Thoughts… – On The Two Towers

by Dec 22, 2002Reviews

Like many of you, I was disappointed by TTT, much more strongly than I thought possible. I went in really expecting to love it. Parts of it I really liked – Gollum primarily. I have to see it again, because I had a similar, though less strong response to FOTR. In that case, I enjoyed the movie much more after the first viewing. I’m hoping something similar happens here.

I really didn’t have a problem with most of the changes, Treebeard being the only exception (not how he looked, which I liked, but his character). What I did have a problem with was the fact that within the movie, as presented, either everyone had to be a moron, or things simply didn’t make sense logically.

Let’s start with Treebeard. Assuming PJ wanted to appeal to all viewers, not just readers of LOTR, I see where he could make the decision to “change” the Ent nature from being old and wise to old and apathetic, safe, in their own little world. For readers this is a tough change to accept because Treebeard, as presented in the book, is such a great character. If we can get by that, we still have a problem. PJ cut off the Ents actions from Gandalf, and Helm’s Deep. That throws a huge hole into the plot.

In the book, there were 1,000 or so infantry at Helm’s Deep and a 1,000 or so of Eomer’s cavalry. At the end, as dawn breaks, Gandalf arrives with another 1,000 of Erkenbrand’s infantry from the west, while the Huorns have appeared miraculously (and terrifyingly) behind the Orcs. At this time time, 900 or so cavalry, led by Theoden and Aragorn rush out of the Hornburg with such force that they drive the orcs back to the dike. This fairly large mass of people (1,900 or so), as well as the fear of the Huorns is what let to the retreat and destruction of Saruman’s army.
In the movie, they never make it clear how many cavalry there are, but it looked like only 5 or 6 people rode out of the Hornburg – King Theoden with the Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas and a couple others. We don’t know how many Elves, but they walked in I believe – no horses.
Gandalf did appear with 2,000 cavalry, but without the Huorns, it would just be another big fight – nothing to force Saruman’s army to retreat. So, why the big turn of the tide.
BTW, a lot of people have complained about the scene where Aragorn and Gimli hold off the Orcs on the bridge in front of the Hornburg. That is not that different than the books. Aragorn, Eomer and a few other men do the same, with Gimli behind them. Don’t forget that Aragorn is nearly superhuman in the books in terms of battle prowess. There are several scenes where just him appearing with Anduril in hand dismays the Orcs, so, I can buy that scene.
BTW2, I’m also assuming that the reason he does not have the re-forged Narsil yet in the films is because Arwen will bring it to him in ROTK, proving her love by not “sailing west”. I certainly hope they don’t have Arwen assume Eowyn role in ROTK – definitely within the realm of possibility.
Another big logical problem: Treebard tells Merry and Pippin that he will take them to the “White Wizard”. Obviously, this is thrown in to make you question which “side” Treebeard is on. As it turns out, that is Gandalf. Well, what exactly would Gandalf have said to them “Oh, yes, they are in fact Hobbits. Well, I have to go. Hope we meet again some day”. It makes that meeting ridiculous. What are we supposed to think happened there? What did the screenwriters think happened there?
Later, when Treebeard offers to let Merry and Pippin go so they can “return home to the Shire”, Merry and Pippin talk as if it’s a possibility. Wait a minute – what about the rest of the fellowship. They’re just going to walk home, and hope things turn out OK for the others??!! I found that very infuriating. BTW, I don’t have my Atlas of ME in front of me, but I think they were somewhere in the neighborhood of a thousand miles from home, so how did they plan to get there anyway? This is one of those spots where you have to ask if PJ and the screen writers actually read the book. It would have been very easy to make these scenes work exactly like the book. Treebeard repeats the same lines when he sees the cut trees that he says in the books when he first meets M & P, when he’s telling them of Saruman’s treachery. So, somebody new where that occurred in the book.
The one other problem I had was Frodo reaction to the ring. I know we are supposed to see Frodo in a “pre-Gollum” mode, but that was way overdone. We cold figure it out without such a blatant roadmap. That level of control over him shouldn’t occur until much later.
Finally, I do have to say I didn’t have as big a problem with Faramir as most. I loved the character in the book, and the movie waaaaay simplified him. But, as I see it, he didn’t “succumb” to the ring, he just was acting as a good soldier. I think they did a very poor job of writing those scenes with any dialog that had real power. Sam’s speech was very lame, and the scene where Frodo kind of scrambled off like Gollum – oh, please.
Now, a couple of questions:
I don’t see how they can wrap everything up in ROTK. They have so much left to do unless they radically change things again. They have to meat with Saruman, get the Palantir, go through the Paths of the Dead, get the Riders of Rohan on their way to Minis Tirith, fight Shelob, escape from the Tower of Cirith Ungol, etc. I just don’t see it.
Since Frodo has already had the “mini-fight” with Sam, what happens when Sam has the ring? Wasn’t that almost the same scene? Does that mean we won’t have that whole scene? Is it possible both Sam and Frodo defeat Shelob and we won’t have the entire Tower of Cirith Ungol scene (yechhh!!!)?
Now, as a final Christmas wish, I must ask the following: If anyone out there actually has some connection to PJ and or the screenwriters, PLEASE beg them to scrape up any film for the EE of TTT that restores Treebeard to his true nature. Or, get the Weta guys back on the computers and make Treebeard an Ent again. That’s all I ask.


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