LORD OF THE RINGS:
THE TWO TOWERS

Directed by Peter Jackson. USA. 2003.


Talking Pictures alias talkingpix.co.uk
 
 


 
 

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Once again, itís time to present some reminders to all those advertising executives who become possessed by brain sucking demons, and decide to irritate thousands of members of the movie going public by putting their ads before the movie that folks have shelled out to see.

1. Memo to the Toyota people. DONíT DO IT ANYMORE. Watching your poorly produced blurbs for your particular brand of vehicle does not, in any way, shape or form induce me to purchase your car. It makes me want to walk into the nearest dealership and demand the immediate resignation of whatever braniac elected to put a car ad before The Two Towers.

2. Memo to the Tourism Canada people. Everyone in the theatre was currently located IN Canada. Cluttering up perfectly good movie trailers with a promotional campaign designed to induce people to travel to Canada, when weíre already there does nothing but cause great quantities of aggravation.

3. Memo to the marketing guys for X-Men 2. Perhaps you could do better. I am a BIG Hugh Jackman fan, and will be first in line to see this movie. Despite the headache producing trailer youíve slapped together. (Which didnít feature NEARLY enough Hugh, by the way.)

But these frustrations are outweighed by all the MARVELLOUS perks that come with being a movie reviewer. You get to meet the niftiest, most amazingly creative people. (Like Gordon Pinsent, and Mike Farrell.) You get enough free movie memorabilia to decorate your home. (And several others.) And, best of all, you get to attend press previews, which are generally the only times I can enter a theatre with my notebook in hand and not feel like a complete dork.

Walking into the press preview for the Two Towers notebook in hand, I felt about 12 years old. There were people there dressed in costumes so elaborate they could have won design contests in a snap. There were Two Towers gifts laid out as far as the eye could roam. There were higher-ups of the local news media already seated. This was an excellent opportunity to prove just how suave I could be in a high pressure situation. I strolled casually up to stand beside the editor for Nova Scotiaís highest selling paper. He was looking at the wall of prizes, and making unflattering comments about the pseudo Orcs sitting in the front row. I, of course, managed to fool the pair into thinking I was the heppest girl in the room.

ďHi there, my nameís Je...OH MY GOD, A complete SET of LORD OF THE RINGS GAMING CARDS, I am SOOOOO going to be Legolas!Ē Realising that the eyes of the two people I had been attempting to impress were now looking at me in horror, I tried to backtrack. ďI mean....ummmm...think of the collectors value.Ē No better apparently, as the two started nodding, smiling and fleeing backwards into their seats. 

Their loss. After all, if being movie premiere cool means I canít hum Gollumís song while scarfing down popcorn, then who needs it! 

Does that sound defensive?

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. All Rights Reserved.For those who havenít yet read the books, (all four of you) The Two Towers is the darker instalment of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, in which Frodo and Sam meet threat Gollum on their way to destroy the ring, Merry and Pippin get closer to nature, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli protect innocents, and thought gone characters return.

Elijah Wood (Forever Young, LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring) reprises his role as Frodo Baggins, the hobbit entrusted with destroying the ring that could bring about the end of middle earth. If for no other reason then this, I applaud the casting choice of Wood for Frodo because of Woodís absolutely haunting eyes. Through a gaze the actor shows off the ability to look overjoyed, or tortured beyond imagining. The fervish determination that Wood gives to Frodo, mixed with subtle moments of absolute pessimism are delicate touches that a lesser actor would not have been able to accomplish. I know fans of the trilogy will agree that the transformation of the innocent young hobbit, to the wise beyond his years character of this film has been masterfully done. Would that Hollywood lets more actors of the look and talent of Wood step to the forefront.

Sean Astin (Rudy, Memphis Belle) plays Frodoís loyal hobbit companion, Sam Gamgee. Here is a skilfully crafted character. Astin gives Sam an intelligent, bumbling kindness, and yet makes Sam extraordinarily strong. (Find me one person who wasnít in tears at the end of the first LOTR film:
Frodo: ďI have to go on by myself SamĒ
Sam: ďI know Master Frodo. And Iím coming with you.Ē 
And Iíll find you someone without a fully functioning heart.) I thought the scenes where Sam made the efforts to like Gollum, despite all of his natural instincts were beautifully done, and quite genuine. A wonderful job by Astin.

And then there was Viggo Mortensen. (G.I. Jane, A Perfect Murder) Mortensen steps into the persona of the disenchanted King Aragorn with a textured maturity missing (and rightly so) from the first installment. At the risk of being flamed by my readers, Iíll go out on a limb and say that I think Mortensenís Aragorn is the Han Solo of this generation; a charming, gorgeous, swashbuckling hero. Mortensen controls an ability that most Hollywood types would envy; the uncanny ability to make every woman in a theatre feel like heís speaking directly to them. (Or maybe thatís just me. Ahhh....Viggo speaking directly to me....) Thereís a sharpness in his gaze that dares the audience not to get involved with his character. Aragornís inward battle to choose between two loves is very emotional without being over the top, and Mortensenís ferocity in the battle sequences let me (the original ďOh, that is SO fakeĒ girl) slip right into the combat scenes. 

Andy Serkis is the soul of Gollum. What a master stroke of special effects wizardry this creature is. Whether Gollum is crawling down the side of a rockface like a cross between a spider and a cat, or wailing down to his grappling hook like toes, it never once was apparent that Gollum wasnít real. His insertion with the other characters is absolutely seamless. Serkisí scenes are spellbinding. (Particularly one where his dual personalities have an argument with each other. The rapid fire switching between wide eyed joy, destruction, and paralysing fear is of a level most character actors should aspire to.) 

Orlando Bloom, (Pirates of the Carribean, Blackhawk Down) is splendid as the elf warrior Legolas. Not only does Bloom strike you as being totally guileless, but his physical performance is also good. Bloom stands out in the trio of characters he spends the movie with in little ways. (ie when they are running across a snow field, while Gimli and Aragorn are heavy, and jogging, Legolas floats.) Being a rider though, I must admit to being completely envious of Bloom, who can ride while firing arrows accurately.

To say nothing of horses that come when you whistle.

Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd are perfection in their second turns as Merry and Pippin. Their energies are absolutely infectious, a great light spot, in an otherwise dark movie. 

There are some warnings I would give for those people heading off to watch this film:

1) This is NOT, repeat NOT a kids movie. The orcs are slimy and scary, lots of deaths, and children in danger.

2) This is also not a stand alone movie. There are important plot details in The Two Towers which would be terribly confusing without having seen the first film.

Having said that however, I will say that this is yet another example of Peter Jacksonís expert directing. The cinematography is breathtaking, the sets spectacular, the music moving, the story excellent, and the acting is award worthy.  Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is an absolute must see.
 

Jen Johnston
 

Also see other news and books about the Trilogy here.
The Return of the King Video Game.
 
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