The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is without any doubt the ultimate showcase of how good cinema can get. Not only is Towers a worthy extenstion of the first instalment, Fellowship, but it is a stand alone thrill ride of cinematic genius.
Without warning, without any form of reminder or any chance of catching ones breath, Peter Jackson thrusts us right back into the world of middle-earth and right back into his daring and exciting form of film-making. Unlike most sequals (I guess you can’t really call this a sequal) Towers is a completely different and unique film from the first. Towers presents a darker more unforgiving Mddle-earth and is unquestionably a war epic of truly incredible proportions.
Watching the film the energy that oozes off the screen in the extremely fast paced and action packed three hours gives you a bizz that many people would relate as the feeling they had when watching The Empire Strikes Back for the first time all those years ago. The chemistry between each character, aided undoubtedly by the first film is electric and every scene serves to advance the film in a positive and entertaining direction. One weeps at the sheer brilliance of the films complex construction and near perfect cinematic execution. This is the stuff dreams are made of, this is the stuff that shapes the way forward in the future of film.
Towers is not without flaw, with a screen time limit of three hours much of the book has been cut and changed much to the displeasure of many fans and purists. Still the film stands alone all by itself as grand cinema regardless of how prescious the book is. There are some very obvious computer aided effects, especially when watching the Ents, but these are over shadowed by the sheer joy derived form the events on screen. Peter succeeds where most special effects directors fail, he suspends disbelief so that even the most fake of creations is missed as the audience gets sucked into the events on screen. Speaking of special effects, Gollum/Smeagol will undoubtedly go down in history as the very first succesful completely computer generated characters on film. Yes he is obviously created by a computer, but he looks far better than anything else that has ever been presented and the character itself is an absolute treat and completely steels the show. The emotional high point of the film is stolen by Gollum in his two he scenes where he speaks quite disturbingly to himself as each other alter ego.
The acting is all very sifficient and definately above average for any film of this style. Special credits should go to Brad Dourif as Wormtounge who is as evil and cunning as the genius of Peters vision, Elijah as Frodo and Sean as Sam who as a pair make for a great on screen plutonic chemistry defining a lost art of male comradeship, and of course Any Serkis as Gollum.
The film is often very light hearted as John-Rhys Davis discards his sombre Dwarf character Gimli from the first film and settles in as the comic-relief, this is a sharp contrast to the films very dark themes. People die, limbs are hacked, the world falls apart around them, but all the while Peter remains focussed on the task at hand and delivers Tolkiens message with the edge that only he can.
The Films three climaxes, the Battle of Helm’s Deep, the Trashing of isengard and the Siege at Osgilith would all be a single fitting end to any epic film, and then the film leaves you breathless and wanting more… Such torture – if the ending to Fellowship had you wanting more, this willhave you tearing out the seats at the cinema in riot that you have to wait another year… Still to behold the scene at Helm’s Deep will be enough, no words can describe this except to say that it is the biggest most spectacular battle on screen and will not fail tpo satify.
These films are looking to be the defining trilogy of this century and are certainly groundbreaking near perfect cinema. This once weeped for a good portion of the film, I can only hope the experience is as good as that for everyone else. Peter Jackson, Heres to you and yours!