Sunday, August 8, 2010

LotR -- The Two Towers -- 2003

Lord of the Rings
The Two Towers

Rated: PG-13 for violence and frightening images
My Rating: 5 Stars

Elijah Wood
Sean Astin
Billy Boyd
Dominic Monaghan
Miranda Otto
Orlando Bloom
Ian McKellen
Viggo Mortensen
Andy Serkis
Karl Urban
John Rhys-Davies
Liv Tyler
David Wenham
Cate Blanchett
Christopher Lee
Brad Dourif
Bernard Hill
Craig Parker

“An alliance once existed between Elves and Men. Long ago we fought and died together. We come to honor that allegiance.”

The Fellowship of The Ring has been broken. Gandalf has entered Shadow. Boromir met his death defending Merry and Pippin from Orcs. Merry and Pippin were captured by the Orcs Boromir hadn't killed and were borne away towards the tower of Isengard and traitor Saruman. Frodo and Sam make their way to Mordor, alone in a lonely, desolate land. Or maybe not so alone...

Knowing they can do nothing more in Frodo's quest, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli decided they were not going to leave Merry and Pippin to their fate of torture and death. So they go chase some Orc, to quote Aragorn. Three days and nights of neither food nor rest later leave them wondering if they will overtake the enemy in time.

Meanwhile evil is brewing in the city of Rohan, one of the last cities of men in Middle Earth who haven't succumbed to the evil power. Saruman has possessed it's king, Theodred and has killed or driven out most who are honorable. In their wake is left Eowyn, niece of the King, to the wiles of Saruman's ambassador, Wormtongue. Her courage wavers as her brother, cousin, uncle and all those dearest to her are taken and she alone is left with evil all around her.

Uruk-hai are more powerful than typical Orcs because they can travel in daylight. Their armor and weapons are strong and numerous. They can run at great speeds and distances without food and water. The traitor Saruman has a host of 10,000. His armies combined with those of Sauron makes a formidable force that appears invincible. Here too, we first see the dread Nazgul and shudder at their approach.

All those of Middle Earth are forced to decide with who their allegiance stands, and those who believe in Truth begin to wonder if it is a fool's hope. But Truth should never be taken lightly and Saruman has forgotten how many allies It has.

Again, the entire movie is phenomenal but here are a few of the highlights:
1: Eowyn, daughter of Kings.  I love how courageous she is. I love how she did what she had to do. She wasn't always submissive but she wasn't always rebellious. The fact that she was beautiful didn't hurt either. :-) Miranda Otto was wonderful playing this character... in fact, the movies wouldn't have been as good if she hadn't gotten the part.
2: Peter Jackson knows exactly how to leave the viewer hanging and wishing for more. The story could have gotten long and dull but the way he broke the story up into fragments kept it interesting.
3: Scenery shots on this movie were lovely. In fact, they are so majestic and beautiful that there really are no words for it.
4: I really enjoyed the battle of Helm's Deep. In fact, it is my favorite part of the movie. :-)
5: Elves. I still get goosebumps when Haldir and his army come to aid Rohan. I have watched it again and again and I'm still not tired of it. I must admit to feeling a great sadness when Haldir is killed. He doesn't appear often in the movies but when he does, he inspires honor and righteousness and devotion.
6: I really appreciate how they kept the romance theme throughout the movies. This is one area in which they changed the books that I felt was good. In the books, you almost forget that Arwen exists. By including more of Arwen, the story feels more connected.
7: When the Ents overthrow Isengard and Saruman is left without power. It's so satisfying. Lol. :-)
8: Andy Serkis as Gollum/Smeagol was an excellent casting. He is truly a disgusting and pitiful creature. You find yourself very wrapped up in his story and fate.
9: There is more light in this film, I think. In the books, there was a lot of singing and dancing... I appreciate how they included a little more of it in The Two Towers. I do wish they had done more because some of the songs in the books are really lovely. Tolkien was a wonderful poet.
10: There are several themes that run through the movies/books. One of them is the friendship/enmity between Legolas and Gimli. It makes for a wonderful story and lots of humor.
11: The humor, once again, is excellent.
12: The score... the music for Rohan and the battle of Helm's Deep are my favorites.

“I'm wasted on cross-country. We dwarves are natural sprinters. Very dangerous over short distances.”

Things to Know:
1: Palantirs are shown again.
2: There is magic.
3: There is a reason it's rated PG-13 (or 14A Canadian)... there are parts that are really scary for kids. Parents be cautioned.
4: Again, those who don't care for the darkness, be warned.

What I Didn't Like:
1: I didn't understand the scene where Gollum attacks Sam and Frodo until I read the books. They had spotted him and were only pretending to be asleep. Also, the rope they put around the creature's neck was elvish, therefore, it burned his skin. Thus, the complaints. :-)

If you want to further your education in literature, I would suggest Lord of the Rings. Watching/reading LotR has raised my standards... I tend to compare everything I read or watch to LotR. In my opinion, there are few stories out there that can compare, the Bible being one of those few.

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