The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
“The fellowship is broken. The power of darkness grows…”
Director: Peter Jackson
Cast: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen
And so it goes on…
The Two Towers must have been a tricky one for Peter Jackson: the middle movie of a trilogy, by definition it has no beginning or end, even though this episode concludes with an epic battle which is a masterpiece of computer generated imagery. Before that, we have a continuation of the chase which began in the first instalment, although things become a little more complicated in Part Two. It’s all a bit of a slog, to be honest – but then, this is hours three, four and five of a titanic nine-and-a-half-hour story, so it’s hardly surprising that it feels like an endurance test at times. Sometimes the bad guys are chasing the good, and sometimes the good guys are chasing the bad. The clunky dialogue remains consistent however, with Legolas the elf perceptively observing at one point: ’A red sun rises, blood has been spilled this night.’ Sometimes it’s actually possible to predict the next lines that a character will speak.
Frodo Baggins continues his mission to destroy the ring that the evil Samuron is after. He’s tougher and harder now, but in the second movie he’s relegated to a supporting role in his own quest as attention focuses on the adventures of the franchise’s pin-up boy, Viggo Mortensen’s Aragorn, an altogether more conventional sword-wielding hero. He has long hair and stubble, and perfect white teeth. Andy Serkis’s Gollum also demands attention – I can’t help thinking Frodo and his mate might need to keep an eye on that one. At least Merry and Pippin are marginally less annoying in this one, with much of the humour now resting on the low but broad shoulders of Gimli the dwarf (John Rhys-Davis).
As with the first movie, Jackson’s imagining of Middle-Earth is beautifully realised, but the story itself remains resolutely aloof, and becomes repetitive around the 90 minute mark.