Review: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (Extended Edition, 2002)

Peter Jackson’s epic was almost as long as the six month wait for me to get the disc from Netflix!

Screenplay By: Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Stephen Sinclair, & Fran Walsh
Directed By: Peter Jackson

There are flaws in Peter Jackson’s version of The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers. The CG is a bit dodgy in a few instances, such as when Legolas swings around a horse to end up riding on said horse. Some scenes, and individual moments, take longer to develop than initially feels necessary, like Aragorn’s soup interaction with Eowyn. Finally, there appeared to me to be a bit of unnecessary cool injected into the film in the form of events like Legolas surfing on a shield. For all of these reasons The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers is a flawed epic.

Viewed in totality, The Lord Of The Rings: The Towers is just so damn epic. By the time the film had finished I had forgotten completely about any flaws I viewed the film as holding. That is some astonishing film making by Mr. Jackson. He has made a flawed film that is so epic and grand in its sweep that all of its flaws slowly seep from the mind until all one is left with is the excellence of the grandeur and the epic scope. It helps that in every area I could think of The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers is a great film, the type that is incredibly long but a breeze to watch. In the course of one paragraph and by merely thinking about all the great elements contained within The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers I have forgotten about its flaws, that is the sign of a great film if I don’t say so myself.

I’m hoping to avoid a similar review to the one I wrote for Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. I could rattle off all the reasons I found The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers to be amazingly awesome (alliteration, I am a fan), but seeing as how I already did that for one of the movies I love more as a nerd than a cinephile (although realistically I am a nerd for being a cinephile) I don’t want to trot out that type of review again.

I was struck this time around by the interactions between the characters. It’s quite a jolt to realize that the epic feel that The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers emanates has very little to do with battles and everything to do with the characters going on journeys and talking to one another. Don’t get me wrong, the battles are some of the best I’ve ever seen on film. The Battle of Helm’s Deep in particular stands out as one of the finest battle sequences I have ever witnessed in a movie. Still, roughly two thirds of the film deals with characters talking to one another and walking from place to place. This is never boring, it is always interesting and always engaging. Mr. Jackson uses the interactions between the characters to develop the characters and make us truly care about their individual and collective plights. He also uses the interactions between the characters to fully realize the world of Middle Earth.

Every five or so minutes in The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers there is a chance for the audience to sit back and gasp at the intricate beauty and ugliness of Middle Earth. At times the camera opens up to wide shots of vistas and mountain bluffs. Other times the camera closes in on confined swamps and mountain crevices. The camera is always active, and so is the WOW factor of the film. The WOW factor should never be underestimated in an epic spectacle movie. Not that this is the case for The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, but it’s often difficult for people, I think this is true at least, to allow themselves to be taken in by the visual amazement of a WOW movie. Avatar is a great example, but The Lord Of The Rings: The Towers stands right alongside Avatar as a movie that at its heart is a giant spectacle that comes across as such and works beautifully in spectacle mode.

I know I’ve said this many times before, but it holds true, I could talk on and on about the scope, the wonderful looking CG, the great acting, and the epic feel of The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers. Alas, I have already said a lot and I don’t believe anyone comes to my little blog to read three thousand word dissertations. The logical conclusion to what I have written so far is that The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers is a finely made motion picture that easily overcomes any aspects of its production that may be flawed. I dare say that among all the epics and spectacles I have seen The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers sits near the top if not at the top. It’s no small feat to direct a picture that can overcome its flaws to exist as an all-time great, but Mr. Jackson has done it yet again.

Rating:

****

Cheers,
Bill

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14 responses to “Review: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (Extended Edition, 2002)

  1. Mark Middlemas

    My feelings about this film have evolved over the years and have culminated in the question: “Still walking, huh?”

  2. The walking doesn’t bother me at all, the characters are being explored as they walk, and i’m okay with that.

  3. I do agree this is a flawed epic. I really don’t like the treatment of Gimli in the film and some of those “cool” moments you talk about still bug me. Still, what it does it does so well and I really like the characters and their interactions in this chapter of the trilogy.

  4. I actually enjoyed Gimli, although I can see how him being treated less than seriously could rub people the wrong way.

  5. I agree with everything you say about this film, Bill. But I will NEVER forgive the filmmakers for what they did to Faramir. I do not appreciate slander!

    Perhaps I take the books too seriously. But still!

  6. Your Faramir complaint is one that I hear often, but for whatever reason I’ve never had any problem with the way the films handle that character.

  7. Anarya Andir

    This is a trilogy I could go on about. I completely, deeply, truly, love it. I mean it’s possibly the best fantasy franchise, and definitely the most emotional. I don’t think other fantasy films have been able to touch it in terms of emotion. For me it’s more about the characters (as you said), than the visual spectacle.

    Jackson could have chosen to do without little scenes between Frodo and Sam, or that great scene in ROTK with Faramir riding off to Osgiliath and Pippin singing for Denethor. But just look at the impact that creates. Jackson is a master storyteller and I’ve never bothered about the flaws in the trilogy because every film has flaws. To err is human after all.

    And need I mention that the Battle of Helm’s Deep is probably one of the few battles I could sit through with full attention, without getting bored, but getting emotional?

  8. The Battle of Helm’s Deep is one of the best battle scenes I’ve ever witnessed in a film. It carries the right amount of emotion and action to keep me riveted and invested at the same time.

    I should be getting to the extended edition of Return Of The King sometime soon. Overall I greatly enjoy the trilogy, and I’m very much looking forward to what Jackson does with The Hobbit.

  9. Anarya Andir

    Yes, the Helm’s Deep sequence is absolutely amazing. Strangely – because it’s filmed in this dark, bleak colour (at night) and it’s raining and looks so dreary. And I’m not a person who really enjoys battles in films. But Helm’s Deep had me glued to my seat. I think that sequence is some 30-40 mins in the film, but it never seems that long and never tires you out. It just keeps getting ‘awesomer’.

    I bought all the extended editions back in 2004 on DVD – and sometimes I regret it because now the Blu-Rays are out. Sigh!

    I can’t wait for the Hobbit!! It might not be as grand as the LOTR trilogy (as it is a much simpler story) but I’m so happy it’s finally taking shape and that Jackson is directing it!

  10. I just received the extended blu ray box set this past Christmas, I’m looking forward to sitting down and watching them soon. 🙂

    I look forward to Jackson’s version of The Hobbit, although I would have loved to have seen what del Toro could do with the project. Still, my wife loves that story, and we’re both looking forward to the films.

  11. Anarya Andir

    Aaaah – lucky lucky you :D. I’d have been like an excited 5 year old opening a box of chocolates :P.
    Having Del Toro would have been interesting for sure, but I guess most of the world wanted Jackson back. And it would be easier for Jackson to manage because it’s familiar territory for him.
    That’s awesome you and your wife like the story :D. I can’t wait for it 😀 😀 😀

  12. Yep, probably a midnight showing for us. 🙂

  13. I considered The Fellowship of the Ring to be one of the greatest movies ever. This one is better!

    The scenery is marvelous, the animations great, and the story superb. This episode strays further from the books when it comes to the unfolding of events, but I feel that it stays closer in atmosphere and realism; the nazgûls are now the fear-inspiring creatures they should be. Gollum, excellently implemented, even becomes more realistic then I remember him from the books, not to mention other attempts to portray him. His schizophrenic monologues are among the highlights of the movie.

    The major drawback is once again the apparent incapability of the dark-side creatures. Aragorn with fellows can ride back and forth among them unhurt, while the Uruk-Hai fall in large numbers just for being nearby. Though I enjoy many of the jokes made at Gimli’s expense, this still is another thing I partly dislike. Gimli sure is no clown in the books.

    I rate the movie 9/10 (my highest so far).

  14. I like all three films, but this is my favorite as well.

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