I saw The Two Towers at a midnight showing in Ontario California with large group of friends from school. Every one I spoke to enjoyed the film a great deal, and people were especially effusive about Gullom.
To me there were two things that stood out. One was simply annoying; the other leads on to deeper issues. The first was the horrible dialogue written for Theoden especally during the batle of Helm’s Deep. The script writers seem to think that the bad dialogue of modern action films is an esential part of action sequences. The lines, such as “Is that all you’ve got?” are bad enough on there own, but when contrasted with dialogue closely adapted from the books the effect is very jarring.
The second was a feature of the shifts in the Faramir scenes that I had not seen comented on before. Faramir asks about Gollum and Frodo lies denying that they had anyone with them. I think that this is a crucial change underlying the altered relationship between the Hobbits and Faramir. While many motives and characters are changed in this sequence, I think that this change is the most significant because of the damage done to Frodo’s character and the way it poisons his relationship with Faramir.
One final note. I imagine that there will be some debate about the meaning of the last scene involving Arwen and Elrond. The ambiguous nature of their preceding discussion and the look on Elrond’s face leave me in no doubt that that she is going to Lorien or Gondor not the Havens, and that it reflects her decision to stay with Aragorn. The movie is rather unclear on this point, however, perhaps deliberately.
I have, as I noted in the title, generally purist sympathies and was quite worried about the changes that I knew this film would contain. In spite of the problems I noted in this reveiw I enjoyed the film quite a bit. Many things worked including the Eothain subplot, though in general I found that the structural changes in the Rohan story created as many probalems as they solved.