Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers
****Spoiler Alert – Spoilers Ahead***
Rating 9.5/10 on a 10-sided die.
(.5 withheld for the decided lack of a certain favorite creature.)
Oliphaunts and Ents and Wargs, oh my!
First, my complaints. Don’t worry, there are only a few. The massive crane shots were great, but made me a little queasy. There was a lot to take in and I was sad that I had to focus on one area of the screen for only one piece of information when a lot was going on in the background. Also the movie raced around quite a bit, not giving us the neat little chunks the book did. Sometimes you felt you had hardly gotten into a sequence before you were whisked away to another. Faramir, I think, they translated badly to the film. In the book he was supposed to be the antithesis of his brother, who had always been obsessed with glory. Faramir was much more grounded in the books and I think they did a terrible disservice to the character in the way they portrayed him as easily corrupted, like Boromir. I would have liked to have seen more Saruman. And, I was wondering, at the end, where’s my big, damn spider. Where’s Shelob? I was looking forward to seeing her. I mean I knew they cut things out of this movie to put in the next one, but I really wanted to see her. She was one of the best parts of the book. <Sigh>
Oh, and the service at our theater sucked, but that’s another review altogether.
But ask me if I would pay full-price to see it again. Oh Hell yes! At the crappy theater? If it was the only one I could get to. Am I going to buy every incarnation of this movie when it comes out? I would say the answer is highly in the affirmative.
I kind of liken this movie to being a part of a roller coaster ride. The first movie (FotR), had the long slow climb at the beginning where you here the tick-tick-tick of the chain as it pulls you to the tallest peak then lets you loose at a break-neck pace, from which you never really slow down again. TTT continues that ride. This is the loops and dips and hard curves right in the middle before the big finish. This is the part that you never really get to catch your breath before the next bit shows up. It was a great ride.
In the first scene, I almost stood up and yelled, “Kick that Balrog’s ass, Gandalf!” Which brings me to another point, Sir Ian McKellan – Action Hero. I almost did the same thing when he showed up to release Theoden from Saruman’s curse. I mean, when he threw off his grey cloak and stood straight in his white robes, all I could think was, “Now you’ve gone and pissed him off.” McKellan, as always, delivered a magnificent performance.
Now, while I giggled with glee at the sight of the Ents and, finally, someone knows what a Warg is supposed to look liked, the scenes with Gollum/Smeagol deeply disturbed me. It was eerie. To think that Peter Jackson had so much cruelty to not only starve Andy Serkis until he was bone thin, but to make him undergo surgery to lengthen his feet and fingers as well as enlarging his head and his eyes. And all for literary accuracy. I mean, well, seriously.
Yes, seriously. The first time, after the two hobbits wrestled him to the ground, that we saw him in full light, my blood chilled. He looked so real. With the exception of one or two incidences, and my mind trying to remind me that it was CGI, he looked like as much as a part of the film as Elijah Wood or Sean Astin. As my husband put it, that Gollum’s a good actor. And Peter Jackson did what he meant to with that character. Despite his ugliness (actions, not looks) I felt pity for him. When we got to the intense Smeagol/Gollum interaction, I cried, it was so moving. And was filled with murderous rage at the idiots in the back row that laughed at it.
The Battle at Helm’s Deep was astounding, that’s why I, and they, saved it for last. The only minor complaint I have is that I was ready to see the thing in it’s entirety and not inter-cut with other sequences that were, for storytelling purposes, necessary. Wow, I mean, WOW! I was struck speechless except for the occasional “Cool!” escaping my lips. It was a masterpiece. The interaction between Legolas and Gimli was wonderful and Viggo Mortensen was Aragorn. I don’t see how they could ever have considered another actor for the part. His interactions with the other characters, as well as on his own, deep in thought, showed a man in great turmoil, struggling to find his place in the world. But when he hits those doors and walks in the Great Hall of the Keep at Helm’s Deep, he exudes cool. It is, in my opinion, the best scene of the movie.
It would be easy to go on and on. There is so much to talk about. So much that is great about this movie. The attention to detail of the smallest quips is the same as the attention to detail for the armor, the sets, the buildings, and the characters. Once again, Peter Jackson has given us a masterpiece. Never in a movie have I been so impressed and disappointed in all my life. Impressed, because I have sat three hours in a movie and, never once, felt it, I was so caught up again. And disappointed, because, once again, Jackson has ruined normal movie going again.
-Gina M. Wood