The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Review (6.5/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

I have watched The Fellowship of the Ring four times, with the most recent time being three days ago. It is a movie I have learned to appreciate more and more after each time I watch it. The movie is flawless. It is a modern day masterpiece. So it was with great anticipation that I walked in the theatre and waited for The Two Towers to begin. My initial reaction after seeing the movie was one of slight disappointment. And judging from the silence in the theatre at the end of the movie, I would think I was not the only one feeling that way. Like Fellowship, The Two Towers is a beautiful movie to watch. But this movie disappointed on two fronts. The character development seemed to stall and the story seemed to lose the focus of its main goal - the destruction of the ring.

Firstly, I will touch on the problem I had with the characters in the movie. Gandalf, who was arguably the best character in FOTR, was barely in the movie and the times when he was, he was not the same Gandalf. I realize that the guy had just fallen down a fiery pit and fought a pissed off dragon, and he is no longer Gandalf the Grey but he is now Gandalf the White, but regardless, he did not have the same impact in The Two Towers as he did in FOTR. As for some of the other characters, including Frodo, Samwise, Aragorn, Legolas, Saruman, these guys were simply outstanding in FOTR, but perhaps because the Fellowship was broken and there were too many stories going on at once, so there was no main focus on any of the characters, these guys did not have the impact in The Two Towers like they did in Fellowship. Aragorn and Legolas were still strong, interesting characters but they did not seem to grow in this movie. It was nice seeing Saruman sweat it a little near the end of the movie, but once again, he was almost non-existent in the big scheme of things. And Gimli, well, he seemed to become a character that we could rely on to deliver punch lines. I mean in the first movie he made one remark about dwarf-tossing that was a great one-liner but in TTT he was dropping one liners left right and center. He was like one of those people, who I'm sure we all know, who says one funny line, everyone laughs, and then they won't shut the hell up. I personally know at least two people who are like that. As for the new characters in the movie, none really added anything to the story or were really given a chance to add something to the story. The King of Rohan seemed confused and indecisive. Faramir and Wormtongue had potential but were barely used. The talking trees were used too much and did not add a whole lot until the very end of the movie. Gollum was a great work of CGI and probably the most developed character in the entire movie but was unable to carry the movie like a Gandalf or an Aragorn are capable of doing. Overall, I just have to say that while FOTR was largely a character-driven movie, the characters in TTT either were not given a chance or were unable to have a significant impact on the entire movie.

As for the story-telling aspect of TTT, like I said earlier, the movie seemed to lose its focus on what I feel is the main story - the destruction of the ring. In fact, the ring was barely mentioned in the movie and while in FOTR, there was always a lingering uneasiness about the ring, the impact of the ring in The Two Towers was not there. Instead, TTT chose to focus on war and fighting. The gathering of Saruman's massive army of warriors and the final battle at Helm's Deep took up much of the movie. Although it was a great battle, the battle took away the magic, the fantasy, the emotion that was so predominant in FOTR. And in the end this lack of magic and lack of emotion were disappointing to this fan of LOTR.

Despite it's shortcomings, The Two Towers is a must see. If you enjoyed The Fellowship of the Ring and plan on seeing The Return of the King, you pretty much have no choice. Just do not go into this movie expecting to see a better movie than the original installment because it is not going to happen. Although The Two Towers is an absolute joy to watch and probably the movie event of the year, in comparison to what we were treated to one year ago, it is a disappointment. Let's hope the Return of the King brings joy to our lives one year from now.

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