TWO TOWERS REVIEW - A mixed bag!

Elves at Helm's Deep?
Faramir being Boromir #2?
Aragorn without Anduril?

To be honest, before I went to see The Two Towers, I had 'the fear' - the fear of any Tolkien fan that one of my favourite books was about to be Hollywooded out of it. I am very thankful that I knew of the changes beforehand, though - If I hadn't I would have been throwing popcorn, drink containers and fellow audience members at the screen.

First of all, as an adaptation of the book, it is not good. Many of the well-known characters had been altered, diminishing their roles and being altogether un-Tolkienesqe. Gimli was played solely for laughs - and I admit that I did chuckle a few times but it undermined his character for me. I can understand the need for comic relief, as it is a very dark film otherwise, but I think they may have gone one Dwarf-joke too far! Seeing the Elves at Helm's Deep did irk the purist in me, but it was a breathtaking scene. A long-running gripe is the complete absence of Anduril - clearly the Elves in Rivendell are not working overtime. The absence of the Huorns was a shame but perhaps Helm's Deep would have gotten too crowded...

As a film, however, I loved it - sweeping vistas of New Zealand, the CGI genius that was Gollum (round of applause to Andy Serkis) and the well-choreographed battles scenes. The Elves leaving Rivendell (if somewhat inaccurate) was very poignant. Viggo Mortensen has imrpoved even more - I cannot wait for his performance in ROTK.

The highlights for me:

1)Eowyn and Eomer - very very well portrayed by Miranda Otto and Karl Urban[/l]. They are almost exactly as I had imagined them and a big redeeming feature.

2) Grima Wormtongue - a fantastic performance by Brad Dourif. My spine was tingling every time he came on screen

3) Gollum - genius. Sheer genius.

4)The Storming of Isengard - I, for one, thought that the Ents were very impressive. And thanks be to goodness that Merry and Pippin have finally started acting like the hobbits we know and love in the book!

5) Helm's Deep - yes, yes, I know that the whole idea of the Elves being there annoyed me, but I think it came off well. Haldir's death was well-placed - gaining audience sympathy, by killing a recognisable character. I did think that the image of Elves falling from the battlements of Helm's Deep like lemmings was a bit odd - their screaming was singularly unelvish. The most emotinal part for me, was when young boys were given swords and helmets. The fear in their eyes was heartbreaking. Admittedly, Legolas' shield trick was somwhat bizaare but raised a cheer nonetheless - after his arrow tricks in FOTR, his horse-mounting and shield-surfing in TTT, the pressure is on for ROTK! I know that as a girl it is required of me to swoon for Legolas, but right now all I want to say is what a warrior!

An honourable mention goes to the scene at Aragorn's tomb - very effective, and seeing Arwen walking alone in the woods was a nice steal from the appendices. The interaction between her and Elrond, when he asks her if she does not love her father, was how I would imagine their parting in the books to be like.

To be honest, my biggest gripe, and the one that left me most disappointed even after a second viewing, was the treatment of Faramir. I can understand PJ saying that to have Faramir steadfastly refusing the ring would undermine the efect of the ring's power but.... Faramir in the book is supposed to be pure and noble and completely unlike his brother. He would not pick up the ring if it lay on the side of the road. Also, it was not made clear how he knew of his brother's death. While the scene in Osgiliath wa spectacular by rights Frodo and Sam should have been nowhere near it. David Wenham played the role exrtemely well, further strengthening the great acting in the films. It's just a shame that his character was so altered.

So - overall, I enjoyed the film (once I got the inner purist to pipe down) and I will be seeing it again.

It's Tolkien, alright, but not as we know it.

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