movie film review | chris tookey
 
     
     
 

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

 (12A)
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  Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Review
Tookey's Rating
10 /10
 
Average Rating
8.26 /10
 
Starring
Frodo: Elijah Wood, Gandalf: Ian McKellen (pictured right), Arwen: Liv Tyler
Full Cast >
 

Directed by: Peter Jackson
Written by: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair, Peter Jackson . Based on the book by: J.R.R. Tolkien

 
 
 
Released: 2002
   
Genre: ACTION
ADVENTURE
FANTASY
SERIES
SEQUEL
FAMILY
WAR
EPIC
   
Origin: US
   
Colour: C
   
Length: 221
 
 


 
PRO Reviews

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“Good Lord! Spectacular sequel The Two Towers is even better than the first Lord of the Rings movie. Full of darkness and danger and jam packed with breathtaking battles, this is epic in every sense. There's no quiet beginning or setting the scene this time, it's straight into the action from the start and there's no let up for the next three hours. Director Peter Jackson captures some of the most ferocious battle scenes ever put on film and puts his camera right among the blood and guts. At the centre of the action is Viggo Mortensen's heroic character Aragorn who gets the most screen time and comes across as a Middle Earth Rambo but turns in some terrific acting too.... A big fault of the first film was the lack of humour but they've put some welcome jokey banter in this time among all the swords, sorcery and slaugher.”
(Sandro Monetti, Sky News)
“There are several terrific human performances, not the least of which is from Bernard Hill as the King. He's a total surprise and a find, with the potential for a supporting-actor nod. Ian McKellen is just as good as before as Gandalf and Miranda Otto is the fetching princess. Viggo Mortensen, who should have been a movie star long before this, will maybe now break through. He is photographed as nicely as possible by director Peter Jackson, who obviously saw Mortensen as his matinee-idol hero. He was right... The real success comes in the camaraderie among the characters and the actors. It's a very human movie after all. The people really seem to like each other, and we like them because of it. With all this emotion and bonding, The Two Towers has everything that made the original Star Wars movies so popular, and everything that the two recent ones have sorely lacked.”
(Roger Friedman, FOX News)
“The present film is assurance that next year's Return of the King should be a truly glorious event. Indeed, assuming the better and longer ‘extended’ version of Fellowship released last month on video is not a fluke, sometime in 2004 the unabridged Lord of the Rings will join very few other masterworks destined to stand up for decades and hopefully bring good fortune to all involved in its making... Towers has many battles, starting with the opening sequence of Gandalf (Ian McKellen) locked in combat with the fiery Balrog, from the first film, in a dazzling plunge into the depths of the Earth. Gandalf does return from his ordeal, though changed and focused on the coming war. All of the returning characters continue to evolve, including an outright mystical sequence showing the Eldar/Edain union and future of elf Arwen (Liv Tyler) and human Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), which the filmmakers went to the appendix of Rings to find for the midway point of the whole work. The major event of Towers is the battle of Helm's Deep... What strikes one more than anything in Towers is the material's dreamlike quality, from Frodo falling into the Dead Marshes and the way Gollum slithers on all fours to the massive black gates of Mordor and Gandalf's climactic charge on Shadowfax - the lord of all horses - down a very steep hill. The one misgiving is the very ending, which seems less satisfying than the vile treachery of Gollum, now set for the opening of Return. The biggest frustration is having to wait now until Dec. 17, 2003, to complete the journey.”
(David Hunter, Hollywood Reporter)
“Absolutely amazing... The Two Towers plays on a very darkened tone. A tone where there is not much hope and things seem to be teetering on the end edge of permanent despair. Even the imagery in the film is very dark and contrasted. Unlike the beautiful greens and blues of Fellowship Of The Ring, The Two Towers draws from the many ‘dead’ colors of the world, and throws our beloved characters into the mix. The actors performance were truly brilliant. Not a flawed character in the bunch, and that includes all CGI characters such as Treebeard & Gollum... An absolute masterpiece is at hand. With the second chapter under our wings, we shall soon have the one of the greatest stories ever to be told in the greatest cinematic form that we could have ever hoped for. This movie truly does justice to the books that inspired it.”
(Brian Balchack. LightsOut Entertainment,)
“As sensational as some of the earliest reviews have indicated. Whether it's better than the first film is debatable - but it certainly is just as good... What impressed me most about this film? The fact that Peter Jackson has once again created a believable Middle Earth that seems to sprout from our most inner imaginations. My favorite scene in the entire film is one where Gollum leads Frodo and Samwise through a dangerous marsh with flaming fire and thick fog. The waters that surround it reveal the faces of the dead. Suddenly, overhead, a Ringwrathe appears riding a winged creature. As our heroes hide in the marshes, you can feel the chills running up your spine as the swooping sounds of the bird's large swing span seem to pan across the theater. Of course, nothing can come close to the film's climatic Battle for Helms Deep. You can feel the intensity building as you hear a thunderous roar while watching an endless black sea of an approaching Orc army, stomping their weapons across the ground. The battle itself is perhaps one of the grandest of its kind ever seen with its onslaught of slinging arrows and ladders of Orcs that catapult themselves up the fortress walls. The CGI is every bit as impressive as I had expected it to be, most notably, the creature Gollum, who is perhaps the most amazing CGI character ever brought to the screen. Sometimes hideous, other times lovable, this creature proves that CGI cannot only be tastefully done, but such a character can dominate a film and actually be liked -- unlike that other CGI character we all hated from Star Wars: Episode I... A grand epic, wide in scope, and intimately poetic.“
(Ronald Epstein, hometheatreforum.com)
“The film of the year... Gollum is the CG-highlight. Others include my favourite Balrog in his early scene, the cave trolls, the explosion at Helm's Deep, the attack on Isengard, Treebeard - oh and the oliphants. They are majestic. At that point in the movie, they are almost too much because they don't much serve the plot. But the sight is impressive - and I always prefer ‘too much’ to ‘not enough’. As in Fellowship, the backgrounds are stunning... Sean Astin has more to do and shines. Elijah Wood appears a lot less than in part one but he's good. The other two hobbits have less gags than in Fellowship - and it works. This time around, the jokes go to John Rhys-Davies who's funny as Gimli and impressive as the voice of Treebeard. Orlando Bloom was better in Fellowship. He has one or two wooden lines and is less fancy with his tool - the bow that is. But he's still good. Viggo Mortensen was probably the best man in the film. If Fellowship was Frodo's quest, The Two Towers is Aragorns. And Viggo does a good job portraying that. On the other hand, Ian McKellen was reduced. He's stiffer than in part one and apart from 2 or 3 funny lines, he only has some heavy dialogue. Cate Blanchet has only a cameo and Liv Tyler was less distracting than I thought. Her scenes are still rather useless. Bernard Hill was grand. Sometimes I had the feeling he's playing captain of the Titanic again and steering his ship Rohan into doom. Miranda Otto was also good. There were lots of discussion about the ‘love triangle’. It's not happing actually because Eowyn sees that Aragorn loves Arwen. The few glances of Miranda Otto speak volumes and were better than any love relation a lesser director would have attempted to put more estrogen in the picture. I guess the changes of the female characters will be the most talked about among Tolkien purists. For me, they felt right. Also something to discuss: The movie ends before the book does. It ends when Gollum leads the hobbits to a grisly fate ... to ‘’her’ (he pronounces it deliciously)... It's an epic war movie full of amazing visuals and astonishing power. It is not a light movie. It's the evil stepchild of The Fellowship of the Ring. One cannot exist without the other. Fellowship did not only introduce the characters, it also remains a counterpoint to The Two Towers. When I left the cinema I felt beaten and exhausted. And for that, Peter Jackson, I thank you. “
(Pedro Vargas, Filmjerk.com)
“The battle scenes are spectacularly done. I'm no fan of war movies, but the Battle of Helms Deep is well paced, suspenseful, and remarkably easy to follow - I must admit that I've never been entirely sure what exactly was going on in that part of the book, or where the Glittering Caves might be relative to the Deep, but the film made all that quite clear. At the same time, we get caught up in the fortunes of Gimli, Aragorn, Legolas, Eowyn,Theoden and others and are able to follow these separate threads as they weave through the larger tapestry of the battle. The second great feature of TTT is the way many of the characters from the book are actually deepened and humanized in the movie. Eowyn, to take one example, already the closest thing to a breathing female anywhere in LotR, is really brought to life by Miranda Otto in her scenes with Aragorn and Gimli, and leads me to have high hopes for her role in RotK. Aragorn, too, continues the complex character development begun in FotR but largely missing from the books - his interaction with Eowyn is both sympathetic and subtle and provides a fine counterpoint to the unfolding and (to me) still not entirely convincing Aragorn/Arwen story. I also join the crowd completely blown away by Gollum - not just a great effect but a truly great performance, probably the best in the film. (Can a CGI effect be awarded best supporting actor?) Elijah Wood's portrayal of Frodo benefits considerably from juxtaposition with this richly detailed rendering of Gollum, which makes it clear both to Frodo and to the audience what Frodo is in real danger of becoming."
(Nerdanel, Theonering.net)
“Gollum was a delight to see. He really embodies the old clich?, ‘You're never alone with a Schizophrenic.’ I feel that the scenes with Gollum debating with himself were terrific...I was sorry that more time wasn't spent in Ithilien with the Herbs and Stewed Rabbit. I was also sorry that A LOT of artistic license was taken with the Faramir character from the books. However, if one hadn't read the books - they would not catch these changes. I thought that the whole idea of taking Frodo and the Ring to Osgiliath was to be completely superfluous. They could have left the whole scenes as they were at Henneth Annun and have been better served. I also worry that Frodo seems to be falling apart a bit prematurely. One would hope that he will be able to make it to the Cracks of Doom without having to be dragged every step of the way by Sam. It's one thing to be constantly pummeled emotionally by the ring and fighting it silently. It is quite another to be a wilting violet every time a Ringwraith is within 10 miles of him... Finally - I was disappointed that the movie was so short (even though it is just about the same length as the theatrical release as FOTR). Now - I don't think I can wait until next year to see ROTK. Now, I'm right back where I was a year ago. Biting my nails waiting for the next one.“
(IRHobbitish, Theonering.net)
“This definitely had a different feel from FotR, not only in the sense that it was much BIGGER and much darker, but I think because of the necessity of cutting from subplot to subplot. In the FotR, you got a real feeling that you were on a journey along with the fellowship; you were moving through middle earth and fighting baddies along the way. In TTT there is not that same feeling. Although Frodo and Sam do progress through the Emyn Muil, through the Dead Marshes, through Ithilien and up to Osgiliath, since that journey visually takes such a back seat to the massive (no pun intended) battle, one does not feel as swept up with them as in FotR. I think that this film is much more accessible to non-fans than the first installment; whereas in FotR it was rather important to understand the characters and their motives for doing what they did, in TTT it is pretty clear: there are good guys, bad guys, and a huge battle.”
(Aya, Theonering.net)
“The Two Towers takes us on three separate journeys, yet each one is dependent upon the other. While information is given to us at a feverish pace, there is never a sense of information overload or confusion. The stories never skip a beat. They never halt to gaze at the scenery (which is breathtaking). It is cinema storytelling at its finest. Each character (both old and new) is given their moment to shine. And shine they do. The performances from the most minor of characters to the largest of leading roles are superb. The battles are the most epic that I have ever seen. There is action without limits, and characters such as Legolas show us why Elves were the greatest of all beings... The strengths of The Two Towers greatly outnumbers its weaknesses. There are many more alterations to the original text in this film than the firstoa few of which are sure to spark heated debates among fans for years to come. And while the alterations range from minor to drastic, the spirit is still the same, and carries through the entire film. This is a fantastic second chapter of the trilogy, and the anticipation for the third and final chapter next year is almost too much to bear. I can guarantee that this fan will be revisiting this movie quite a few times before it leaves theaters.”
(Sarumann, Theonering.net)
“What has impresses me specifically with the film is that it increases the scope, but never loses the human element of the story... The movie is not perfect and I want to specifically note the parts that are not to set proper expectations. Several scenes with Elrond and Arwen are fairly redundant and seem to be in there only to remind the audience that they're there. Not that they shouldn?t be in the movie, but good scripting could have combined their bits into one great scene. And there?s some sloppy plotting with the Ent subplot and the Eowyn/Aragorn romance is unnecessary. Not that Miranda Otto is bad, but when you have the fate of Middle Earth on your shoulders, you've got no time for an additional love triangle. But for these few little things I have pointed out, there are many more that will awe you with wonder. This is the real deal folks. Get excited, because warts and all, Two Towers is another piece of a classic.”
(Torben, The Sinful Dwarf , Ain’titcool news)
“The real suprise for me is Gollum. This little guy can act. Andy Serkis and Weta digital turn in a performance that makes Yoda look as exciting as a game of Pong. The scenes where Gollum is arguing with himself
(think of Willem Dafoe's mirror scene in Spider-Man) really sent chills up my spine. The hurt he conveys when he thinks /master’ has deceived him really touches a nerve. Other random thoughts The scenes with Faramir needed to be cut a bit. By the time Faramir decided to let Frodo go, I wasn't interested anymore. I wanted to get back to Helm's Deep. Also, the Nazgul aren't as terrifying in this movie, but again, maybe PJ [Peter Jackson] is saving that for the Pelennor fields in ROTK [Return of the King]. I think someone else mentioned it, but the movie ends right after the battle of Helm's Deep, although Gollum alludes to Shelob, saying something like, "SHE can take care of them!" Having said all that, this movie is amazing. As good as the first one, but more entertaining. I don't think any fans of FOTR [Fellowship of the Ring] will be disappointed. I can't wait to see it again, and again, and again.” Hackenbush, Theonering.net)
“It had all of the qualities of the first film, plus the extraordinary, never seen before Helm's Deep sequence that made Attack of the \Clones look like it was shot in a barn with hand puppets... The film breaks off naturally, before the Stairs of Cirith Ungol, and more surprisingly befire the reckoning with Saruman, but I suppose it's long enough as it is... The only thing "missing" (ie: from the book), which I hope will find its way in the DVD, is some of the stuff that happened between Merry, Pippin and Treebeard. No entdraught... I don't blame the film-makers 'cause that would have taken us away from the main action for too long, but still... I just can't wait for the DVD version, and of course TROTK. I cannot, simply cannot imagine how Peter Jackson will manage to top that one again.”
(Aul?, Theonering.net)
“It varies away from the books a lot more than FOTR did. Some parts didn't even exist in the books, and in other cases you are seeing the same story from different perspectives. Sam and Gimli stole the show, in my opinion. Everyone voted that Pippin would be the comic relief in this movie, but I think that Gimli has stolen his trophy on that account. Many of Sam's greatest moments from the books are left in the movie (Sam fans will be cheering at these parts!), and some really nice new scenes are given to him. Legolas is also more likeable in this movie. He becomes a little more ‘humanistic’ in quality, as opposed to the slightly ‘magical’ nature he had about him in the first film (his kind-of "aloofness"). Elijah Wood does a great job with Frodo as he becomes possessed by the ring. There are some heart-breaking moments for him and Sam (one really huge one at the end; which is from a shot in the trailer, but you wouldn't know that that shot of Frodo is actually in a scene with Sam and not Gollum). The new characters are all lovely. Eowyn has a very nice introduction and she doesn't whip out the sword quite yet (at least, not in a big way). Theoden is well played and Wormtongue is great. “
(Tigerlily Gamgee, Theonering.net)
"An epic of grandeur and scale that’s been decades gone from the popcorn pushing sound stages of Hollywood."
(Joshua Tyler, FILM HOBBIT)
"Seeing The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is like having a second date with a woman who made you fall in love at first sight."
(Lawrence Toppman, CHARLOTTE OBSERVER)
"Actually superior to its predecessor... You could hardly ask for more spectacle for your movie dollar. ...sure to be hailed as one of the most thrilling fantasies ever filmed."
(James Sanford, KALAMAZOO GAZETTE)
"What’s wrong with Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers? Well, to quote my 13-year-old nephew, “It wasn’t long enough!”"
(David Poland, HOT BUTTON)
"A cinematic flood of spectacular proportions."
(David Hunter, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER)
“First time round, I was a sceptic. Such protracted introductions, so many characters, and what unpronounceable names .... I was not a happy fan of JRR Tolkien. But after a year's intermission, I emerged a convert from Part Two - shattered, shaken, stirred, even worshipful. It has a grandeur that it's not hyperbole to call Miltonic. Moreover, though it's no incitement to cinema-going, the film has collected a fearful dread from the way the world has gone since 9/11. Peter Jackson's film, unplanned though it was, now looks like a prophetic allegory for Osama bin Laden's messianic threats to world order as well as the besieged resistance of the great and the small. Even the sub-title The Two Towers involuntarily recalls the Twin Towers... What an eyeful it is. This is probably the greatest battlepiece composed for the screen since Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible... With The Two Towers, Tolkien's tapestry of Middle Earth's battle for survival has achieved a majestic proportion, chivalric and quixotic, earthly and magical, an experience that reaches beyond the dimensions of the cinema screen and somehow reflects the global unease of the world in the first years of the 21st century. “
(Alexander Walker, Evening Standard)
“This is a compact, flab-free adaptation of JRR Tolkien's complex, lengthy book, and it suffers little from following three simultaneous adventures. The special effects, too, impress. Gollum is the first believable CG character, while the battle of Helm's Deep is one of the finest, most expansive combat sequences ever filmed. The cast do well not to be swamped by the spectacle. Mortensen again excels as the square-jawed hero, while Rhys-Davies' dwarf provides welcome comic relief. Unfortunately, with his every attempt at sincerity, Wood's Frodo still looks as though he's going to make a pass at his fellow hobbit Sam. However, Astin rises above this to give a standout performance. It's his moving delivery of the inspirational, climactic monologue that gives heart to the spectacle and elevates a film it's easy to admire into one it's possible to love.”
(Nev Pierce, BBCi)
“10/10, 100 per cent, five stars, ‘The must-see film of the year, you’ll love it’, A+, Outstanding, first class with honours, Black Belt .... “
(Johnny Vaughan, Sun)
“It's hard not to be awed at the sheer scale of The Two Towers. Shooting in Jackson's native New Zealand, the camera sweeps massively over mountain ranges, forests thick with foreboding and valleys bristling with armies on the march; landscapes sprawl in wide perspectives worthy of Casper David Friedrich's romantic 19th-century vistas.”
(Anthony Quinn, Independent)
“Utterly astonishing, truly epic film that comfortably exceeds all possible expectations – with stunning action sequences, jaw-dropping special effects and thoroughly engaging characters, this is a directorial tour de force.”
(Matthew Taylor, ViewLondon)
“The battles and sieges are... orchestrated in a manner that recalls the great movie epics of Fritz Lang and Sergei Eisenstein. These sequences are breathtaking, as indeed is much of a beautifully designed and photographed film that draws for its visual style on Caspar David Friedrich, the Pre-Raphaelites, Art Nouveau illustrations for children's books and the apocalyptic biblical landscapes (all flaming mountains, lightning and floods) of the Victorian visionary John Martin. The New Zealand settings have a rugged, primeval grandeur, though there are too many swooping helicopter shots over the landscape...These Tolkien films have a weight and seriousness that very few sword-and-sorcery pictures of the past 30-odd years have attained.”
(Phlip French, Observer)
“The epic, sweeping scope is astonishing. Jackson plunges straight into his tricky multi-pronged narrative without any scene-setting, and he barely pauses to let us catch our breath. There's a welcome collection of cutaways in the middle (involving elfs Tyler, Blanchett and Weaving) to establish the bigger picture and continue plotlines between the three films, but otherwise the film charges relentlessly and restlessly forward. Along the way we get the most amazing CGI character ever put on screen (Gollum), sweeping drama and romance, startling action sequences, and more spectacular New Zealand scenery than we can quite take in. This is magical, expert, passionate filmmaking that needs to be seen on the big screen. But it is also the middle of a trilogy, so don't let the fact that it doesn't have a beginning or an ending put you off - this is a dazzling film about an epic journey that has real power all its own. “
(Rich Cline)

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