Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Peter Jackson, 2002) Review

Right then, let's continue this fantastic fantasy story. What did we cover last time? That The Fellowship of the Ring is an immersive film with some fantastic characters and settings that blew my mind. I've only watched these films once...and that was last week. I didn't think that Peter Jackson could top his incredible film. Did he? Let's find out.

Where we left off, Boromir (Sean Bean) and Gandalf (Ian McKellen) were killed, Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) were kidnapped, Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) went on to Mordor by themselves and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) have gone on to warn people of Sauron and Saruman's (Christopher Lee) oncoming forces. This film takes place a second later as Pippin and Merry find themselves being taken away by an Orc army. Just as they manage to escape, they are saved by a living tree known as Treebeard (John Rhys-Davies) who isn't sure whether he can trust the Hobbits due to them being with the Orcs. Meanwhile, as Aragorn, Legolas and  Gimli are met with a familiar face: Gandalf has returned having defeated the Balrog. The four join up once more and ride to Rohan where the must warn of Sauron's army...but Saruman has extra tricks up his sleeve. Lastly, Frodo and Sam begin to lose track of their path and are met with the presence of Gollum (Andy Serkis) who claims he knows the way to Mordor. Frodo and a reluctant Sam agree to follow Gollum and begin the last stretch to Mordor.

As you can tell, alot happens in this film. I barley scratched the surface of what is included in this film but I can say but I can confirm that this film has one of the best battle scenes in film history. The characters in this film are even more developed this time such as Legolas and Gimli having a friendly rivalry and Aragorn having a love interest (which I believe was briefly mentioned in the first film). The best introduction has to be Gollum who only briefly appeared in the first film but makes a proper debut in this one. Serkis did a fantastic job of not only making Gollum menacing but also sympathetic and you felt kind of bad when bad things happened to him. The film does a good job of conveying Gollum's two sides constantly fighting each other. I can see why he's one of the most remembered characters in the series.

The only problem I had with the first film was that it took a bit too long to really get going but not this time. There's great pacing which is helped by a balanced amount of tense, quiet moments and grand, epic action scenes. You are rooting for your heroes for the entirety of the film (which is even longer than the first so get comfortable) because they may come up against some great obstacles yet you know they'll prevail. It's as immersive as the first and really is a fantastic fantasy film. You can't call your self a fantasy fan until you've seen these films.

The Two Towers is a better film than the first because it fixes the problems I had with the first and introduces some great characters and locations. Personally it's my favourite of the trilogy (which doesn't mean I think it's the best) and is a perfect set up for the finale of the trilogy. Well, I guess it's about time for the return of a certain monarch...a King if you will.

An improved sequel that will keep you satisfied until the grand finale.

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