The Lord of
The Two Towers
Released December 19, 2002
Wood, Ian Mckellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd,
Liv Tyler, John Rhys-Davies, Dominic Monaghan, Christopher
Lee, Miranda Otto, Brad Dourif, Karl Urban, Cate Blanchett,
Director: Peter Jackson
PG-13 for epic battle sequences and scary images
Reviewed by Peter Veugelaers © 2002
- See it or die!
The essence of "The Lord of the
Rings" phenomenon is shrouded in a cloud of
commercialism and hype, but J.R.R Tolkein’s novels,
written mid-way through last century, still hits a central
nerve in the new millennium, despite having ideas that are
Old Testament in nature.
Tolkien’s myth is universally
applicable: a tale of good verses evil where the only way to
secure triumph over adversity is through a saviour-figure,
tempted to the same evil he is meant to help obliterate.
Some American commentators note the
similarities the story has to contemporary problems with
Iraq, yet this is another extrapolation, with films like Gladiator
supposedly doing similar justice to social commentary.
However, this is of course, not the thrust of the
spectacular imaginative odyssey Tolkien portrays.
What stands out in "The Two
Towers", the second instalment of the series, is the
magnitude of its story telling, whether it is meant to be
commercial fodder or social comment.
It is better than the first instalment, The
Fellowship of the Ring, but its enormous length, more
noticeable because of the lagging pace towards the end,
hinders both films. "The Two Towers" does better,
though, in regards to pace and timing and is more complex
This sequel is essentially about when the
forces of evil collaborate to cast their dominance over the
mythical Middle Earth where the heroes – led by wizard
Gandalf and Aragorn – must defend the race of men from the
luring clutches of Sauraman and Sauron, while Fordo Baggins
continues on his journey to rid the ring – coveted by
Sauraman to use in his oppression - to the fiery pits of
Star Wars could learn from The Two
Tower’s visual sense, sense of gravity and importance, and
complexity of character, considering the former films had
"The Two Towers" comes together
convincingly as an involving fantasy: it makes for true epic
filmmaking, helmed super-ably by Peter Jackson, who is
supported by superb editing and cinematography.
New characters are introduced,
excellently performed by the new comers, particularly Brad
Dourif (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest) as the
creepy Wormtongue, and Bernard Hill as the King of Rohan.
There is more action (some scenes are great, others, like
the battle at Helm’s Deep, is overrated) and there is more
melodrama, which reflects Jackson’s darker sensibilities
as seen in his Heavenly Creatures.
Ambiguous, sublime, a mighty visual
experience, and even spiritually enlightening and thought
provoking – yet, "The Two Towers" feels as if
there is something missing by film’s end, maybe because we
have just witnessed a part of a whole story, and that it was
really only about the birth pangs and consequences of a
battle, and you need to wait another year for its ongoing
expansion, and I for one am no fan for it to really matter.
"The Two Towers" accentuate the
visual experience, and it underlines the supernatural
dimension in a fantasy discourse with all that special
effects can do to enliven that. It is interesting how films
have got bigger with the technology and are making plenty of
money at the box office - maybe this is a lamentation about
how we tend to need spectacles to enchant us, or that
blockbusters are getting the right mix in communicating with
the fears and desires of audiences. "The Two
Towers" is not perfect, but has the right stuff.