You’ve undoubtedly seen the Hotdog review of The Two Towers. If nothing else, it’s definitely causing a fuss amongst many TORn discussion board regulars, who seem to think it’s generally too vague to be much of a review.

TORn staffer Morog and myself have, however, gone and tried to pick the eyes out of the few hints that it offers. Enjoy our conclusions (or send us hatemail if you must 🙂 ).

TORn staffer Morog’s meta-review

I thought it would be beneficial to those spoiler-happy LoTR fans out there seeking every last scrap of information and every new scan that becomes available to do a quick media review of Hotdog magazine’s latest and greatest. Scans of the article itself can be found here.

First off, the article starts out with a horribly cliched ‘hobbit’ pun, and immediately we know we’re in for a bit of a rough ride. Though the author seems to have previewed the movie, the review itself seems as though it were nothing more than a combination of general factoids about the movie that have been floating around for the past few months combined with the general plot outline from the books to form somewhat of a haphazard, incomplete article.

Mixed up bad guys?

While the author certainly extols a very optimistic outlook on the upcoming installment of LoTR, they have mixed up, or at least given a somewhat distorted idea of some key Tolkien facts. On the first page, the author builds suspense claiming: “Sauron’s army of Urak-Hai grow to terrifying proportions as the dark lord prepares for conquest.”

Interestingly, Tolkien wrote “The Two Towers” with Saruman as the primary bad guy. Sauron was more of a “loose end” to be tied up in the last book. The reviewer here seems to emphasize Sauron as the Two Tower’s major player.

Has Peter Jackson transformed Saruman into a lesser evil in order to play up Sauron’s part in the Two Towers? It could be that this is simply a continuation of FoTR’s “Build me an army worthy of Mordor” theme. In fact, it’s probably likely.

Yet, one wonders if it could somehow refer to the gathering hordes of Easterlings and Haradrim that Frodo and Sam encounter as they journey to Mordor. Alternatively, maybe the reviewer just a bit new to the world of Tolkien and got confused along the way?

Flying Nazgul at Helm’s Deep?!

What really grabs our attention, however, is the author’s revelation regarding the end of the battle of Helm’s Deep. “To reveal the conclusion would be unfair, but you wouldn’t want to place bets on the outcome once the dragon-riding Ringwraiths turn up!” Again, we wonder if Peter Jackson has changed a key element of Tolkien’s plot to accommodate the silver-screen adaptation, or if the author of the review is throwing us off track.

[Dem here. This is quite bizarre. Readers will, of course, know that Ringwraiths never appeared at Helm’s Deep, and only appeared in Rohan right at the end of Book Three after the big confrontation with Saruman at Orthanc. Naturally this has us all scratching our heads about what could possibly be going on.

Firstly, I haven’t noted any Ringraiths in the Helm’s Deep scenes we’ve seen so far. I guess it’s possible the reviewer could be mistaken.

If this isn’t the case, my totally unsupported theory is that it might be a way to draw more attention to the link between the forces of Orthanc and Mordor if Sauron was to lend a Ringwraith or two.

Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that Helm’s Deep is near the end of the film (Jackson has previously indicated this in a Fangoria magazine interview). Perhaps it’s part of somehow compressing or switching the events from “The Voice of Saruman” and “The Palantir” so that the action all fits into that final 10 minutes or so.]

Dragon steeds, you say?!

By the by, the reviewer’s reference to the Nazgul’s steeds as “dragons,” simply seems to be a misapprehension. We clearly see both from Tolkien’s original text and these scans (scroll to the bottom and check out the Flying Nazgul marquettes) taken from’s “Creatures of The Two Towers” video that the beasts that bore the Ringwraiths were more akin to large, featherless birds.

Praise for Gollum

There’s some very high praise for Gollum, who Tolkien writes as the “Mr Hyde” to Frodo’s “Dr Jekyll”.

One wonders if Gollum is going to steal the limelight in Two Towers. Consider that New Line seems to be set to nominate Serkis for Best Supporting Actor for next year’s Oscars. Many have wondered if this is premature, but this is the first real indication that WETA’s spectacular CGI work and Andy Serkis’s vocal and acting talents may live up to the hype they’re receiving.

Also, many people (myself included) have a little trouble with the “Movie Maths” at the bottom of the article regarding ingredients for an epic. Form your own opinions.

In the end, we are left with one very enthused writer and one highly encouraging, yet somehow incomplete, review. It’s more of a teaser, than a review, really.

Since New Line Cinema requested that all reviews be postponed until December 18, the author is most likely withholding more explicit details. Nonetheless, it would’ve been nice to learnt more new things about the movie rather than simply receiving re-affirmations of currently circulating rumors.