The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers


The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers review


Peter Jackson's extraordinary telling of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings continues with the release of The Two Towers, a film that manages to overcome its own version of middle child syndrome. Sandwiched between The Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the King, The Two Towers neither begins the story nor ends it. It has to somehow forward the larger plot while maintaining its own sense of identity, and Jackson manages this by centering the story around the massive siege of Helm's Deep. Jackson takes the gutsy move of beginning the film without any recap of what happened before. The drawback is that for anyone who did not see the first film, they will be lost amidst this fully realized world. The benefit is that people who salivated over this film for a year can immediately begin their enjoyment.

There is a lot of variation from the book to the novel, with the largest being Jackson's decision to switch between stories instead of focusing on the men first and hobbits second. All of the changes retain the spirit of the novel, and all add to the amazing epic scope of the film. It is this grand scale that makes the film so enjoyable. While massive things are happening across a world, the viewer can see how a small group of people is trying to change things, and they are making a difference. Jackson favors long, sweeping shots of his characters and the beautiful vistas of New Zealand, which seems to have every climate imaginable to man. There are a number of principal CGI characters that more real than computer-generated, not to mention the thousands of combatants in the end battle, which was a massive undertaking to film. The finished product is breathtaking in its sheer massiveness and complexity. It all boils down to imagination. Jackson is somebody who has the imagination necessary to take something like this from his mind and translate it on film without dumbing it down. He clearly loves the source material, and makes every effort to ensure that what ends up on film meets his high expectations.

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