Science fiction and fantasy                                            

The Two Towers (extended edition)

directed by Peter Jackson

The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers poster  
It may seem like yet another attempt to cash in. Nearly a year after The Two Towers appeared in cinemas, and several months after it was released to video and DVD, a new version comes out in time for the Christmas buying frenzy. The extended version offers an extra 42 minutes of footage, and the whole is a bum-numbing 3 hours and 34 minutes long. You're not obliged to watch it all at once, of course.

The second installment in the trilogy could have been a very dark film. Frodo and Samwise are in great danger, hungry and getting closer to Mordor, whilst the fellowship is scattered. War is coming, and everywhere there is fear of the armies of Sauron and Saruman.

The relationship between Gimli and Legolas is played for all its comic potential. The score reflects the often gloomy mood, but there are plenty of touches that stop this from becoming overwhelming. Look out for Gimli's riding skills, and Éowyn's cooking.

The Two Towers introduces Smeagol, who also brings some light relief to the situation. In the books he is more of a creepy, menacing creature. But in the movie he is portrayed as an old hobbit corrupted by the ring and drawn out beyond his years. The CGI is incredibly realistic. He can't be trusted, but at least he can be believed in.

It's fair to say that Peter Jackson has sometimes been liberal with his interpretation of the book. In extending the film he takes this further, largely inventing new scenes rather than filling the gaps by lifting directly from the books. Where the theatrical version is more a series of snapshots than a story, this version makes a coherent whole.

A long scene featuring Boromir and Faramir is included, which goes a long way to explain the brother's motives and characters. However, much of the extra footage is hard to spot, mainly lengthened scenes rather than completely new sections. The emphasis of this film is on matters of the heart, and themes of hope and redemption. The added scenes tend to highlight these aspects, and they tend to be the parts that will most disappoint people looking for an adaptation that is entirely faithful to Tolkien's work.

Grima Wormtongue is unsubtle: lank, black hair, a sickly pale complexion and haunted eyes, you know he's a villain before he even does anything. His feelings for Éowyn are made much more explicit than in the books, his corruption more visible. When he is expelled from Theoden's halls, it's not how it happens according to Tolkien, yet it's entirely in keeping with the spirit of the story. The extended version of The Two Towers has Peter Jackson's stamp on it more than ever, and it's a better film for it.

Film Details

Year: 2003

Categories: Films


Classification: 12

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A an epic and tragic fantasy set in the Elder days of Middle Earth.

5 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
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