By Marc S. Sanders
Peter Jackson’s second installment film adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings trilogy is The Two Towers. The captivating fantasy themes that audiences discovered in the first film continues.
Battle scenes with Orc armies are well edited and staged perfectly in digital settings. The film’s ending with a long, drawn-out battle located at the stone castle Helms Deep is stunning, full of heroic actions executed by favorite characters like Legolas the Elf (Orlando Bloom), Gimli the Dwarf (John Rhys-Davis) and especially Aragorn, destined to be King (Viggo Mortensen).
The Two Towers is almost marvelous with the exception of an overstayed welcome of the Ents – life size talking trees. Treebeard is the main Ent character, where the Hobbits Merry and Pippin take shelter by sitting on his branches. The effects of the Ents work. When the film returns to this storyline however, the narrative drags and the audience suffers. Treebeard converses in his own speak with the other Ents, the Hobbits ask “well?” and it’s supposed to be amusing that all they said was good morning. It’s not amusing. It’s boring.
The big centerpiece of the film belongs to Andy Serkis doing his full body animated effect to bring the untrustworthy, dual personality Gollum/Sméagol to life. Serkis should have received an Oscar nomination as he piggy backs on the continuous journey that Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) takes with the ring bearer Frodo (Elijah Wood). Gollum can’t resist what he once owned for himself-the “precious” Ring. Frodo’s good instincts insist upon not harming Gollum or Sméagol while Sam has strong reservations.
Jackson’s second film offers up a heightened urgency on all fronts. He’s good at showing the weight of the ring upon the psyche of Frodo and Gollum and he leaves time for other stories where Saruman’s (Christopher Lee) army conquers more lands-allegorical to the period of time when Tolkien wrote his novels following Nazi occupation within Europe.
Jackson is a completist and no stone is left unturned. A large portion of the film is appreciated even when you consider that you can take a bathroom break anytime Treebeard shows up.