I’ve just woken up after a good nine hours of sleeping off one of the most incredible theater experiences of my life. “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” packed three full size theaters full, with not one seat lacking a die hard, loud shouting fan. If one movie can be summed up in a word, it is NOT this movie. It is incredible. It is spellbounding. It is breathtaking. After truly thinking on each aspect of this film, I truly believe that it deserves full recognization in every way possible.
The Two Towers was a tough movie to create, that is obvious. Tolkien’s pacing and transition strategies are to tell all of one line, and then tell all of the other. Peter Jackson, having much less freedom on the subject, must find a way to keep the momentum of Frodo and Sam’s story together while constantly switching back to the exciting Rohan sequences and the slow, strange Ent sequences. I have alot to say about all three lines of the story, so get ready to read.
The Frodo Sam & Gollum stuff is the most well done part of the movie. Okay, so the story line deviates from the book somewhat. But man, Gollum shoots, and Gollum scores!!! He is the most incredible thing I have ever seen portrayed on screen that is not human. Andy Serkis’ haunting voice, with all of Gollum’s quirky movements and skittish nature, make his performance more awesome than any of the real people out there. The struggle between Smeagol and Gollum is portrayed perfectly, done as if two people are talking to each other, with the camara switching back and forth, leading one who has just walked in to believe that there are in fact two characters on screen, exactly as Tolkien described it. Not to take away from Elijah Wood and Sean Astin’s excellent performences, which soar beautifully as the movie progresses.
The main thing that irked me about this part of the story- and essentially the whole film- was the character of Faramir. The Faramir we know from the book can be quoted as saying ‘I would not use this thing if I saw it lying in the road’. But Faramir as portrayed by David Wenham is much too much like his brother, tempted to take the Ring to Gondor and give It to his father. Sadly, he begins to carry this out, taking Frodo to Osgiliath (WHERE THE HECK DID THAT COME FROM?) And even more strangely, Frodo runs up and holds the Ring out to a Nazgul atop his winged steed in Osgiliath. When he did this, you should have seen my face. If one’s face could twist in some strange mixture of a disapproving father’s furrowed brow, and a child’s light gaze in a candy shop, mine did just that. But I realized later that this was only a tool to better the development between Sam and Frodo, as Sam thrusts himself in front of Frodo and knocks him down the stairs. What happens next is a part of Frodo’s character development that I wouldn’t have expected until Return of the King. Frodo holds Sting up to Sam’s throat in anger. The touching scene that follows may become one of my favorite in LOTR history. This scene, however, may be the only really touching scene in the film, in contrast to the burst-into-tears nature of the first film’s emotional scenes.
Moving on to the Fangorn sequences. These scenes are essential to understanding Saruman’s development into evil, and moreso Treebeard’s reaction to this. Treebeard is saved as well as he can be saved in the film, for one of the problems with moving Tolkien’s vsion from book to screen was that this part of the book is completely dead for momentum. However, I was satisfied greatly by the special effects, but sadly, they will be overlooked by the people because of Gollum’s amazing performence. The march of the Ents and the amazing seige of Isengard is an incredible special effects experience, and I enjoyed finally seeing a look of fear on Saruman’s face.
Treebeard’s part, although fun and interesting, is short, so I will keep going. The Rohan sequences blew me away! They absolutely blew me away! I think that Helm’s Deep was done incredibly! It is an overwhelming battle sequence in both book and film, and moviegoers of every type will be simply astounded by it’s magnificence here. The thing that may have made me smile most was the “head count” game between Gilmi and Legolas. I loved this part of the books, and it was gratifying to see it on screen. Although I believe that Gimli’s comic relief was overdone, I understand why they shifted from Pippin. He is developing into a brave warrior, and for him to continue to be the butt of jokes would be innappropriate. We must remember with Pippin that we’re working towards the hero of the Shire in The Return of the King, and throughout the movie, I was muttering to myself, “Stay serious, Pippin, stay serious.”
But I’m getting off track. I think Bernard Hill was a perfect choice to play Theoden. The way he transforms in the movie from decrepit old man to brave, kingly warrior is awesome. And his dramatic narration for Helm’s Deep is so cool!
I was happy with Wormtoungue. I was prepared for his role to be more expanded, so it was nice to see a character keep to his original portrayal. I was also ready for alot more of Eowyn and Eomer. But then again, I was ready for alot more film, and I’ll get to that in a moment.
Aragorn is incredible. He develops alot more from lowly ranger to a kingly figure in this film, and I am excited by this. His interaction with Theoden that essentially turns the battle in this part is an awesome way for Aragorn to begin to realize that his rightful place is as King of Gondor.
Legolas was himself, an awesome bowman and warrior, and for better or worse, the shield surfing was amusing to me.
To sum it all up, I was totally impressed. If I was disappointed by one thing in the movie, it was the shortening. In chapters, Frodo and Sam stop at Journey to the Cross-Roads, and the others stop at the end of Helm’s Deep. Whatever happens, we may be looking at a much longer Return of the King.
So in all, what can be said about this film, this epic that blows the mind away? Well, not much more than what I’ve put here. Sure, there are Elves at Helm’s Deep, sure, Frodo goes to Osgiliath, and sure, thre movie cuts itself short somewhat. But it’s entertaining and astonishing, and not much more can be said of The Two Towers. It is an excellent motion picture.
Great, only 364 days until the Return of the King. And already I am weary. The wait has begun again…