Movie Review – “The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers”

Two down, one to go. This is going to be another long year. (At least we’ll have Daredevil, Hulk, X2, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and a couple of Matrix movies to tide us over.)

Premise

Frodo and Sam must continue the quest to destroy the ring, while
Aragorn and the others rally forces to stand against Saruman’s army.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf the White
Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins
Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn
Sean Astin as Sam Gamgee
Liv Tyler as Arwen Undomiel
Cate Blanchett as Galadriel
John Rhys-Davies as Gimli, son of Gloin
Billy Boyd as Pippin
Dominic Monaghan as Merry
Orlando Bloom as Legolas
Hugo Weaving as Elrond
Sean Bean as Boromir
Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins
Christopher Lee as Saruman
Brad Dourif as Grima Wormtongue
Mirando Otto as Eowyn
Bernard Hill as Theoden

Directed by Peter Jackson
Adapted to the screen by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter
Jackson
Musical Score by Howard Shore
Cinematography by Andrew Lesnie
Numerous other that should be mentioned.

The complete cast and crew list is on the IMDB and can be found here.

High Point

How do I choose? Will it be Legolas descending the stairs? Any
random scene with Wormtongue? Meeting the White Wizard in the woods?
Pippin and Merry talking to the ents? Gollum talking to Smeagul?
Dwarf tossing? Offering a box? Breaking the dam? The battle at
Helm’s Deep? Treebeard walks south? The decision of the ents?

Don’t make me choose just one!

Low Point

How do I choose? What is there to choose from? Um… We have to
wait a year until the next movie.

The Scores

Is this original? It’s an adaptation of a work that’s been
copied time and time again. I give it a 5 out of 6.

The effects were incredible. Smeagul’s ability to interact
with the environment is especially impressive. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story is the one from the book that is loved by
millions. However, it is technically incomplete. 5 out of 6.

The acting was at least as good as the first film. Brad
Dourif was an absolutely brilliant and perfect casting choice. I give
it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced was the same as the
first one; three constant hours of completely enraptured awe at the
majesty of what was on screen. It grabbed me at the outset, and
didn’t let go until the final credits. I give it 6 out of 6.

The production was exactly the same quality as the first
film, which is to be expected given the way these movies were made. 6
out of 6.

Overall, this is and probably will always be the definitive
film version of The Lord of the Rings. 6 out of 6.

In total, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers receives 40
out of 42.

28 replies on “Movie Review – “The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers””

  1. is says:

    I’m sooo jealous
    you saw it first. NOT FAIR.

    I won’t see it til sometime after christmas.

  2. Daemonik says:

    My one word review:
    Gleeeeeeeee!

  3. y42 says:

    low point
    Hey, I got a low point: The oiliphaunts.

    From the book I thought ‘Huh, that’s pretty much how hobbits would
    describe and elephant…”, but in the movie, instead of elephants,
    they have elephant-like weird super giant (with extra bigness) CGI
    things with lots and lots of tusks…for the life of me I can’t find a
    plausible reason for it, appart from the notion that the crew smoke
    too much of the hobbit’s weed.

    • PerlStalker says:

      Re: low point

      Hey, I got a low point: The oiliphaunts.

      From the book I thought ‘Huh, that’s pretty much how hobbits would
      describe and elephant…”, but in the movie, instead of elephants,
      they have elephant-like weird super giant (with extra bigness) CGI
      things with lots and lots of tusks…for the life of me I can’t find a
      plausible reason for it, appart from the notion that the crew smoke
      too much of the hobbit’s weed.

      I agree. I always thought of oiliphaunts as regular elephants. I just can’t seem them as something weird. Remeber, the Hobbits talk about them is wonder from children’s tales.

    • dcheesi says:

      Re: low point
      IIRC, the book mentions (in a narrative aside) that the elephants of those days were bigger & badder than what we know today. I remember this specifically because at first I thought the hobbits were exaggerating as well, but this aside said different. It actually disappointed me at the time, because I liked the idea that one of the exotic mythical monsters of their day was just a normal animal we know today; sort of a link to the past, as it were.

      • y42 says:

        Re: low point

        It actually disappointed me at the time, because I liked the idea
        that one of the exotic mythical monsters of their day was just a
        normal animal we know today; sort of a link to the past, as it were.

        Yes, this is exactly wht their CGI oiliphaunts bugg me!

  4. Trekkie says:

    Seeing it tomorrow.
    Going to see it tomorrow I hope. Can’t wait, driving me nuts.

  5. UncleJam says:

    You want low points?
    How about Legolas sliding down the stairs on a shield?

    How about the reduction of Gimli to little more than comic relief?

    How about the pointless Galadriel cameo in the middle?

    How about…

    …um…

    …not enough ents?

    Sorry, that’s all I’ve got. Absolutely loved it, except for those two admittedly minor points. Going to see it again this weekend!

    • UncleJam says:

      Re: You want low points?

      Absolutely loved it, except for those two admittedly minor points.

      Oops, make that three points!

      • fiziko says:

        Re: You want low points?

        Absolutely loved it, except for those two admittedly minor points.

        Oops, make that three points!

        Well, I’ve got one of them in the High Point list, so I’ll only count two. :)

    • Daemonik says:

      Re: You want low points?

      How about the pointless Galadriel cameo in the middle?

      How was the Galadriel bit pointless? It nicely set up the passing of the Elves and provided a bit of interest in whether the Elves were going to just walk away and leave the humans to their doom. It was a reminder to Elrond that they still have duties in this world, which is why Elven troops were sent to Helms Deep.

      • dcheesi says:

        Re: You want low points?
        Yes, and it nicely set up the fact that Elrond & Galadriel can communicate with each other over distance, which explains how Lorien elves came bringing tidings from Elrond of Rivendell. (That was going to be a nitpick until I remembered this “cameo” scene :) )

  6. joe__gee says:

    I’m going to see it a second time today.
    I won’t give spoilers, but as a viewing tip to those who have read the books, try to forget what you “know” about the characters, and simply try to appreciate what’s served up for you.

    With this in mind I am hoping that a second viewing makes the movie feel better for me. Although the movie is visually striking, and Gollum deserves a best supporting actor nod, speaking as someone who has been an avid reader of the books there are twists and turns introduced by the screenwriters that feel unnecessary to advance the story, and actually shift the story’s meaning away from what Tolkien intended.

    At the end of this movie, Sam says to Frodo “I don’t know where we are, Mr. Frodo, or how we got here.” At that time I couldn’t have agreed more. Hopefully this time I won’t be distracted by having my mind trying to fit a round peg in a square hole, and the movie will stand on its own as a work “inspired by” rather than “adapted from.”

    • IdIoTt says:

      Re: I’m going to see it a second time today.
      I definitely agree. I had the same experience, in reverse. I saw Fellowship the first time without thinking too much, but by the second time, I had gone over and over it in my mind, and found more and more I was upset with. The main thing that bugged me was how, for lack of a better word, USELESS they made the hobbits (in comparison). Over and over in the book, Gandalf is in wonder of their strength of body and spirit. I’d say the scene at the Ford, when Arwen (who wasn’t even there in the book) saved Frodo, bothered me the most. Oh well.
      So by the time I saw The Two Towers, I was looking all over for inconsistancies.
      The oliphaunts also bothered me, I figured, aren’t NORMAL elephants overly huge to hobbits? I guess they really wanted to drive the point home.
      So yeah, the best advice is to ignore what you think you took from the books, and focus on the characters in the movie, because they are not the same and it will just drive you mad to compare between them :)

      • joe__gee says:

        Re: I’m going to see it a second time today.
        It’s better seeing the movie the second time. MUCH better. Sitting aside my awareness of where the script writers deviated from Tolkien’s work I was able to enjoy the movie quite a bit more. :)

        I’m still not too pleased with Aragorn Warg-rider, but I can grit my teeth through that part.

      • joe__gee says:

        Oliphauntses

        The oliphaunts also bothered me, I figured, aren’t NORMAL elephants overly huge to hobbits?

        The oliphaunts are described in the book as having great towers built upon their backs, so I always figured they’d be larger than elephants.

        -Joe

        • y42 says:

          Re: Oliphauntses

          The oliphaunts also bothered me, I figured, aren’t NORMAL
          elephants overly huge to hobbits?

          The oliphaunts are described in the book as having great towers
          built upon their backs, so I always figured they’d be larger than
          elephants.

          As described by tiny hobbits who live in holes in the ground?
          Probably drunken hobbits too…

          • joe__gee says:

            Re: Oliphauntses
            P. 341, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Book IV, Chapter 4, “Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbits”

            “Big as a house, much bigger than a house, it looked to him, a grey clad moving hill. Fear and wonder, maybe, enlarged him in the hobbit’s eyes, but the Mûmak of Harad was indeed a beast of vast bulk, and the like of him does not walk now in Middle-earth; his kin that live still in latter days are but memories of his girth and majesty … The ruins of what seemed a very war-tower lay upon his heaving back, smashed in his furious passage through the woods;and high upon his neck still desperately clung a tiny figure — the body of a mighty warrior, a giant among the Swertings.”

            That’s not a drunken hobbit, that’s J.R.R. Tolkien.

            • y42 says:

              Re: Oliphauntses

              P. 341, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Book IV,
              Chapter 4, “Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbits”

              “Big as a house, much bigger than a house, it looked to him, a grey
              clad moving hill. Fear and wonder, maybe, enlarged him in the
              hobbit’s eyes, but the Mûmak of Harad was indeed a beast of vast
              bulk, and the like of him does not walk now in Middle-earth; his kin
              that live still in latter days are but memories of his girth and majesty
              … The ruins of what seemed a very war-tower lay upon his heaving
              back, smashed in his furious passage through the woods;and high
              upon his neck still desperately clung a tiny figure — the body of a
              mighty warrior, a giant among the Swertings.”

              That’s not a drunken hobbit, that’s J.R.R. Tolkien.

              Like you quoted:
              Fear and wonder, maybe, enlarged him in the hobbit’s
              eyes

              But whatever.

              • joe__gee says:

                Re: Oliphauntses
                He goes beyond that to differentiate the oliphaunt from modern eliphants in striking ways, the dangling body, the ruins of a war tower, memories of their former girth and majesty. On the other hand it doesn’t really matter. Your personal vision is how you see things. If they’re elephants to you when you read that passage, then they’re elephants and that’s cool. That’s how I always saw them, not with extra tusks, just as HUGE elephants. :)

  7. meatpopcicle says:

    whoops
    shouldn’t it be “Gandalf the White” in the Credits

    • fiziko says:

      Re: whoops

      shouldn’t it be “Gandalf the White” in the Credits

      It certainly should. Yes, I used cut and paste from the review of the first. I’ll fix that shortly.

  8. jmcc says:

    You want a low point . . .

    . . . I’ll give you a bloody low point. How aboout the total distruction of Faramir’s character? How about the invention of the scene at Osgiliath with the winged Nazûl? How about the invention of Aragorn’s little near-death experience? How about the underuse of the Ents?

    I’ll admit that the movie was good, but I don’t see how you can give it such a high score after the butchering of the original story. If you love the original works, you can’t say there were no low points.

    It’s one thing to cut scenes like Tom Bombadil. It’s quite another to invent new scenes and to completely wreck characters.

  9. hitch says:

    argh….
    okay….to begin with, I loved the movie. So that’s out of the way.

    There were, however, things that really didn’t sit well with me.
    Gimli’s comic relief wasn’t TOO bad…I noticed that although he at times had trouble keeping up, he was quite often right on their heels. it irked me though that they kept insinuating he was clumsy….dwarves are NOT clumsy. clumsy makes you DEAD in a mine.

    The addition of scenes at osgiliath…well, they were irritating and more or less blew faramir’s character….BUT in the end it all turned out well. he let them go and they got back on the path. No big deal…but I can’t seem to figure out WHY for the life of me it was necessary. It really just added a few million dollars worth of effects and ten or fifteen minutes of time that could have been better spent elsewhere. such as actually getting to the end of the book!!!!

    Same goes for aragorn’s near death experience. That’s all I have to say abou that.

    now this is my REAL bitch. Tbe beginning of the battle at helm’s deep. “oh no, we’re all going to die, we’ve got nothing here but farmers and children but WAIT! Here comes a battalion of elves!”. I’m sorry…NO. The Rohirrim are ALL warriors, even down to the farmers. They all know how to use a sword – and there was only approx. half of the army out and away. They had plenty of people, and everyone thought they’d be fine until they saw the size of the army. even the explosion (which came through the BACK of the mountain, not the front – though I’ll forgive that one) was taken care of pretty easily. and there were NEVER any elves present!!! except legolas….sigh. oh – one last thing – the spell on theoden. I’m sorry, but I completely agree with whoever said that it was much more interesting to think of him as paralyzed by an evil advisor. and the casting WAS perfect. Anyway. Thanks for putting up with my rant. All the other things I can really overlook – and even these things are…well….not SO bad (especially when you consider the other movie versions that are out there. go find the animated LOTR Live action/animated mix CRAP and see what I mean)

  10. dcheesi says:

    Gollum Gollum Gollum
    Did anyone else think Gollum looked a little too human/hobbitish? Gollum is supposed to be a little scarier/uglier looking; as it was, he just looked like a starvation victim. I saw on TV that they redesigned Gollum to make him more sympathetic, after the fine performance of the actor (who did voice and motion-capture). Maybe my knowing this made me more aware of it, but Gollum just looked too “nice” for one whose whole body has been reshaped/corrupted by evil. Idunno, maybe it’s just the lack of greenish pallor that gets me. Anyone else feel this way?

    • PerlStalker says:

      Re: Gollum Gollum Gollum

      Did anyone else think Gollum looked a little too human/hobbitish? Gollum is supposed to be a little scarier/uglier looking; as it was, he just looked like a starvation victim. I saw on TV that they redesigned Gollum to make him more sympathetic, after the fine performance of the actor (who did voice and motion-capture). Maybe my knowing this made me more aware of it, but Gollum just looked too “nice” for one whose whole body has been reshaped/corrupted by evil. Idunno, maybe it’s just the lack of greenish pallor that gets me. Anyone else feel this way?

      Kindof. But, at the same time, I think they created a character that can go from cute and pitiable Smeagol to ugly and very nasty Gollum. Smeagol’s argument with himself showed that very clearly. (I loved that scene, BTW.)

    • eclectric says:

      Re: Gollum Gollum Gollum

      Did anyone else think Gollum looked a little too human/hobbitish? Gollum is supposed to be a little scarier/uglier looking; as it was, he just looked like a starvation victim. I saw on TV that they redesigned Gollum to make him more sympathetic, after the fine performance of the actor (who did voice and motion-capture). Maybe my knowing this made me more aware of it, but Gollum just looked too “nice” for one whose whole body has been reshaped/corrupted by evil. Idunno, maybe it’s just the lack of greenish pallor that gets me. Anyone else feel this way?

      But that is how he is presented in the book. He is a wretched creature, but there is something unmistakeably hobbitish about him. When I saw him in FotR, and when he first appeared on screeen in TT, I was mortified. They had turned him into an inhuman creature. But, as he began to talk and move and act, I saw that he really *was* modelled after the hobbits. By the end of the movie (especially at the very end) I was utterly amazed on how spot-on peter jackson (and the animators) had gotten Gollum.

      So, we have Boromir in part 1, Gollum in part 2. I wonder which character Peter jackson will do right by in part 3. Denethor? I think that’s the only new major character we have.

    • y42 says:

      Re: Gollum Gollum Gollum

      Did anyone else think Gollum looked a little too human/
      hobbitish? Gollum is supposed to be a little scarier/uglier looking;
      […] maybe it’s just the lack of greenish pallor that gets me. Anyone
      else feel this way?

      Yeah, that bothered me at first, but by the time he started arguing
      with himself I got over it. We’ll see when he gets back to his evil
      self around “her” if he starts looking more greenish and evil…

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