Projections - Movie Reviews

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

A lot of new characters are introduced in the second installment of J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy fantasy.  Most of them are vicious, gruesome creatures that attack the good guys at every turn.

The one with the most screen time is Gollum, a strange looking computer generated characters who resembles an emaciated Peter Lorre.  He has a split personality, so he creeps around on all fours spouting murderous rantings one minute and the next acting as a helpful guide to the trusting Frodo.

The heroes have divided into three groups on separate journeys.  Frodo (Elijah Wood) and his loyal companion Sam (Sean Astin) are heading to Mordor to destroy the Ring.  Fellow Hobbits Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) are following another path, but get stranded in the Fangorn Forest, only to be saved by the talking and walking Treebeard.  In fact, they spend most of the film perched high up in his tree branches peering down on the goings-on below.

The last group is made up of Gimli the Dwarf (John Rhys-Davies), Legolas the Elf (Orlando Bloom) and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen).

Aragorn is advanced as a central figure as he joins Theoden (Bernard Hill) in defending his people against Saruman's (Christopher Lee) huge Urak-Hai army.  The army is supposed to number 10,000 and the computer effects are amazing in giving the impression that a horde of brutish thugs are descending on the fortress.

We also meet up with Arwen (Liv Tyler) who is still in love with Aragorn, and Ian McKellen returns as the magical Gandalf.

Whatever money was spent on this installment is right up there on the screen.  The effects are terrific, especially the creepy crawling Gollum, whose expressions are so very realistic.

Writer/Director Peter Jackson has moved the story of the Hobbits to the back-burner and concentrates on having a big action packed climax.  The scene works as it's a rip-roaring, eye-popping battle.  But, by so doing, he also loses the charm of the first installment.

Everything is bigger than life, the length of the film, the number of characters to keep track of, the number of diverse storylines, the effects that are frightening and in-your-face, and the sets that are huge and intimidating.  It just made me long for a return to one more quiet moment with the playful and gentle Hobbits.

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

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