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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Peter Jackson's award-winning 2002 film adaptation of the second volume of Tolkien's epic fantasy novel.

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The sequel that defies expectations

  • Sep 1, 2003
Simply put, "The Two Towers" lives up to the standards the filmmakers set for themselves in the first film. It is remarkably faithful to the books, and it is an excellent film in any estimation.

The style established in the first film is maintained rigorously in the second. Colors, sounds, dialogue, effects, acting... all excellent, all used well. I cannot think of a single element with which I was disappointed, but there were a few things which stood out as particularly impressive.

The achievement and realization of Gollum as a character was better than I think anyone expected. Very quickly, I forgot while watching the film that he is essentially a virtual character, and what we see on the screen was created by digital artists (along with the incomparable Andy Serkis). Far from suffering from Jar-Jar Binks syndrome, Gollum becomes as real a character as any of the actors on-screen, with depth and feeling and even sympathy. I didn't expect to be given a Gollum I could believe in, but Jackson and his team surprised me here.

Even apart from Gollum, the effects of this second film were even better than the first. I can see that, as good as they were when they started the project, the artists working on Lord of the Rings have already begun to improve their talents, and it shows in the work. The massive battle sequence at Helm's Deep is only one example of the fine work they are doing now.

Howard Shore's music for the film has once again enchanted me thoroughly. Shore is a talented composer for just about any film, but for Lord of the Rings he has clearly pulled out all the stops and created something completely new for him, but utterly perfect for the films. His epic, sweeping, emotional score is ideal for capturing the essence of the story. It's gotten to the point that listening to even a small portion of the music invokes memories of the films for me.

The actors chosen for Lord of the Rings could not be better, and in this movie they prove it even moreso than in the first. Driven to extremes of desperation and hopelessness, and still coming out the other side intact, they show their basic humanity and maintain a sense of who they are. Whether siding with good or evil, all the characters are essentially believeable, and that is a rare achievement.

The changes that were made for the film version of "The Two Towers" take a little getting used to for someone who has read the books, but they don't really detract from the story at all. Many of them actually seem to make the story more accessible, and to establish some plot point a little earlier or a little more clearly.

In many ways, "Fellowship" was an easier film to watch. "The Two Towers" seems somewhat depressing and dark in comparison, as well it should. This second film is a story about finding hope in the face of hopelessness. As each part of the story progresses, the characters progress deeper into the darkness that is engulfing the world. Sam expresses this explicitly near the end of the film, when he says that it gets to the point where you don't want to know what happens next anymore, because it seems that it can't possibly turn out well. These are people presented with insurmountable odds, but what makes it so compelling to watch is that they try anyway -- "because there's some good left in this world... and it's worth fighting for."

A few words about the DVD: it's a good-looking presentation, and the extras are fun and all worth watching. Sean Astin's short film, "The Long and Short of It," is presented on the second disc, as is a 10-minute behind-the-scenes preview of the third film and a sampling of scenes that will be seen in the Extended Edition of "The Two Towers." Just as on "Fellowship," the extras on "The Two Towers" are almost long enough to be a film in themselves, and they are all well-produced and worth watching.

All in all, a very well-done film. Peter Jackson's film version of The Lord of the Rings is (so far) the best fantasy epic ever committed to film. Perhaps the only drawback to watching "The Two Towers" now is that it makes me even more anxious to see "The Return of the King."

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More The Lord of the Rings: The Two... reviews
review by . December 24, 2010
This is another perfect film in what's most likely the greatest fantasy franchise ever (Harry Potter doesn't count). There's absolutely nothing wrong with it, the only thing that even remotely irked me was that I found it a bit too long. The acting, the story, the characters, the visuals, the Battle of Helm's Deep, the villains, the dialogue, and the continuation of the story is what makes this film perfect. Yup, that pretty much covers it...everything is just perfect.   …
review by . October 10, 2006
Every great adventure story worth telling has a solid hero - someone who puts others before themselves and uses their talents to do their best at keeping the forces of evil at bay even if it means the loss of life and limb. At its core, this movie has eight such heroes and each one lives up to the call. Peter Jackson was faced with a great challenge but he managed to pull this off real well.    This film was better paced than the first in the trilogy. There were still some breaks …
review by . June 03, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
The extended versions of these movies are even better than the originals. They're so good, in fact, that I wish they would skip the standard edition and just go right to the extended one. Great movie, and the best mastered DVD I've seen yet.
review by . February 04, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
I have seen all three films and consider them to make up the greatest trilogy ever and this film is my favorite of the three! I have seen it several times. The band that got together on the journey to Mordor in the first film is split into 3 groups. The Troll, Elf Archer and the man (who is destined to be king of men?) make up one band while Frodo and Sam make up the second band, and the other two Hobbits make up the third group. We basically have stories going on simultaneously and the director …
review by . January 03, 2004
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING seemed unsurpassable. But it happened! And that's because now we have THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS, a moviemaking masterpiece second only to three films: THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, THE GODFATHER, and THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING. The film deals with the Fellowship after their seperation. Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) continue their quest to Mt. Doom; at the same time, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando …
review by . November 21, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
I liked the theatrical version of "The Two Towers." That being said, the Extended Edition is definitely a stronger, more consistent film. It tightens up so many of the loose ends, and gave more reason for some of the changes made from the books. From Eowyn's heartfelt singing at Theodred's funeral procession to Merry and Pippin's extended roles to Faramir's siginificantly more defined character, the new scenes add to the story and to the character development dramatically. The plot flows better …
review by . November 19, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
Once again, Peter Jackson has outdone himself with the Special Extended DVD Edition of THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS. Besides the original nearly three hour film, this edition includes just over 43 minutes of footage that was not shown in the original cinematic release. I realize why some of the scenes were not included in the movie, but some of the other ones I just don't understand: they add such depth to the movie and make it better than it was. Since the series has been such a success, …
review by . January 02, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Lives up to the hype, and even surpasses it     Cons: Liv Tyler's scenes drag on     The Bottom Line: I said I'd review this when it came out, didn't I? I guess most of you wouldn't know.     As I sat and watched the opening scene in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, I couldn’t help but think: Gandalf is one baaad mutha-... Here he is, just having taken an unwilling (but graceful!) swan dive into the abyss, and he’s still …
review by . December 20, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Visually stunning, Some characters wonderfully portrayed      Cons: Uneven pacing, relies on familiarity and then discards the familiar.      The Bottom Line: A beautiful film that doesn't quite come together in places. Good, sometimes breathtaking, but basically not as good as it could have been.      All year long I whetted my appetite, eagerly anticipating The Two Towers with a hunger usually reserved for dreams of Thanksgiving …
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Rich Stoehr ()
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I often hide behind a pithy Douglas Adams quote or maybe some song lyrics. I guess it makes sense that much of what I share is reviews of things I like (or don't).      People … more
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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a 2002 fantasy-adventure film directed by Peter Jackson based on the second volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. It is the second film in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy that was preceded by The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and concluded with The Return of the King (2003).

Continuing the plot of The Fellowship of the Ring, it intercuts three storylines, as Frodo and Sam continue their quest to destroy the One Ring in Mordor and meet Gollum, its former owner. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli come across the war torn nation of Rohan as well as the resurrected Gandalf, before fighting at the Battle of Helm's Deep, whilst Merry and Pippin escape capture and meet Treebeard, the Ent and plan an attack on Isengard.

The movie was critically acclaimed, although the adaptation was more controversial than the first film. It was an enormous box-office success, earning over $900 million worldwide, outgrossing its predecessor, and is currently the 11th highest-grossing film of all time (inflation-adjusted, it is the 60th most successful film in North America). The film won two Academy Awards. The Special Extended DVD Edition was released on November 19, 2003 and is now discontinued.
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Director: Peter Jackson
Genre: Action, Adventure, Classics, Drama, Fantasy
Release Date: December 18, 2002
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Peter Jackson, Frances Walsh
DVD Release Date: August 26, 2003
Runtime: 2hrs 59min
Studio: New Line Cinema, Wingnut Films
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