The Lord of the Rings:
The Two Towers

(Click here for Internet Movie Database entry)

     Well, it's been a long year waiting for Merry and Pippin to be saved from the Orcs, for Frodo and Sam to meet Gollum, and for Strider, Legolas and Gimli to reach Helm's Deep.  Despite my slight disappointment at The Fellowship of the Ring, I couldn't help having high expectations and high excitement about seeing The Two Towers.  Unfortunately, I was disappointed again. And even worse, this new chapter of the Lord of the Rings trilogy got me good and mad.  At one point in the movie, when Faramir came onto the screen, I got so incensed that I broke the most important etiquette of the movies, and said out loud to Robin, "I can't stand it. It's so horrible." At that point, I really wanted to get up and leave.  I did calm down but the big difference between the movie versions of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers is that in the first movie, most of the changes from the book were omissions.   In the second movie, many things have been changed, including the addition one long sequence not found in the book.  I don't want to spoil anything if you haven't seen it yet so click here if you want to read my top ten list of things they changed (not for the better) from the book. 

     The Two Towers starts off fairly well with Strider, Legolas and Gimli (Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, and John Rhy-Davies) chasing after the Orcs who have captured Merry and Pippin (Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd), while Frodo and Sam (Elijah Wood and Sean Astin) wander towards Mordor.  But then things start to go haywire (See my list).  Merry and Pippin are almost invisible in The Two Towers. Their role of comic relief is picked up with gusto by Gimli, who is the butt of one short joke after another. We have several new characters, King Theoden (Bernard Hill), his neice Eowyn (Miranda Otto) and nephew Eomer (Karl Urban), as well as Faramir (David Wenham) and the nasty Grima Wormtongue (Brad Dourif).  The casting remains more or less perfect. Everyone looks right. Casting Dourif as Wormtongue was a great idea.  In particular, Otto does a wonderful job as Eowyn, the strong but sad niece of Theoden.  The latest computer generated character, Gollum is quite well done, much better than Jar Jar or Dobby. But he still looks fake in a few scenes.  The Ents are not so good but aren't as bad as I feared. Bloom as Legolas is still my favorite character on the screen.

     Everyone knows that I am a Lord of the Rings purist.  It is an added burden to know every line of the book by heart.  Most other viewers will not notice or care about the changes from the book.  But like the first movie, The Two Towers has sacrificed the parts of the book where we get character development for action and more action. Don't get me wrong, I like battles with Orcs and the battle of Helm's Deep is a great battle but enough is enough.  And a battle is added that isn't in the book.  But, what really bothers me is the changes to the heart of the story wherein the nature of the major characters is changed in ways that go completely against the themes of the book. Peter Jackson's version of The Lord of the Rings is that everyone needs to have a crisis of faith during every crisis. This gets very tiresome particularly with Gollum whose internal Slinker and Stinker debate goes on interminably.

     Now, it will be another long year to wait until Minas Tirith and Minas Morgol, Shelob, and horns of the north wildly blowing. We won't know until all three movies can be watched how successful the series will be. You have to go see it because it is incredibly thrilling to see the story on the screen. The Two Towers is very entertaining but I can't help feeling that they could have done better.