My verdict of the Two Towers is: the movie was very good, but I did like the first one better. The special effects were, as expected, exceptional, and at times terrifying (the scariest part for me was the Dead Marshes and also when Frodo almost gave the Ring to the Nazgul, and the army of 10,000 was cool). Listed below are my three main highlights in the film.
1. Gollum – I was apprehensive of this creature as I had only heard rumors, but had never seen any pictures. I really liked how they showed Gollum’s inner struggles and turmoil, how his face visibly changed between his arguments with Smeagol. I’m beginning to understand that there is more to this creature than meets the eye. After all, he is being forced to face his past, which is what he ran into Misty Mountains to hide from. Anyway, he is forced by the Gollum part to realize his past murders and I see the anguish and despair in Smeagol part’s face and he earns my sympathy. Gollum’s computer-generated self was very well done and Andy Serkis deserves any awards he gets or doesn’t get for doing a superb voice for Gollum.
2. Rohan in general – the sets of Rohan and everything were very beautifully done and reminded me of Vikings. For some strange reason, I was moved emotionally whenever any of the Rohan people came into sight, especially at the following scenes: Theoden sitting there as a possessed old man muttering incoherently “Grima! Grima!” as if his life was connecting to Wormtongue, Eowyn mourning her brother’s death and rebuking Wormtongue, Theoden’s exorcism (which I didn’t mind as much as I expected), the frightened faces of Rohan’s women and children in the caves as the huge armies of Uruk-Hai marched overhead, Eomer and Gandalf riding over the hill with an army at their tails which lead to victory, simple things like Eowyn wanted to fight the Wargs or especially Theoden mourning the death of his son. I’ve never been so moved.
3. Helm’s Deep – of course the most dramatic and well-made (and probably only) battle scene I’ve ever seen. I laughed uproariously when during the intense fighting, we heard Gimli counting in the background “24, 25!” It’s these simple things like Gimli’s competition between Legolas, Aragorn shouting in anger at the death of his elven friend Haldir and leaping down into the army on the ladder, Theoden putting on his armor and racing on his horse across the bridge, and of course especially the sights of simple boys dressed in armor and wondering how to use their swords that added depth and feeling to the battle, or so I felt anyway. Of course, Legolas made some pretty daredevil feats himself.
Of course, the movie did not pass perfect for me because of the certain inaccuracies to the books. Some of which I did not mind, such as the battle with the Wargs (who were very well done), Arwen rescuing Aragorn, Gimli being so funny (some of the best lines in the movies, especially “Toss me, but don’t tell the elf!” were his), and Theoden being exorcised. But while I did not like the changes made to Faramir, I’m beginning to understand why they were made, as Galadriel points out, “The Ring is trying to get back into the hands of men, men so easily seduced by its power”, so it’s implied that the Ring purposely pinpointed Faramir as a likely candidate. Also, while the Ents weren’t as bad as I`d heard, they certainly were a far cry from Tolkien’s and had to be wheedled into the war by the hobbits. But the part when they attacked Isengard was cool.
Anyway, definitely go and see this one, but make sure you’ve seen the first one or at least read the books otherwise this movie will make no sense.