Volume 5, Issue 2 University of Houston
'Two Towers' builds toward series'
By Ray Hafner
About an hour into the new Lord of The Rings movie, The Two Towers, just as Pippin Took and Merry Brandybuck are meeting up with Treebeard, it dawned upon this reviewer that this was not a new movie at all. If it was, it would merit a new review, but this was just one gigantic nine-hour movie with five hours to go.
And so those who were at the edge of their seats at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, salivating as Frodo and Samwise headed off for Mordor, will no doubt finish this movie in the same position, scarcely able to wait a year for the final chapter.
In the second installment of the Lord of the Rings series, The Two Towers, Viggo Mortensen and Liv Tyler reprise their roles as Aragorn and Arwen, respectively.
For those less-than-fanatic who were starting to doze during the first film, there's more naptime here.
Folks who missed the first one had better make a dash to the video store because coming in the middle of this 540-minute saga is like watching Bambi without knowing his mother died. Imagine a screening of It's a Wonderful Life without knowing Clarence is an angel or all the misery George has been through.
And for a reviewer to write a review without seeing the end of this saga is like writing on The Empire Strikes Back having gone to the restroom as Darth Vader let slip an important paternal secret.
The first film was easy to review because everything was new and exciting. The third film will be easy to write a piece on because it'll wrap up the whole series and can encompass ideas from all three flicks.
The second film has nothing new, although it is exciting, and involves all the same characters facing all the same challenges. The acting is the same as in the first one because the entire trilogy was filmed in one shoot.
The notable exception here is Elijah Wood as Frodo, who begins to deal with the ring's dark pull, toying with it the same way Bilbo and Gollum did. Gollum is also a fantastic computer-generated creation who interacts with an ease that ought to make live actors nervous.
The big hype on this film is the 45-minute battle scene at the end that pits a handful of humans and elves against 10,000 Orcs and Uruk-hai. The hype is well-deserved and provides a lesson on medieval warfare that would make Charlemagne take notice.
The Two Towers title now takes on an entirely new meaning in the context of world events. The plot is about a group of simple-living creatures threatened by a foreign power, who build enormous armies with top-of-the-line technology and genetic engineering so that it can invade "Middle-Earth" and take all its resources. To combat such a fantastic foe, the Middle-Earthians must covertly attack, using the power's technology against it and hope to destroy the two towers, symbols of the evil's strength.
Of course, the books were written nearly 80 years ago and so there's no way it could really relate. Right?
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