Having approached The Fellowship of the Ringwith some trepidation, and then been delighted, I sat down to view The Two Towerswith some confidence – but came away thinking “Oh dear”. It may yet grow on me, and will be fine as the middle section of the 14 hour complete version, but I found it choppy and unsatisfying – and the sentimental ending scenes were crass. It was always going to be difficult to follow 3 complex storylines in a film of 2 hours 45 mins (if you exclude the credits) but the film does feel as if it has been edited with a hacksaw. I’m hoping that there is a 6 hour extended version for sale in DVD next November which restores what is so obviously missing (and cuts that awful repeat about tossing a dwarf).
This is not to say that there were not many good things about TTT: Gollum is impressive, particularly during the Gollum/Smeagol arguments (but surely the most telling point about special effects should be that you forget they are special effects). Haldir’s elves in their armour are also rather splendid, and the arrival of Eomer at Helm’s Deep does bring a tear to the eye. Bernard Hill is a great Theoden and Shadowfax does look and move like a prince among horses. More time should have been given to the insidiously slimy counsellings of Brad Dourif’s excellent Wormtongue.