The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

9/10

Peter Jackson follows up his first middle-earth adventure with The Two Towers, beginning where the last left off: Mary and Pippin are separated from the pack, and so are Sam and Frodo. Legolas, Aragorn, and Gimli must track down the lost hobbits after the chaotic battle with the Orcs, and insure that Frodo makes it to his destination. The powerful view of the New Zealand landscape coupled with the spellbinding performances by all the character actors, Lord of the Rings, The Two towers, does not disappoint.

What makes The Two Towers riveting, as in all the movies but especially in this one, is the point of view. The world spans across valleys, and we see a big set of different characters in different conflicts. The Gollum-Sam conflict happens as Frodo quests towards the destruction of the ring, which bears heavy on him by now, and Sam desperately feels at a loss; Gollum, he believes, will murder them in their sleep. All he wants is the ring, Sam thinks. And ultimately, being without a ring, he is the most clear-headed and trustworthy.

In a sense, The Two Towers is an introduction to the vast world of Tolkien, where the first one established plot and character,  and dealt little with creatures. In this film, their is an epic fight with horses and Wargs, spotted wolf-like carnivores with big fangs, where they scatter across a mountainside attacking the men on horse, including Gimli, Aragorn, and Legolas. Then their is the massive elephants cluttered with bow-wielding minions of Sarumon, and the walking trees that Mary and Pippin befriend wisely. It is a truly epic feat of CGI effects, and in fact creates a human tone to a wooden tree.

The final battle is one of the greatest in cinema: Mixed with signature Orc sound-effects and spanning yards of black Orc persons, it is an amazingly realistic attack on a castle fort. The Orcs rise ladders to climb and raid onto the castle-top, and others use a battery to ram in the main doors of the castle, where women and children dwell. How these beasts come to be strategic is unexplained, and we can only assume that a thing so ugly is just bred to think ugly too.

The film is a beautiful, often emotionally-wrenching epic and a classic if not greatest fantasy film. With creatures, atmosphere, a strong cast of characters, and one more film to conclude it, “Lord of the Rings” is bound to be among legends.

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