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Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

November 15, 2011

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
Director: Peter Jackson
Actors: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Bernard Hill

Synopsis: Frodo and Sam are joined by Gollum on their journey to Mordor. The rest of the fellowship set about helping the people of Rohan defend a fort from Saruman’s legion of orcs.

Review: It’s somewhat baffling to find that The Two Towers is widely considered to be the ‘best’ instalment of the Lord of the Rings series. I’m guessing Lord of the Rings fanboys and devotees are applying a similarly geeky ‘lesser known’ logic as aficionados did when claiming the middle Empire Strikes Back episode as best of the Star Wars trilogy. While The Empire Strikes Back assertion is obvious, I really don’t see much to commend The Two Towers (certainly over The Fellowship of the Ring) in the LOTR saga. It really is rather stodgy and expository – filling in a lot of odious time in the overall narrative between the setting up of the ‘fellowship’ to the final showdown in Mordor. I suppose all the subplots about the kingdoms of Rohan and Gondor, and the tree-people fighting back against Saruman, must give a detail and density to the Middle Earth landscape that LOTR acolytes will delight in. Another feature of The Two Towers is its endless battle sequences, and I think their relentless inclusion actually dilutes their overall affect, because by the end of the three hours’ running time, it’s pretty obvious that none of our heroes are ever in any real visceral danger, and that a dash of Aragorn’s sword will be enough to swat aside dozens of expendable orcs (not helped by the unreality of CGI). (November 2011)

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