January 4, 2003
Against the crushing tide of the many who viewed the Two Towers and thought it fantastic, I must voice my opinion to the contrary. For a year I had waited for the release of the TT, anticipating with fear but inwardly hoping that the best moments of the book would be just as magnificent on the big screen. Alas, my fears came true and what I had hoped to be, will not now or ever come to pass. The movie TT missed several glorious moments from the book by altering the story too much. I understand that it is a movie and not the book. And they must make it captivating so people will return next year to view the third movie and see how all of this turns out. But the best moments of the book need not have been altered. They would have fit in just as nicely if not better than what PJ put on screen.
The first of these lost moments was the meeting of the three hunters and the Riders of Rohan. In the book the quarrel between Eomer and Gimli begins in that encounter and continues until the end of the ROTK. And it was that near clash of arms between Eomer and Gimli that showed how much Gimli loved the lady Galadriel when the horsemaster spoke ill of her. And it also showed how close Legolas had grown to the dwarf when he stood by his side. And the ensuing intervention of Aragorn which led him to reveal who he really is for the first time outside of Rivendell. It was indeed a glorious moment when he drew the sword Anduril, declared himself as Isildur's heir, and bade Eomer to choose between aiding him or not. When Eomer chose to aid him by lending them three of their horses, it started the friendship of he and the future King of Gondor that grows stronger at Edoras, the battle of Helmsdeep, and especially upon the Pelennor fields where they meet upon the battlefield "Though all the hosts of Mordor lay between them". But the scene of that first encounter was changed and was not as significant as it should have been. The bond of friendship that began then was all but ignored, as was the quarrel over Galadriel with Gimli.
Second of these lost moments was the arrival of Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli and Gandalf at Meduseld. Why was it necessary to portray Theoden as being possessed by Saruman? The scene was overdone and spoiled what was truly a great moment in the book.
The banishment of Eomer by Wormtongue was absurd. If Eomer had two thousand loyal warriors, why didn't he and his men kill Grima or force him out of Edoras? Theoden appeared to be in no condition to say or do anything on his own. Why would men loyal to the King allow Grima and his henchmen to get near the King? And what the hell was the King'son Theodred doing before he was killed in the Westfold. surely he was aware of his Father's condition? If not, why was he not told?
As for the battle of Helmsdeep, one of the best moments is when Aragorn stands upon the wall above the gate and warns the invaders to flee before the rising of the sun "for no one knows what the dawn of a new day shall bring". He then declares that no enemy yet has taken the Hornburg. Soon after that speech, he and King Theoden ride forth, leading one last charge against the army of Isengard. But in the movie the speech was not given and the glory of the moment was missed. The changing of Aragorn from ranger to majestic King of Gondor through a series of key moments has been ignored.
Anyway, to me, the best moments of the book were not portrayed in the movie and because of this, I will not endorse this film as anything better than just an okay movie.