The Two Towers

December 30th, 2002 § 2 comments

My wife and I managed to see the movie. Except for a one-hour wait and a certain amount of trouble to find seats, we had no problem at all. After that, we experienced three uninterrupted hours of epic scenes and imagery. My opinion? Well, I will forever love and hate The Two Towers.

With respect to scenery and general Oscar-worthiness, the movie is quite impressive. In almost each of the 179 minutes, we were shown incredible beautiful locations, cool special effects, watched good acting, and had fun.

On the other hand, so many liberties were taken with the story that the Professor is probably turning around his grave in this very moment. Worst of all, most modification had no discernible reason for being. In almost every part the movie differs from the books, the original storyline would obviously do better without affecting the movie length.

I liked:

Special effects:
The battle scenes were incredible. The orc army is beyond description. It’s almost impossible to believe it’s computer-generated. The ents simply rock! They’re exactly like I imagined when reading the books, right to their voices. The “oliphants” and Nazgûl mounts were quite cool, too.
Landscapes:
They’re impressive. The last scene in the movie, showing Mordor, with Barad-Dûr and Orodruin visible at the same time, will remain in my memory for a long time.
Gollum:
Gollum is an all-time favorite of mine when reading Tolkien. I can’t quite decide whether I hate him or pity him. He was perfectly portrayed in the movie, specially regarding his inner struggle.
New characters:
I liked Éomer, Éowyn, Théoden, and Gríma. Good acting on the part of all actors, especially by Miranda Otto. I can’t wait to see her battle with the chief Nazgûl in the next movie.
The fantastic four:
Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli are better developed. The scene of Legolas hopping onto the horse was one of the best in the movie — very elvish.

I hated:

The Ent Moot:
It was simply ridiculous. It made the ents look like coward, lazy and uninterested beings. It also seemed an excuse for Pippin’s redemption after so many blunders. I also missed some emphasis on the relationship between Treebeard and the forest, and the ents’ oldness.
Frodo and the Nazgûl:
Just a big “Huh?”
Faramir as a villain:
Unbelievable! Although he looks and acts a lot like Boromir, they couldn’t have deviated more from the books. What was that about going to Gondor, too!?
A comic Gimli:
I don’t know who had the bad idea of turning Gimli into a comic relief. It may be kind of fun but surely takes some of the character’s magic away.
Elves on Helm’s Deep:
Besides not happening in the books, there was some contradictions in the elvish characterization: Haldir is supposed to be from Lothlórien, but comes on Elrond’s orders and the elves are not quite as good as Legolas on handling bows.
Éowyn, Aragorn and Arwen:
A love triangle? I won’t even comment it.
Miscellany:
Merry and Pippin do not meet with Gandalf in Fangorn. Also, the battle is a small part of the book, but is given too much weight in the movie. Finally, where is the rest of the book?

From the lists above, it’s easy to see why I loved and hated the movie. Overall, it was worth the wait. I will see it again before it leaves the big screen, and I hope the next movie does better. But I guess I will try to avoid movies based on books I have read — especially when I like the books.

§ 2 Responses to The Two Towers"

  • Jeff says:

    I agree with every point in your love/hate review and will add a couple of my own to the Hate side:
    * Merry and Pippin NOT drinking from the forest water that would cause their growth spurt. I kept waiting for it, it would have taken less than a minute to establish; didn’t happen.
    * Sean Astin’s bun-cringeing speech at the end. My son said it reminded him of the moralizing in an “ABC After-School Special.”
    * The Elvish father-daughter conflict. Tolkien fans — remember them, Peter? — don’t care if Hugo Weaving and Liv Tyler needed something to do in the movie.

    I’ve read in interviews that “Two Towers” was the movie Jackson took the most liberties with. Let’s hope he redeems himself in the third installment.

  • Ronaldo says:

    I agree with your points, and hope that the next movie is really better — especially considering it will have to depict some of the events that should have been in this second movie.

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