Tigerlilly Gamgee sent in this Two Towers review that is largely absent of spoilers. Those who want a feel of the performances in the film may enjoy this one, though if you’re trying to avoid spoilers regarding who may or may not be at Helm’s Deep, perhaps you should steer clear.
The Two Towers – What Of The Cast Performances?
I had the priveledge of attending an advanced screening of TTT this morning here in Chicago (along with Roger Ebert… and many other contest winners). My opinion is still forming for this movie; it is just so strange because you are accustomed to FOTR and then you see the characters in a new story (which you probably already know the ending to). Overall, I did like it. I was not disappointed. I need to see it again!
It varies away from the books a lot more than FOTR did. Some parts didn’t even exist in the books, and in other cases you are seeing the same story from different perspectives. Sam and Gimli stole the show, in my opinion. Everyone voted that Pippin would be the comic relief in this movie, but I think that Gimli has stolen his trophy on that account. Many of Sam’s greatest moments from the books are left in the movie (Sam fans will be cheering at these parts!), and some really nice new scenes are given to him. Legolas is also more likeable in this movie. He becomes a little more “humanistic” in quality, as opposed to the slightly “magical” nature he had about him in the first film (his kind-of “aloofness”). Elijah Wood does a great job with Frodo as he becomes possessed by the ring. There are some heart-breaking moments for him and Sam (one really huge one at the end; which is from a shot in the trailer, but you wouldn’t know that that shot of Frodo is actually in a scene with Sam and not Gollum).
The new characters are all lovely. Eowyn has a very nice introduction and she doesn’t whip out the sword quite yet (at least, not in a big way). Theoden is well played and Wormtongue is great. Eomer is also a lot better than I expected (no offense to Karl Urban, it’s just that he seemed a little dryer in the books; but new life is good). There is also some nice stuff with the Rohan refugees, some of it is very emotional and may move some to tears (look for the Jackson kids in the caves – boy they get around don’t they!).
Gollum and Treebeard, in my opinion, have not fallen in the “Jar-Jar trap”, but those who have not read the books may not like them. I can see how putting an Ent on screen is a difficult task (with their not wanting to be hasty and all – I don’t think that people will quite understand them if they haven’t read the books). Merry has a lovely speech at the Entmoot (addition); Dominic is really stepping up to the plate. Gollum is done very well, though slightly different from my impressions of him in the book (though, I have never really liked him – so don’t listen to me). I never felt pity for him while reading the book, but that aspect is brought into the movie very nicely. His relationship with Frodo and Sam is great! It really made me see why Frodo trusts him.
You get to see Merry and Pippin start to grow up in this film. I mentioned the speech Merry has… great! Pippin also has a nice moment with Treebeard when they have left the Moot. He’s not so much of a “fool” anymore.
The scene between Arwen and Elrond is very well done. Everyone is worrying about her being in the movie, but I enjoyed that scene (though her picture on the poster need not be so big). The flash-forward was very moving and it let’s the audience see more of what Arwen is sacrificing to be with Aragorn (that was probably unclear to non-readers in the first movie). Fear not, she does not come to Helm’s Deep (though I can’t speak for Haldir’s troops on that matter)! I, personally, liked the elves at Helm’s Deep. It gave the movie a slight Silmarillion-like moment. I think it added to the relationships of the characters, and it showed more where the fate of Middle Earth is heading. Helm’s Deep is spectacular!!!!!!!! ‘Nuff said there…
The movie has a great climax accompanied by a speech with Sam. I was accompanied by Rosemunde Brownlocks (from my Line Party) and she made an excellent point that… at one point or another in the movie each character has a moment where they realize that this is their fight. All of Middle Earth is in peril, not just an individual race or kingdom. This speech is the climax of those moments. Very well done… go Sean Astin!!!!!
Well, this is already long, so I will end here. I tried not to spoil too much, so hopefully I didn’t ruin anything for anyone. Now, I am eager to see what Ebert is going to say (though something tells me he’s probably going to be skeptical about it). Fans will not be disappointed, though I am beginning to think that maybe I shouldn’t have re-read the book so close to the movie’s release date (because of the differences – it made them much more noticeable). They are each in their own, different, yet the same. Be ready for moments that will blow you away!