The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
- Elijah Wood as Frodo
- Ian McKellen as Gandalf
- Sean Astin as Samwise “Sam” Gamgee
- Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn
- Andy Serkis as Gollum
- Liv Tyler as Arwen
- Billy Boyd as Pippin
- Dominic Monaghan as Merry
- Miranda Otto as Éowyn
- Orlando Bloom as Legolas
- David Wenham as Faramir
- John Rhys-Davies as Gimli
- Billy Boyd as Pippin
- Dominic Monaghan as Merry
- Bernard Hill as Théoden
- Cate Blanchett as Galadriel
- Christopher Lee as Saruman
- Hugo Weaving as Elrond
- Karl Urban as Éomer
- Brad Dourif as Gríma Wormtongue
Now for the second entry into my Lord of the Rings marathon. Picking up where Fellowship of the Ring left off, The Two Towers is a superb continuation to this engaging trilogy that balances great characters, mythology and some of the best battle scenes ever put on film. Darker than its predecessor, Two Towers is just as good as the first and introduces us to more engaging characters who populate the lands of Middle Earth. If this doesn’t get you excited for the final concluding entry in the trilogy, I don’t know what will.
With the Fellowship now fractured and Gandalf sacrificing himself in the mines, the various factions that remain continue travelling. In one segment, Frodo and Sam continue the perilous journey to destroy the evil ring and are joined by Gollum, the ring’s former owner whose life was tortured by his desire to the ring and the inability to resist taking it. Gollum knows the way to Mordor, but Sam distrusts him and warns Frodo about what Gollum may do. In another strand; Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas travel to Rohan which is about to come under attack from the forces of Sauron. Along the way, they encounter an old ally. A now reborn and stronger Gandalf who aids them in bringing the king of Rohan, Théoden out from under the spell cast by Gríma Wormtongue, one of Saruman the dark wizard’s workers. And in the other segment, Merry and Pippin flee after being captured by orcs into the forest where Treebeard, an ent who listens to them and journey’s on. Busting apart the common idea that the middle film of a series is the weakest, The Two Towers contains gorgeous locations, breathtaking scope and the all round magical feeling of a fantasy quest you will never want to leave.
Peter Jackson again fashions a fantasy epic of staggering proportions with this entry. Having three separate story strands could have been a risky move, but in this case it pays off handsomely as we watch not just one journey, but three. This entry also focuses more on Aragorn as a character and his emergence as a skilled warrior who may finally have to reclaim his right to the throne in the future. As is to be expected from an epic like this, the locations are spectacularly captured in long panning shots as mountains, dales and volcanos come into view.You watch scenes like this and really understand the unparalleled power and splendour that Jackson has brought to the screen. Peter Jackson handsomely combines action with an emotionally involving hero’s journey to overcome the forces of evil whilst battling against the many foes along the way. The Battle at Helm’s Deep is in my book one of the best battle sequences recorded on film, the sheer scope and meticulous craft on display is so mesmerizing as Aragorn leads men against the orcs and other forces of darkness.
Once again, the vast ensemble cast delivers, with newer additions adding impact along the way. Elijah Wood successfully continues his role as Frodo, here showing the burden that has been put on him and how he attempts to remain resilient to the dominating force of the ring. Ian McKellen shines as the resurrected Gandalf, who is as wise and powerful as he ever was. The scene when he appears to Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas in a vast array of light is a stunning sight to behold. Sam Astin continues to impress as loyal Sam, in this film it is Sam who really anchors it and functions as the narrative’s heart as we watch his friendship tested but never loses faith in his friend. Viggo Mortensen is given more of a fleshed out character here, this further adds to the interesting dimensions of his character of Aragorn. He is strong, hopeful and above all a brave character, embodied by Mortensen with outstanding skill.
It is Andy Serkis who makes the biggest impact in the film. His fluid and strange movements combined with amazing CGI create the character of Gollum, the one who once owned the ring that has poisoned his mind forever. Gollum is an interesting character in that sometimes you feel utter revulsion for him, whereas on the other hand he is sympathetic as you see how the powerful ring of the title has shattered his sanity. Liv Tyler continues her luminous portrayal of Arwen, Aragorn’s elf lover who has now left her immortality much to the chagrin of her father. There is a beautiful scene in which Elrond predicts a melancholy for her and Arwen begins to cry. Instead of giving up on her love she replies “There is still hope” in a sincere and emotion filled voice, as the tears run down her pale face. Miranda Otto is beautiful and strong as the king’s niece Éowyn, who falls for Aragorn along the way. David Wenham plays Faramir, brother of the late Boromir, whose path crosses with Frodo’s. Orlando Bloom and John Rhys-Davies are on form as Legolas and Gimli, their characters adding a certain amount of banter to the proceedings. Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan are as good as before as Pippin and Merry, who evade capture by hiding in the woods. Bernard Hill is suitably imperial as Théoden, the king given his life back by Gandalf after being a zombie for Sauron. In a small but memorable role, Cate Blanchett reappears as the wise Galadriel, who predicts what may happen if the war comes into fruition. Christopher Lee is villainy personified as the fallen Saruman, now heading a war against mankind. Hugo Weaving is stately and wise as the elf lord Elrond, while Karl Urban is a success as the exiled heir and Brad Dourif a slimy presence as a force of evil.
A stunningly mounted second entry into an exciting and emotionally involving saga, The Two Towers is not to be missed by anyone.