The Good, the Bad, and the Two Towers - What worked, What didn't

For me TTT was a mixed bag. On the positive side, the handling of Gollum was masterful. The triangle between Eowyn, Aragorn and Arwen was handled superbly. I like especially the scene where Eowyn watches Legolas give Aragorn back the Elfstone. I was also impressed by Elrond's soliloquy about Aragorn dying: If not in battle, then of old age. The inserting of scenes from "The tale of Aragorn and Arwen" in Appendix A of the books was a stroke of genius.

I had three major problems with the film. The first two concern the Battle of Helm's deep. After arriving, there is no longer a reason for Eowyn not to take part in the battle and every reason for her to do so. The other problem I have is that Gandalf brought Eomer and his men to save the day. But from earlier in the picture we know that Eomer did not have enough men with him to make a difference. Something has to be done to make the victory of the good guys believable.

However, my biggest problem was Faramir's decision to release Frodo. I could see no reason for the change in his attitude. A couple of lines could have made all the difference in the world. An angry denial that Boromir would have broken his sworn word would have been one. "We are truth speakers, we men of Gondor". After Frodo's encounter with the Ringwraith, some comment inspired by Frodo's "madness" could have served as a vehicle to make his change of heart believable. Perhaps having him say one of Frodo's lines in the book. "I will not have this Thing come to Gondor. If it drove my brother mad with desire, what spell would it work in Minas Tirith."

The first thirty minutes of the movie was almost painful to me. The scenes did not engage me. I felt as if I was seeing brief unconnected scenes just because they were in the book. After this however, the drama and action started picking up a life of its own, and the picture became enjoyable.

Kudos to Andy Serkis, Miranda Otto, Viggo Mortensen, Liv Tyler and Sean Astin for their performances. Unlike many, I thought the use of Gimli as a comic relief worked well. Rather than spoil the building tension, it allowed it to build to a greater crescendo by providing the occasional let up.

Definitely a movie worth seeing, but unlike most pundits I believe that FOTR was a better movie than TTT.


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