|Average Customer Review: ( 2396 customer reviews )
Write an online review and share your thoughts with other customers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
121 of 125 found the following review helpful:
Sam Cable, what are you talking about? Oct 29, 2003
No movie protrayal can match a good book, but Jackson's attempt is the best ever effort in the history of movies. His team's enormous amount of research, attention to detail and love of the original literary work comes through. Yes, some plot lines are altered in minor ways to keep the off-screen characters part of the movie as it still has to serve an audience that didn't read the books, but overall anyone must admire their work. Yes, all of us Tolkien fanatics would love to see a movie of 139 hours in length that shows every scene and includes every line of dialog from the books, including Tom Bombadil and the everything else, exactly as written, but that obviously isn't going to happen.
Sam - please read the books again as many of your review details are wrong. Gollum does have an internal struggle of Smeagol vs. Gollum, it's right in the book. It is pretty obvious in the movie that Sam is disgusted by Gollum and Frodo is more pitying him, same as the book. There is the conflict between Arwen and Elrond about her relationship with Aragorn and her struggle with remaining elfen and going West vs. staying with Aragorn. But it is subplot not detailed in the books as much, but Jackson is trying to flesh out characters. Aragorn does have doubts and struggles about coming out of hiding to rise to the thrown, he sets this up more in movie #2 for movie #3 but it is there in the books. Saruman does have control over nameless character "A" which nameless "B" breaks with a struggle and in the movie he has to make it obvious (over-do-it) what is going on or movie-goers would go "what the heck?" since they aren't reading the book. Saruman does rip down all the trees and into forest which P-O's the Ents, moving them into action, which WAS inspired by Tolkien's dislike of the industrial age (more to come in movie #3 I'm sure as in the books). There are warg-riding (i.e. big rats) orcs (even back in the Hobbit books) - READ THE BOOKS AGAIN!!!
But some variations are needed for a movie version for the general public; I'll agree with you that all were not needed _FOR_US_, but there is the Joe Blow ticket buyer he is trying to entertain as well, to actually make money on this colossal project (which was completed, by the way, before movie #1 came out and was still a gamble then; hindsight only shows he could have gotten away with "less", perhaps).
It's easy to tear down pick on every detail especially when movies are based on books. But this has to be (with the others in the series) some of the best movies ever made, and clearly the best attempt to mirror books on the screen; especially with the fantasy setting and special effects requirements. "To Kill a Mockingbird" is another great adaption, but it's not so hard to find a small Southern town and a guy named "Boo" as it is to create Balrogs, Orcs, Rings of Power and the Eye that Never Sleeps. Give him a break.
150 of 164 found the following review helpful:
A New Standard In Filmmaking Excellence Dec 25, 2002
By Peter V. Giansante
It's hard to know where to begin in articulating a coherent summary of so spectacular an epic as Peter Jackson's rendering of Tolkein's masterpiece. Perhaps the most incisive comment I can make is that, having been a fan of "The Lord of the Rings" since I first read the trilogy nearly 35 years ago, I'm impressed by Jackson's fidelity to the spirit of the original literary work.
"The Two Towers" is a very different kind of film than its predecessor. Don't expect the intimacy of "The Fellowship of the Ring"; the evolution of the story precludes it. The dissolution of the Fellowship scattered the principal characters of the first film into three distinct sub-plots: Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd), whose capture by the Uruk-Hai takes them into Fangorn Forest and their ultimate influence on the fate of Saruman (Christopher Lee); Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), who re-unite with a resurrected Gandalf (Ian McKellan) in the climactic battle of Helm's Deep; and Frodo (Elijah Wood) & Sam (Sean Astin), who continue their quest to destroy the Ring at Orodruin (ably played by Mount Doom) in Mordor. That's a lot of threads to weave into the overall tapestry of the story, and it necessarily calls for some fairly abrupt and rapid scene changes. The action is so fast-paced that you will barely have time to catch your breath.
One of the most personally meaningful aspects of the film -- and so far, it has been true of both "The Fellowship of the Ring" and "The Two Towers" -- is Jackson's uncompromising adherence to Tolkein's vision of the timelessness of the story itself. The author was determined NOT to write a story that served as an allegory for any of the current events of his time, but rather hoped to address much broader issues that are rooted in the fundamentals of human nature. In so doing, the trilogy has remained relevant to the human condition in a way that transcends nationalities, ethnicities, and the various idiosyncratic cultural zeitgeists of any of the historical periods it has spanned. I find real personal relevance in Aragorn's struggle with his own destiny. It's not a predetermined kind of destiny, as in "fate", but rather the self-determined destiny of one who follows his heart and his own integrity. Ditto for Eowyn (Miranda Otto), whose struggle to fulfill her desire for valor in the service of good is established in "The Two Towers", and will culminate in the final installment, "The Return of the King".
But Jackson's triumph runs much deeper than his artistry in character development; many great films share that characteristic. It is his mastery in the use of surpassing technological innovation as an aid in the storytelling rather than as an end in itself that raises the bar for all subsequent films. His combination of digital, fabricated, and natural scenery in creating the world of Middle Earth is simply breathtaking. The battle scenes are terrifying without being overwhelming in their reliance on gratuitous violence or gruesome bloodshed. [I will allow my daughters (8 and 12 years of age) to watch the films, and I am probably more protective of their sensibilities than most parents I know.] And Jackson's creation of the creature Gollum (Andy Serkis) is without equal or precedent in filmmaking history. Gollum is more than simply "believable"; he is real. His role in the story is pivotal, and it was Jackson's test of fire to create an all-digital character whose range of expression and movement could carry such an important part in the story. It is a masterpiece of moviemaking art.
It will seem incomprehensible to the uninitiated that my only lament about the three-hour film is that it is too short. That's hardly a criticism, for Jackson has included everything that is relevant to the story line in setting the stage for the trilogy's climax in the third film. As a matter of practicality, the film can't exceed three hours for simple economic reasons. A longer film would mean fewer showings -- not good for the profitability of movie theatres -- or a higher price of admission, which would not be popular with moviegoers. So, the filmmaker has had to accommodate those constraints, and I believe it's a job well done.
Still, it's inevitable that one who has read the book will find discrepancies or omissions in the film, but that's not the basis of my wish that the film were longer. Rather, it's more a matter of being sorry that it was over at the end. "The Two Towers" is so captivating, so utterly engrossing a film-watching experience, that I found myself wanting more. What better statement could one make about the success of the filmmaker who wants his customers to come back for the third and final part of this epic trilogy? The consolation to those who want more will undoubtedly be in the release of the special edition DVD, which -- like its counterpart for "The Fellowship..." -- will add significant additional footage to the theatrical version.
Finally, for all the unparalleled technological excellence of the film, the most compelling reason of all to see it is the story itself. If you love great movies crafted by professionals with vision who tell a remarkable story exceedingly well, you simply must see "The Lord of the Rings". It's clear that the trilogy has found a special place in moviegoers' hearts. I saw "The Two Towers" at Edwards Cinema in Brea, California at a matinee showing on December 23, 2002, in a full-house audience of people of all ages. When the initial title "The Lord of the Rings" appeared on the screen, the audience spontaneously burst into applause. I have never seen that happen at any movie I have ever attended, and for good reason - there has never been a movie like this before.
100 of 108 found the following review helpful:
It's worth fighting for May 11, 2003
By E. A Solinas
Peter Jackson has done what could not be done. Deemed unfilmable for decades (with the terrible cartoons as an example of why), "The Lord of the Rings" took the audiences by storm when "Fellowship of the Ring" premiered in 2001. In 2002, anticipation was even higher, dread was lower -- and "Two Towers" is an outstanding continuation of the epic fantasy tale.
The movie picks up where "Fellowship" left off: Merry and Pippin have been captured by Uruk-hai, and Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are pursuing them. But they are sidetracked by an old friend: Gandalf, returned in a new form and with new powers, as Gandalf the White. He takes them to the kingdom of Rohan, whose king is bewitched by the evil Saruman. They barricade the people of Rohan in the fortress of Helm's Deep, for a final defiant stand against an army of Uruk-hai.
Sam and Frodo have left, to venture into Mordor alone so that Frodo can destroy the Ring in Mordor's Mount Doom. When the two hobbits become lost in Emyn Muil, Frodo realizes that someone is following them: Gollum, the tormented, twisted former owner of the Ring. They capture Gollum, who swears to serve "the master of the Precious." But even Gollum's shaky allegiance isn't enough for them to succeed, because the Ring has started to bend Frodo to its will.
While the first movie revolved around Frodo, the Ring and the Fellowship, here the focus widens. We get a better sense of the epic quality of the story and how it affects the whole world, not just our heroes. Gondor is crumbling, Rohan is beaten down by orcs, and even the forces of nature -- the tree-like ents -- are being attacked by Sauron and Saruman. It's nature versus the destructive machines, and the wild wrecking of Saruman's forges by these ancient tree shepherds is something to cheer for.
Elijah Wood blossoms in this film as Frodo Baggins, the little hobbit who could. In the first movie Wood played Frodo as an innocent who loses his innocence; here he takes it a step further, showing the darkness and violence that are swallowing Frodo up. Because we saw what a bright, sweet person Frodo was before, it's all the more horrible to see him starting to slide down (even attacking his best friend -- the look on Frodo's face as he comes to his senses is stunning). Sean Astin perfectly embodies Sam Gamgee -- increasingly desperate, trying to keep Frodo from going under. He serves as a reminder of what Frodo is fighting for, and Astin has perhaps the most powerful lines of the film, near the end: "But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer." These simply-worded lines will bring tears to your eyes.
But if Frodo is just starting to be addicted, Gollum is a junkie. Even if Andy Serkis doesn't appear in one frame in the entire movie, his motions and voice are heard and seen behind an exquisitely detailed CGI puppet. This is no Jar Jar or Dobby -- Gollum is detailed down to the last hair and wrinkle, believable in his appearance (I actually forgot he was animated for most of the movie), and has a multifaceted personality that reflects his own inner struggle -- Smeagol and Gollum, good and evil. The scene where Gollum's two halves argue is too amazing for words.
The other supporting actors shine almost as brightly. Viggo Mortensen turns his reluctant hero Aragorn into a leader and a warrior. Ian McKellen manages to make Gandalf more stately and majestic, yet keeps that little grandfatherly twinkle. John Rhys-Davies provides a bit of comedy as Gimli, mostly related to Gimli's stature, but never loses his dignity; Orlando Bloom is outstanding as ethereal elf archer Legolas once again. Liv Tyler captures Arwen's fear of mortality and loneliness. Billy Boyd's Pippin and Dominic Monaghan's Merry, the well-meaning goofballs of "Fellowship," are now forced to make their own decisions. And new cast members Miranda Otto and Bernard Hill also shine as the strong-willed Eowyn and tough old king Theoden, in roles that will bloom further in the third film.
Peter Jackson (who makes a few cameos) once again outdoes himself with camerawork and direction. His cameras as like living things: they swoop, dive, pull back for outstanding combat shots and then zoom in for exquisite close-ups. The battle scenes are dark, bloody, explosive, and full of chaos; only near the finale does any hint of glory shine through. He adds little human touches (the family split up by the war) that give a glimpse of what the non-heroic, ordinary people are suffering.
Of course "Two Towers" isn't as good as the book. Few movies are. But taken purely as a cinematic experience, and an adaptation, "Two Towers" is virtually without peer. Epic, majestic, action-packed and brimming with pathos, this is a treasure. And they say "Return of the King" will be the best of all...
106 of 118 found the following review helpful:
Arwen's love story was close to Tolkien's heart Nov 09, 2003
By John Thomson
I give LOTR The Two Towers five stars. It is among the best movies ever made. And those Tolkien purists who complain about the differences between the books and the movies don't understand that the love story of Arwen and Aragorn was really close to Tolkien's heart.
The love story of Arwen and Aragorn is not found in the LOTR story itself, although it is found in an Appendix in Vol 3 ROTK, and is also found in Tolkien's Silmarillion. And so we know that the story is based on the love story of Beren (mortal man) and Luthien (immortal elf-maiden). In the movie FOTR (extended version), Aragorn as much as tells us this himself, when he sings the song about Beren and Luthien while he leads the hobbits in the wilderness on their way to Weathertop.
The love story of Beren and Luthien was important to Tolkien. After the Hobbit was a smashing success in 1937, the publisher asked Tolkien if he had any more material to be published. Tolkien gave him the story of Beren and Luthien, as part of the Silmarillion. The publisher declined to publish this story, preferring instead to print a sequel to the Hobbit. As we all know, this sequel is LOTR...
And here's the reason why the story of Beren and Luthien was so important to Tolkien. Beren is Tolkien himself, and Luthien is Edith Mary, the sweetheart of Tolkien's youth, whom he married in 1916, and faithfully adored until her death in 1971, two years before Tolkien himself died. You can see the inscription on their tombstone in the Wolvercote Cemetery in the northern suburbs of Oxford, UK ([...]
When Tolkien wrote that Luthien was the fairest elf that ever lived, he was writing about his wife. And when Peter Jackson decided that his movies should showcase the themes that Tolkien really cared about, he knew what he was doing when he included the love story of Arwen and Aragorn.
31 of 33 found the following review helpful:
Compared With Theatrical Release Nov 22, 2003
By Sara E. Davies
The extended version of The Two Towers is richer, flows more smoothly, makes more sense, fills in the blanks on missing motives of a number of characters, most notably Faramir and Eowyn, adds some important details about Aragorn. It provides more depth, background information, humor, and overall character development. Though many of the changes are small, they affected the way I interpreted scenes from the theatrical release, put a slightly different spin on things, making for a fuller experience. Which is not to say the theatrical release didn't hold together well - but the extended version is just a better film.
I'd like to add that I notice a number of people have commented on the disappointing editing done in the theatrical release - to be fair to Jackson, et al, I would say: Just remember the theatres make their money by having multiple shows. They probably limited the length of the film to get more showings in per day. It would take planning for an intermission and a greater commitment by theatres to fit in what is essentially a four-hour movie. I don't think that's intentional "dumbing down" for the audience, it is just a business decision a lot of us would rather they didn't have to make.
See all 2396 customer reviews on Amazon.com