The Two Towers
— 20th December 2002
Well TTT was great. In many parts diverging from the book but at least half of these added as much if not more than they detracted from the spirit of the tales. The visuals were absolutely stunning and in terms of spectacle this has to be one of the greatest films of it’s type ever made. The amount of times where I found the vague images of my imagination well surpassed by the film were many and I realised that for part of the book I’d not even got round to developing a mental picture of the scene before reading on (thankfully a luxury filmmakers do not have).
The only criticism would be that in trying to fit a lot of story into (what seemed like) a very short 3 hours they ended up cutting around a bit too much. The book in it’s main is about struggle. Each victory that is won (even if that is the travellers victory over the terrain) is eeked out with much effort. The doubt of success against overwhelming odds is what creates the tension. From the film I wanted a sense of this, a feeling that what was gained was earned. This to a large extent was delivered, in the travelling of Frodo and Sam and particularly in the portrayal of the people of Rohan, but just towards the end when time was running short and speed was needed, things started to happen a little too quickly. Pipin persuading Treebeard to go to war, Faramir dragging Frodo to Gondor for an un-convincing run-in with a Nazgul, the Ents ransacking Isengard, and suddenly Helm’s Deep is won.
That said, however, I don’t think I’ve enjoyed watching any film more than this one. I’m a bit of a sucker for CGI anyway (and beautiful scenery) so there’s much to go around. Some films are about telling you something about life, reflecting the world back onto itself to find insight, and meaning. Other films are pure escapism and purely there for the roller coaster ride they provide. I don’t think I’ve ever escaped further while sat in a cinema in my life.