01 January 2012

31 Dec - "Sneaky little hobbitses. Wicked, tricksy, false!"

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
dir. Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 2001)

Sean Astin (Toy Soldiers, 1991)
Cate Blanchett (The Talented Mr. Ripley, 1999)
Jed Brophy (The Warrior's Way, 2010)
Brad Dourif (Priest, 2011)
Bruce Hopkins (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, 2003)
Bernard Hill (Titanic, 1997)
Christopher Lee (The Last Unicorn (voice), 1982)
Ian McKellen (X2, 2003)
Dominic Monaghan (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 2001)
Viggo Mortensen (Witness, 1985)
Mirando Otto (What Lies Beneath, 2000)

The Two Towers far surpasses The Fellowship of the Ring, that's not an arguable point. The challenge is much clearer than in the first film. Saruman has already demonstrated himself a traitor, now he is allied with Sauron in a battle to take over Middle Earth. These are the two towers referred to in the title, in case there was any doubt. In fact, when I was little I thought the two towers were Gondor and Rohan, all well.

So anyway, this time the stakes are higher and the adventure heightened. We've got to rescue Merry and Pippin, save King Theoden from Saruman's sorcery, and then deflect an attack from Saruman's army of Uruk-hai. We also get some sweet one-liners from Aragorn, including, "open war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not!" When I went to see this movie in the theater with my high school friends (because LOTR was what all the teen girls were about, back then) we were particularly struck by that scene when Aragorn comes back to Rohan after he fell off the cliff during the battle with the Wargs (those giant hyena-monsters the orcs were riding) and he is particularly worn out and dramatic-looking. We were imitating that tableau for quite a while after that.

At this point too we began to realize that Legolas is a super-useless character. Apart from some particularly acrobatic moves (including a scene wherein he mounts a horse seemingly in defiance of all laws of physics) he participates very little in the progression of the plot and has some truly horrible lines ("A red sun rises. Blood has been shed this night"). Also, any purpose Gimli ever served apart from comic relief is totally abandoned.

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