Just had viewing number 2 of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers...Spoilers below.
I'm real sorry I didn't write this up last night, when all the images and details were still fresh in my mind. But I'll say it was damned amazing. I mean...John Rhys-Davies put it best..."[Fellowship] was a damned wonderful film...you ain't seen nothing yet."
So, let us begin at the beginning. The film opens on a beautiful shot of Caradhras. Faint cries of "Gandalf!!" and "You shall not pass!" can be heard. Suddenly, we delve deeply into the mountainside and see a flashback of Gandalf on the bridge of Khaza-dum.
As he falls and hoarsely whispers "Fly you Fools" We follow his descent into the depths of the mountain. There's lots of confusion and fire, and then a closeup of Gandalf's eyes.
Flash: Frodo wakes up screaming Gandalf's name. Sam asks what's wrong and Frodo ensures him that it was just a dream.
We find Frodo and Sam are wandering over the barren, rocky land straight before Mordor.
I won't summarize the whole of the film, mostly cause It would take a full two hours to include everything. I will however, list what I liked and didn't like about the film.
-I loved Frodo. The way he becomes more openly obsessed with the ring, stroking it at night, unable to sleep. And Sam gets that, and he tries to help, but he can't truly understand what it is for Frodo to bear the ring.
-Gollum. WOW. Unbe-freaking-lievable. The CG animation for one thing, was phenomenal. But Andy Serkis' performance alone...the movement and expression he gave to Gollum, the sadness he gave to Smeagol...He was amazing.
-I loved the way that Frodo tried to look out for Gollum. There is one shot where Frodo and Gollum peer over a ridge, next to each other, and you see how alike their faces are...the huge eyes and curious-concerned-innocent-mischievious expression. I think Frodo sees in Gollum what he's going to become. And it scares him.
-The Rohan Story really captivated me. I thought that I would find it boring and too Grendel reminiscent, because of the viking taste that they gave Rohan. But these people really tugged at my heartstrings.
-Eowyn...WOW. Here you have this woman who is, essentially very alone. She's been brought up the way a man is brought up, but she's not allowed to be a man at all. She's a very strong character and I'm so surprised to see that.
-Merry and Pippin...were cheated. They kind of got little stints in between all the other action that was going on. Although their performance-when they were onscreen at all-was amazing still. Dominic Monaghan, I'll have your children.
-Aragorn. Aragorn In the words of Miranda Otto: "I defy all women who see this film not to fall in love with him." I saw so much more character development from him, saw a lot more what he was about and how he feels about the place he's going to have to take some day.
-King Theodon. What an arrogant jerk. But I have to forgive him that, because he comes out of his comatose state just amazed at how much has changed and how much he's disappointed his people. There is a scene in which he stands at his son's tomb and weeps brokenly. I was moved to tears, it was awful, and the deal breaker for me was when he tells Gandalf that no parents should ever have to bury their child.
-Arwen. Poor thing. Her father is so bent on having her leave Middle Earth and take the ship to Valinor that he doesn't realize her heart may break yet. He's so obsessed with the idea that he won't leave his daughter in Middle Earth to die, that he doesn't realize she may die anyway because of her own grief at abandoning Aragorn. Yes, I cried here too. Because no one should have to linger after their husband or wife dies. It will be interesting to see Elrond come to terms with Arwen's choice. He doesn't seem to fathom the idea that immortality is hardly something that she can't give up, because it's everything she wants to be with Aragorn, and to be mortal.
-Legolas, whose main lines in Fellowship consisted of "...." and "...[intense stare]..." and that famous line "....[hair flip]...." Legolas cracks jokes. It's about time to see Orlando get to exercise some actual talent and give his character a personality rather than a deadpan expression.
-Gimli had me in stitches. He provided comic relief where it was really needed. It was so sweet to see him being so brave. "...Don't tell the elf."
-Haldir. Oh how I love that guy. How I wish he hadn't died. I suppose though, if you have to die, that's the way to go. And he went so gracefully and so well...It's so strange to see an elf die, because they don't understand what it is to expire. Most of them have never seen death, and the look in his eyes really reflected the idea that "So this is what it is like...I never imagined it'd be like this." Brilliant.
-Sam...oh Sam...When Frodo turned Sting on him, I absolutely lost it. And then Sean's face, with tears, and pleading softly. "It's me. It's Sam...you know your Sam, don't you?" I salute you, Mr. Astin. Well done. And his empowered, passionate speech at the end...amazing.
-The ents. They were...weird looking, and they themselves didn't do anything for me, but when they trashed Saruman's place, It was all I could do to keep from cheering.
-Saruman himself was very impressive in the aforementioned Ent-trashing scene. The look on Christopher Lee's face was so desperate, so upset. Oh so very "How..how could this happen, and what will I say to Sauron?...and what if they come after me, next?"
The whole film was just so damn great. Bigger, more epic than the first. I loved it, and I can't wait for "Return of the King"
Very WOW. Agreed.
There are a lot of departures from the book, so loyal readers, be prepared.
King Theoden is jerked up for the movie. He's much more noble and respectable in the book.
Faramir's stuff is totally screwed up and there's an extra scene to Osgiliath where he takes Frodo and Frodo almost succumbs to giving the ring to a Nazgul, which is most unacceptable and unnecessary.
Didn't Karl kick complete and total ass as Eomer???
Wormtongue was fraggin' amazing as well. Brad Dourif was great.
Yeah, Merry & Pippin carried in a tree most of the time, but the story really isn't theirs, although I'm in love with Pippin. They did come into their own, however, escaping the orcs, leaving the pin for Aragorn, getting Treebeard in on the war, etc.... They had their purpose.
Eowyn, very cool. Can't wait to see her kick some ass in ROTK.
Arwen Shmarwen. She's in the book in like 3 lines and in this way too long. Send Liv back to daddy Steven please.
Legolas, the skater boy. The teenage girls should enjoy him.
Aragorn, the man. Can I keep him please? Droooooooool................
I thought Gimli was amusing and had mostly comic lines. I thought he was too comical and PJ most likely did this because of the absence of the hobbits. Gimli is a Dwarf. He should be more serious and I'm sure will be for ROTK.
Haldir doesn't help out at Helm's Deep in the book. A few of Elrond's brothers appear, but that's it. Not sure why PJ made this change. The ents actually show up at the end as the orcs are retreating and swallop them up, leaving a pile of bodies if I remember correctly.
Gandalf's return and calling for Shadowfax was a great scene. My husband teared up (first time he's ever cried at a movie.....so he SAYS!)
The folks at the LOTR board are saying the battle scenes were too long, but I could sit there for twice that time watching them.
They also thought the Olympic torch orc was a bit much. And seriously, they have a point. They go to all this covert trouble to hide the demolitions beneath Helm's Deep then send this Uruk Hai charging in amongst a path of cheering orcs with a giant sparkly torch. Hello? Discreet much? A bit dorky.
And the conversation which Gollum has with himself got laughs. I don't think it's supposed to be funny.
Please see my thread in ATX for the Xena connections:
[ December 20, 2002, 11:56 PM: Message edited by: ~Amazon Priestess~ ]
I'm half asleep right now so bear with me...(JUST woke up...)
The movie was ferking incredible. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time and so tuned into everything that was happening that I jumped if a pebble fell.
Gollum was SO incredibly well done...the scenes where he is fighting with himself were acted out so incredibly well and the animation of his character was SO wonderful.
I'm gonna go see it again in a week or so
I may add some more comments later...I'm feeling really fuzzy of head right now.
I loved this movie, it rocked. I'd go see it twice. Everything you all said, YES YES YES! I think it was AWESOME. Man oh man, after watching, I wanted to pick up a sword and join the battle for Middle Earth.
LOTR Rocks. Tolkien Rocks. Elfs are cool.
I just got back from seeing the movie, and we all know how much I have been waiting for it lol...
well Legolas was freakin AMAZING!!!!!!!
the movie was awsome!
although I have to admit I am really really really disapointed in how far it strayed from the book. the first movie was really close, and well this one got farther and further away.
all in all I was impressed with the movie, and the comedy was GREAT! lmao
*edited to say* I mostly agree with AP!
[ December 21, 2002, 12:26 AM: Message edited by: Corawarrior ]
Just saw the movie with cora tonight.
three words for you, in relation to Aragorn girls;
Sorry to be stroppy, but I prefered "Fellowship". What got me to come back was the beautiful sets,
staircases that went round a tree, entrances to other realms, etc. I'm sure they were models, though they
had people walking about in them. And also the circular architecture of Bilbo's home. Beautiful stuff.
I get little pleasure from looking at battle scenes. There just weren't the beautiful, lyrical scenes in this one,
that were in "Fellowship". Maybe a few, but not enough. But I will return for "Return". I never read the books
so I don't understand much of this; I just look at it as pageant.
I'm right now watching my parents get worse and worse, and my Dad looks a little like Smeagol at the
moment, and will look more like him as time goes on, so you can imagine that this part was not terribly
entertaining to me.
Just came back from the cinema, so, impressions are still fresh.
First off, this can only be a half-valid critique, since the movie was of course dubbed and in this case additionally almost ruined by a fawlty audio track on this copy.
German dubbing by law takes away a big chunk of any English spoken movie's quality. The greater the importance of the words/voices, the greater the damage. (suffice to say that I'd, for instance, watch a Shakespeare adaptation in such a state only on pain of death )
Another, this time undeserved but unavoidable, difficulty this second part had to deal with, is that the initial sense of wonder the first movie created for everyone, can't possibly be re-created with the same impact. We know Jackson's Middle Earth by now, the visual style, the grand scale, and it's far more difficult to tickle another 'WOW' out of the now hardened viewer.
Yet another hurdle Jackson had to takle was the almost impossible dramatic structure of the second book - impossible to tweak into a coherent dramatic movie script, that is.
In the novel the first two major storylines (Book III) Merry&Pippin&Treebeard/Aragorn&Rohan-Battle of Helm's Deep are told simultaneously, THEN tied together through Gandalf leading to the downfall/imprisonment of Saruman & Wormtongue at Isengard.
Book IV opens a whole new storyline. Only THEN, after about 260 pages, Frodo's story is continued without breaks throughout the second half of TTT.
That works perfectly fine on paper but would be deadly on the silver screen, especially for those not familiar with the books.
So Jackson had to either take the risk of totally alienating a lot of movie goers by doing the first half without hardly mentioning Frodo & Sam's fate and follow 'Book III' until the finale at Isengard, or tweak the timelines, hop to and fro from one story to another without totally breaking up either of the three.
If you'd still have favoured the first option, think again. The battle of Helm's Deep as THE climactic set piece would've been won before the first half of the movie is over.
The second 90 minutes would've exclusively concentrated on Frodo, Sam & Gollum/Smeagol - still a good story, but MUCH 'smaller' in scale - more personal and also much slower in pace.
This would've totally tipped the dramatic balance of any movie - in fact, make it two separate movies within one.
So, I wasn't surprised that TTT showed a far less continuous and balanced build-up than TFOTR.
Sometimes it's rushed, sometimes creaking in its joints, and especially the Merry/Pippin/Ent storyline suffers greatly from the constant 'meanwhile in the woods' interlude feeling, because it was later almost totally disconnected from the Aragorn/Gandalf line.
The Frodo-line suffered far less but still occasionally seemed a bit neglected, cos Jackson obviously favoured the grand scale Rohan scenario as the true centre piece of the whole thing.
In that I don't quite agree with him, but that's down to taste, I guess.
On danger of beeing tarred and feathered by stern defenders of the gospel, I dare to say that Gollum/Smeagol was the brightest shining gem of this movie, both in mind-boggling technology and character 'acting'. Brilliant dialogue between him and the Hobbits as well, especially visible in this movie, since everybody else didn't have much to say, the exception being Brad Dourif's superb Wormtongue.
Saruman was totally wasted, showing occasional faces of menace or bewilderment, but on the whole disappearing almost completely. Pity, since the book contained much more of him than even TFOTR, especially the final confrontation with Gandalf (which might yet happen on screen, keeping the changed timelienes in mind.)
Gandalf himself was given almost as little. A few thundering formalistic speeches and almost no intimate dialogue with any of the characters. It's down to McKellen's awesone skills that this didn't kill off Gandalf as well as Saruman.
Mortensen's Aragorn was the one who changed the least, even though his part wasn't half as interesting as it was in TFOTR. His relation to Boromir alone gave him much more depth than the rather more predictable hero agenda he had to deliver in TTT. Still, the books had even less to offer on that point, so we can take this as an improvement in both movies.
I'm split on Gimli. On one hand I welcomed him having many more scenes, now, on the other do I regret that they were all designed for the obligatory comic relief. He's in serious danger of being turned into a joke, rather than a character.
Legolas stayed put and true to character. Excellent job done within the stifling confinds of Tolkien's pretty one-dimensional creation. Another improvement on the books.
Poor Merry & Pippin didn't have much to do exept bobbing along in the branches of Treebeard for half of the picture. Seen like that, they did well.
Good ole Sam definitely rose to the occasion and delivered a flawless continuation and developement of the original character. He grew as much as Frodo. Sean Astin proves to be the biggest underrated asset within the Hobbit storyline.
Elija Wood's Frodo had of course the harshest character journey to tackle, and he did even better than I expected. Even without the masterful makeup job he admirably showed us Frodo's slow and terrifying descent towards the bottom of his personal pit. No doubt, our Mr Frodo stood up to the challenge.
Arwen didn't have much more to do than fighting various lumps in her throat, but since she didn't even appear in the second book, I think I have to be thanful for what little there was of her.
Eowyn... well... she was there, I s'pose. Didn't do much for me, I'm a fraid. No spark. Sorry.
Bernard Hill's King, on the other hand, was bang on what this character should portray. Excellent job.
Heh... and has anybody noticed how well... how VERY well our very own Karl Urban mastered the few scenes he had?
On the whole I truely liked TTT, but more as a massive patchwork quilt of different set pieces, rather than the organic middle of a great saga.
I guess this impression will loose lots of its impact once The Return Of The King picks up the pieces. After all, it is still a part of a story that was never intended as a 3-parter by Tolkien. (his publishers had urged him to cut it up) He always hated having to make those artificial cuts at points never intended to be cuts.
Besides, I'm almost certain that the extended edition of TTT will have an even more 'healing' effect than that of TFOTR.
All that aside, a second viewing will already improve the initial impression, I'm sure.
Un-dubbed, for starters.
from the hip
[ December 23, 2002, 12:54 AM: Message edited by: The Xenatizer ]
I was impressed with the handling of Gollum. It was an interesting take on the characterization. I'd never really thought of him has being a dissociative identity type, but it makes sense.
yay just saw it! They did an amazing job with
Gollum. Loved the Morodor marshes scenes;
Treebeard & the Ents scenes went too quickly.
Bring on that expanded dvd edition!
Someone on Livejournal mentioned something interesting:
"I just realized that TTT isn't the movie. What we just saw was an abridged version. Like one big long trailer. The real TTT will be seen when the extended DVD comes out."
I agree wholly with that statement. I can't wait for the extended version.
Encore cable network began showing The Fellowship
movie last week. It doesn't look right, not being the expanded version. I hope they air the expanded version sometime. It makes it easier
explaining the storyline to ppl (like my mom)
who haven't read the books. Wonder how much was
cut from the Two Towers...
Only thing i didn't care for in Two Towers was
Elrond's talk with Arwen about Aragorn, and the
supposed dead Aragorn scene. Guess i'll have to
reread the book but i don't recall Elrond being so
|Chief Chesty Forlock|
I just saw TTT.
I agree with just about all the other points made here, but I didn't really care for the talking/moving trees.
They looked really fake, to me, and didn't really add much, other than bringing down Sauruman. And I didn't really care as much about Sauruman being brought down in this film as he hadn't done as much bad stuff as he had in the first one.
A minor criticism. I enjoyed this one better than the first, due to some lighter and tenderer moments. Hope they give Gimli a bit more credibility next time, though.
Roll on number three.
GIMLI ROCKS!!!! I just love that dwarf... And the Ents... It was the one thing that I was most courios to see how PJ would do. And I really liked it! When the Ents trashed Sarumans castle I nearly jumped up from my seat!
And what is it with Elfs? Really??? When there are Dwarfs!!!! Give me an axe and I'll stand by Gimlis side any day!!!!!
Just got back from seeing it for the third time.. and lets say that it is still as good as the first. still seeing new stuff. and well I can never get enough Legolas lol
Guess I am bumping this one again... just thought I would mention that I just saw it for the 4th time. sigh it is great! moves me so much. and it s great being in a theater with people who havent seen it so you can keep witnessing there reactions because you can intisipate what is next. lol
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