The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers joins that coveted list of superb sequels. It is a film that takes the great things achieved by The Fellowship of the Ring and builds on that. Indeed, The Two Towers achieves what all sequels within a trilogy aspire to by being an excellent midway point that does enough to keep viewers waiting for the final film.
Directed once again by the magnificent Peter Jackson, The Two Towers is the second film in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, based on J.R.R. Tolkien's book of the same name. As with The Fellowship of the Ring, the film is adapted to the screen by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens with the addition of Stephen Sinclair.
The second film continues to follow Frodo and Sam's journey to destroy the One Ring while accompanied by the suspicious character Gollum. In the meantime, the broken-up fellowship faces a challenging battle with the dark powers of Mordor.
One of the most unique aspects of The Two Towers is the acting showcase by Andy Serkis. With the help of breakthrough computer graphics technology, Serkis plays the now-iconic role of Gollum without actually being in the film in person. Instead, his motions and facial expressions are captured by computers to staggering effect. The result, Gollum is as real as the actors around him. Gollum is a tragic character whose own selfishness and greed brought his downfall. He is, to me at least, one of cinema's most memorable characters whose effect on the industry will be long-lasting.
The remaining ensemble cast continues to give excellent performances in The Two Towers. While I have focused in my The Fellowship of the Ring review on Elijah Wood (Frodo) and Ian McKellen (Gandalf), I feel the other actors deserve much credit as well, especially Sean Astin who plays Samwise Gamgee and Viggo Mortensen portraying the role of Aragorn.
Sean Astin gives his character Sam a lot of warmth and affection. Sam is Frodo's guardian and protector. He is ready to sacrifice his life to save Frodo's. Astin is radiant and infectious in this role, making him one of cinema's best sidekicks.
Viggo Mortensen, on the other hand, is the confident, brave, and fearless leader of the group. It is easily one of Mortensen's best roles as he does not overdo the acting. His scenes with Liv Tyler are especially worth remembering as they provide the trilogy's great love story.
Of course, it must be said that the directing by Peter Jackson in The Two Towers is outstanding. His technique and style is as good as that in The Fellowship of the Ring but one feels there is more refinement overall in the sequel.
He tackles the long running time with superb pacing that does not allowing boring scenes. Instead, as with the original, one wonders how the theatrical editions were once considered as the complete experience.
He also blesses us with many gorgeous shots throughout the film. Ones that are notably distinguished are those during the Battle at Helm's Deep where Mordor's army of orcs and other hedious creatures lay seige on a town shaped like a giant castle. He not only organizes a spectacular battle sequence but does so in such a beautiful way that the entire scene is almost poetic. A gifted director.
There is also the exceptional visual effects, whether live-action or computer-generated, that is given more exposure this time around. The aforementioned battle scenes are believable because of the right use of visual effects. The epic scale of the armies about to lock horns as well as the creatures taking part are some of cinema's most awe-inspiring moments.
The music composed by Howard Shore is also greatly admired. As with his work in The Two Towers's predecessor, Shore's score gives the film a feeling of majesty which fits perfectly with the entire look of the film. Shore's work in The Lord of the Rings trilogy is undoubtedly extraordinary.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is one of my all-time favorite sequels. It adds to the charm and greatness of its predecessor while also provide many unique aspects to make it standalone. The fact that Andy Serkis's Gollum is given more prominence as well as the visual effects shifting to high gear only add to the already top-notch acting, directing, and writing. It is a film I get excited about watching soon after I am down with The Fellowship of the Ring. It is a film I will never get tired of. A mark of a enduring great film.
- Elijah Wood (as Frodo Baggins)
- Andy Serkis (as Gollum)
- Ian McKellen (as Gandalf)
- Viggo Mortensen (as Aragorn)
- Sean Astin (as Samwise Gamgee)
3 hours and 55 minutes
Action / Adventure / Fantasy