Two Towers Review – It feels thin

by Dec 18, 2002Reviews

After much anticipation, I had my seat in the theatre just where I wanted it. Here I was….back to swallow another mouthful of thoughtful and poignant nick knacks that made the Fellowship of the Rings so memorable. Well…

When Peter Jackson and crew said this film would be different then the Fellowship, they were right! And for me that may not have been a good thing. However, one must stand back and realize that this is actually a one book story made into a three movie saga. With that said, I must say that I read those three gospel novels over 10 years ago. I knew the Two Towers was full of very good material to make a movie around, so I went in with very high expectations.

I must admit, having 4 plots going (if you consider the Arwen thing) was just too much. I think a movie such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels come to mind. The only reason that film worked for me, was that it was a deliberate puzzle that knew where it was going and how it was going to get there. Guy Ritchie is top of his game when it comes to subplot mastery and cause and effect.

This film on the other hand did “feel” a tad disjointed. The Arwen stuff could be in there or out for all I cared. Given my thoughts on it in retrospect, I am wondering what didn’t make it in the film that may have given it more continuity.

I think that is the question I had after seeing this picture,

“Was there continuity?”

And the answer is, “Well yeah, in places”.

And that is just not good enough to keep me inside a moment….even a three hour moment. However, this by no means makes the movie in my eyes bad. It just doesn’t come together as seamlessly.

And here is why:

The Fellowship had all main characters together almost throughout the film. This made their work in the film seem more continuous and cohesive. This film (TTT) however splits into three pieces, and even more splinters if you consider all the secondary characters, new and returning. No longer do we see the main actors getting air time to breath life and humility into their characters, but instead action and necessity has taken hold. I suppose Pete and Crew took it as a given that by this point the motives and desires of the group would already be fleshed out during the Fellowship. That is a wrong assumption. The dynamics of a smaller group of the Fellowship should have also been explored. And I think had it been, the film still would have been unwieldy if it tried to keep and combine all its elements. This would have made me want to actually do away with the Merry & Pippin/Treebeard material altogether. I would have also snipped out the Arwen sequences to just one well plotted remembrance scene, instead of the 3-4 which actually found itself in the movie. And yes, that would have been a major departure from the books (removing Treebeard). However, there would then be just two longer more enduring/cohesive elements that could have been more easily controlled for dramatic effect and overall film viewing. As it stands though, I am greatly looking forward to the DVD Extended edition. I am hoping for a whooping hour of additional footage instead.

The biggest hits of the film

Gollum (CGI Fanstasic)
Faramir’s disaster course (potentially relevant to our times)
Gimli, Gimli, Gimli
Exorciscm of Theoden
Theoden’s Last Charge
Frodo and Gollum Relationship plus Sam’s disgust

The biggest lows

Faramir’s unexplained change of heart….what?
The choas in Gondor….what’s going on there anyway?
The Gollum inner dialogue anti ending.
Gandalf the whatever…barely remembers himself..should we?
Saruman losing his cool
a braveheart finale to the best battle of all time…denied

As a last note, I want to make it plainly clear that this movie missed the mark some by trying to reach for too much of the book. I think they are right to have taken creative licenses in making a movie from a book. In this case however, the book (however much they deviated from the original work) required a much larger pair of scissors. I don’t mind a movie that deviates but captures the spirit, I do mind a move that deviates and fails in some degree to capture the spirit.


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