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January 3, 2003

My Two Towers Review

You would have to be one fanatic purist to not say that Two Towers was absolutely amazing. There were elements of the movie that I am sure that many Tolkien-purists will despise debate and argue against for a long time, but it certainly made for a great film.

The one thing that I would have liked to have seen truer to the book was Faramir. However, the way PJ did it works well as a movie. First off it visually showed us that Sauron's war engine was in motion. Second, it allows us to see the attack on Osgiliath which otherwise would not have been in the films, but was an important moment in the story. In the end, Faramir still comes across very noble as he declares his own life forfeit to send Frodo off. So while the Tolkien-purist in me would have liked the book Faramir, I enjoyed the way they did it as a film in its own way.

I think that I will never be able to say enough about how wonderful Gollum was. I was nervous when I saw the first trailer with him because it seemed a bit off, but seeing him in the movie immediately assuaged all my fears. His voice acting, and expressions were absolutely amazing.

I also thought that Treebeard was very well done. Again, I would have liked it a bit more had Treebeard been more in his role of already decided and just having to convince the ents rather than being convinced the way he was, but the Ents sacking of Isengard was spectacular.

I cannot say enough about Helms deep. Maybe the Tolkien Purists will be upset that the women and Children went there rather than to the refuge in the mountains, but I really think it worked to make the battle more personal and to really raise the stakes of the battle. That whole sequence was absolutely amazing.

I was afraid that Theoden was too young, but seeing him in his aged state was really something to behold. Again a Tolkien Purist will be upset at how Gandalf freed him of the spell, but I didn't mind. It basically conveyed the same idea in a more visual and dramatic way. It also gave PJ a chance to show that Gandalf was now Saruman's superior.

I was glad to note that Saruman didn't die, but Gandalf has yet to go to Isengard and split his stave. I hope they include that in ROTK. I can't imagine them leaving it out. It made sense to me because Ian Mckellan said on his site that Saruman had some brief camera time for ROTK, but I had forgotten about that until the movie ended. My speculation is that Saruman will be killed by Wormtoung after Saruman's stave is split. Interestingly enough, did anybody notice the tear on Wormtongue's cheek as he sees the massive army and realizes what he had done?

Another issue that Tolkien Purists were already debating was the elves in Helms Deep. I think it worked. Here's why. The film couldn't possibly have developed how Sauron was pressing the Wood elves, and how he actually attacked Lothlorien three times so it appeared like the Elves were doing absolutely nothing. So the elves showing up at Helms Deep and dying along side the men was very effective in my mind.

My final comment on what is turning out to be a long post. I was afraid that the movie might be too dark and depressing, but was very pleased with how the underlying theme of the whole movie was one of hope. The evil was darker, and the story was much grimmer, but their was a definite underlying message of hope in the film. So my grade to PJ is an enthusiastic A+ for its merit as an incredible film!!!!

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