<!–±6216|right|The relentless Uruk-hai capture helpless Pippin and Merry in <i>The Two Towers</i>.±–>By Roger Friedman
I’ve now seen advance footage of the second installment of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and all I can say is “look out.” This may be another Oscar nominee for Best Picture.
Last week New Line Cinema held two sneak previews of 16 minutes of assembled footage of The Two Towers which featured a look at some new characters and a glimpse of a giant war scene. It was all very impressive, especially the new computer-generated character Gollum, who puts Jar Jar Binks to shame.
Two Towers, from what we saw, is more character driven than the first film. It feels a little amped up and that may be the result of the re-shoots this past summer. The scenes we saw had incredible energy even if you don’t know a word from the book (and that would include this reader, whose only interest in J.R.R. Tolkien’s books extended to The Fellowship of the Ring).
But nothing was more impressive than New Line’s Mark Ordesky’s knowledge of the entire Tolkien canon. When he finished explaining it to us, we were all afraid there’d be a quiz.
Later Ordesky, executive producer of the trilogy and the man who shares credit with director Peter Jackson for making it all work, admitted: “I read the books about 12 times since I was a teenager.”
Bernard Hill, the British actor who plays Theoden, the king of Rohan, said that when the actors arrived in New Zealand this summer for re-shoots, Ordesky amazed them with the same speech. “We couldn’t believe it,” said Hill, who attended the preview with actors John Rhys-Davies and Miranda Otto.
New Line will open Towers on Dec. 18, with a built-in audience. The first installment has made about a billion dollars worldwide so far.