johnlink ranks THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS (2002)

Returned to Middle Earth again for the second part of the original Peter Jackson trilogy. It’s been far too long since I saw this entire series, I’ve come to realize, and I actually have never seen the extended version of the third movie. Looking forward to getting at that soon. But first, here is the ranking for the extended version of THE TWO TOWERS.


I watched THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS (2002) on 1.27.14. It was my third viewing of the film (second of the extended version), and first viewing in a decade.

The second LORD OF THE RINGS film prominently features ‘twos’ and duality. The title references the two evil towers, one containing the wizard Saruman (Christopher Lee) and the other being the beacon of the evil entity Sauron.

Saruman is the white wizard. He is supposed to be the embodiment of good. Tolkien bucked modern symbolism in making a white wizard so inherently evil. However, the previously gray Gandalf (Ian McKellen), last seen tumbling into the abyss, returns as a wiser and more powerful white wizard himself. He and Saruman may look similar, but they are polar opposites morally.

There are also two sets of two hobbits. One pair, Pippin (Billy Boyd) and Merry (Dominic Monaghan) are in the forest trying to convince the treefolk to help the side of good in the battle against evil. The other pair, Sam (Sean Astin) and Frodo (Elijah Wood) are, of course, moving towards Mordor to destroy the ring of power. They are guided by a creature (Andy Serkis) who is the very embodiment of duality. It’s two personalities are that of Gollum, an evil and vindictive monster, and the nicer Smeagol, the name of the creature before the ring corrupted it physically and emotionally. Much of the movie, and indeed the final moments of the film, center around the battle Smeagol has in trying to rid himself of Gollum.

Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) is still out there as well. He spends most of the film torn between two women. His elf love (Liv Tyler), who is moving on from him, and the new human love interest Eowyn (Miranda Otto), who is drawing him presently.

The film’s climax gives us two battles. The Battle of Helm’s Deep is where the human make their last stand against the orcs. Meanwhile, a more one-sided battle takes place at the tower of Saruman, who loses control of his stronghold when those treefolk, the Ents, decide to march on him. The Ents, on a side note here, are giant humanoid trees. This could so, so easily have been gotten wrong. The CGI and the creature creation here is splendid. Their presence doesn’t feel fake or forced. They feel a part of the world. Some of that credit also has to go to Monaghan and Boyd, who’s Merry and Pippin spend the entire movie playing opposite the Ents.

It can be hard, even a day after watching this film, to separate where the first one ended and this one started. That is a compliment to Peter Jackson’s story telling. Trying to consider this film on its own, it contains less action until the final battles. It develops character smartly and cleanly. There is great care taken in telling these stories, and we might go over an hour without seeing major characters grace the screen. Because the fellowship of the first film has been separated into four factions (if you include Gandalf himself as a fourth), the film necessarily hops around. Jackson does a brilliantly job keeping it both balanced and connected. Perhaps, it seems, Middle Earth is very small with how quickly folks get from one place to another. Yet this works perfectly in this filmed reality.

Once again, THE TWO TOWERS is a pleasure to witness. The battles serve as a perfect climax for this film to stand on its own, while certainly leaving the larger story left for the end. I truly can’t wait to get back there.



The music is getting a bonus point again, even though I gave it one in the first film. The score is absolutely perfect.



~ by johnlink00 on January 28, 2014.

7 Responses to “johnlink ranks THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS (2002)”

  1. Totally agreed. I think this one is my favorite of the franchise. It is so very, very good.

  2. Once that battle-sequence comes into play, the movie’s energy gets cranked up to about 100, and it barely ever slows down for a bit. Good review.

  3. Great review mate. I think this is my favourite of the trilogy, which is a pretty hard thing for a middle film to achieve.

    • Thanks! I was surprised that my score came out almost identically across the board and my final score was the same. Guess I like the first two equally!

  4. Such a brilliant film, the battle at Helms Deep is just amazing. The extended version gets a bit lengthy with the ents trekking through the forest though.

    • The Ents are funny in that they can drag the pace of the movie. But, then, they sort of have to in order to make them work. I see why a bunch of that stuff didn’t make the shorter cut. But, then, I am not sure I would ever watch the shorter cut again.

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