The East Coast is checking in here. I have officially seen The Two Towers one and a half times so far and I plan to see it many more times.
My opinion is that it is as good as Fellowship of the Ring and not better. It has a slightly different look because Peter Jackson uses more computer graphics: Treebeard and the wargs, but especially Gollum. Folks who aren’t familiar with the books will perhaps think Gollum is silly. He is not — he’s an authentic schizophrenic and acts it convincingly. Jackson is true to the books.
The most poignant moments were of course Elrond counseling his daughter on the fate of Elves left behind, and when Haldir of Lorien realizes the loss of his immortality in the crisis of Helm’s Deep. The camera caught Craig Parker’s face as the blow fell, and we see him contemplate the enormity of the change; then there is the confirming blow, and then death.
There were departures from the canon but I did not mind them, as they served a cinematic or dramatic purpose. I love the expanded role for Arwen, and the dream sequences with Aragorn. The addition of Saruman as Theoden enspelled I thought was necessary to increase the drama when Gandalf frees him from Grima.
I shouldn’t get started about Legolas. Just let me say the camera could have stayed on him more with no complaints from me.
They said Helm’s Deep was going to rock, and it did. They said we would love Gimli more after TTT, and we do. Jackson has delivered again.
Overall, if FotR is 100% in my book, TTT is 99%, because of the additional computer graphic images and the “look” they gave to parts of the film.