems with is his meeting with Faramir. Faramir in the movie wants to take Frodo, Sam, and Smeagol to Gondor to use the One against the Nameless One in battle, and only releases him after reaching the river and seeing the destruction of Osgiliath and listening to Sam explain to Frodo what it means to do the correct things against all odds. Faramir's wisdom returns and he releases them to their quest. But not before Frodo confronts a Nazgul on his flying creature, and but for Sam comes close to putting on the Ring.

Merry and Pippin do meet Treebeard but the meeting is not as in the book. The Ent Moot ends with the Ents bowing out of the war and taking Merry and Pippen to the edge of the Forest so that they may return to the Shire. Merry (or was it Pippin?) tricks Treebeard into taking them out past Orthanc as a faster way back to the Shire. When Treebeard sees the destruction caused by Saruman he acts and calls all Ents. They raid and flood Orthanc. Cut was the scene of the forest just being there at Helms Deep come sunrise. A scene that I really wished to see.

The relationship that grew between Gimli and Legolas has as of this installment been left unexplored. A shame really! Their friendship is important for the two races. Meanwhile Aragorn and Gandalf get help from Rohan and ride to Helms Deep. Edoras is fantastic and right out of the book. Here too things are changed without cause (in my humble opinion). On the way to Helms Deep they are attacked and Aragorn is seemingly lost in battle. He plunges over a cliff and lands in the river. Here he flashes back to Rivendale and his last meeting with Arwen. This leads to Elrond demanding that she leave for Westerness and life eternal out of danger. Yes, Elrond was against her giving up her immortality for Aragorn, the RANGER, but he knew that should he be King it was destined to be, so why try and send her away now?

Eowyn leads her people not to Dunnharrow as in the book, but with the men to Helms Deep, a change that is not needed. In fact I think it will take away from the coming scene with Aragorn on his ride into the Paths of the Dead. Eowyn is so far not the cold maiden of the book. She loves Aragorn and it shows. It is my hope that Jackson fills in this person as the books do. She is a deeply loving and driven person for reasons even she fails to see until wisdom comes to her in the form of Farimir and his love for her.

Aragorn's re-forged sword is STILL unexplained, as are the swords of Merry and Pippen. And one wonders at this lack of detail to the story. One is as much a part of the identity of Aragorn as Aragorn himself, and the other is important in helping win the War of the Ring itself in the next installment. No small matter are the Swords of Aragorn, Gandalf, Frodo, Merry and Pippen! Yet other than a reference to the Shards of Nrasil in the first movie little has been said about these Swords and their power!

Gollum/Smeagol is portrayed in great detail and is very well done! As stated before, one comes to like Smeagol and to understand this hopeless need for the One. The scene of his fight within himself is a true Gollum vs Smeagol and Smeagol is both proud and relieved to have won the fight. It gave him a very secure and uplifted feeling to know that he still had good within himself and that the good was strong enough to win if only for a little time. It was a very good scene. He truly thinks that he and he alone can at once be whole with the One and still keep it safe from the Nameless One. Yet he knows the One, should he posses it again will be his doom, a doom he can never avoid.

Faramir is not the wise one of the book and all the poorer for the movie. He is more like his brother, which clearly he was not. His wisdom has and will save many and win the cold heart of a very beautiful maiden, yet we see none of that wisdom here. Theoden is played well and the change Gandalf brings to him is great and well shown in the movie. Of course the greatest thing about the movie is again that Jackson really filmed this in Middle Earth. I do wish that he had spent the time to show us more of Henneth Annun and the Moon Pool. Treebeard is done very well, at least what we see of him. More could have been done to explain Ents and trees. I did not like that he had to be tricked to act.

See this film, and when it comes out on DVD, get it at once!

 

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Director
Peter Jackson

Screenplay
Philippa Boyens
Fran Walsh
Peter Jackson

Released
December 18, 2002

Cast
Elijah Wood
Sean Astin
Ian McKellen
Viggo Mortensen
Orlando Bloom
John Rhys-Davies
Dominic Monaghan
Billy Boyd
Christopher Lee
Liv Tyler
Andy Serkis
Miranda Otto
Karl Urban
David Wenham
Brad Dourif

Full Credits at IMDb

Available on DVD and Blu-Ray (theatrical editions only at this time)