The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Andrea Mullaney

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

After the endless hype, back-to-back interviews and voluminous special features on The Fellowship Of The Ring, is there any more to say about the making of The Two Towers?

Possibly not, going by the featurette On The Set: A Starz Encore Special - whatever that means. But it's a well-made introduction, going through the parts of the long shoot which related to the middle film. It's particularly enjoyable to see the actors all gussied up, not bedraggled and travel-weary as their characters are throughout the film.

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Fans, who have already submersed themselves in LOTR trivia, will have heard some of this before - here's the tale of how the Fellowship got matching tattoos again; here's the bit about how they created Gollum, based on Andy Serkis's movements.

The WB Special: Return To Middle Earth is more of the same, slanted to a teen audience, and includes some fun stuff: Miranda Otto going all soppy over how dreamy Viggo Mortensen is, some larking about with the Hobbit boys and Mortensen himself galloping on a horse - will someone cast him in a Western now, please! This special is narrated by Smallville's Michael 'Lex Luthor' Rosenbaum, incidentally.

What is undeniably new is the Behind The Scenes preview of The Return Of The King. Not just a teaser trailer for the third part of the trilogy, Peter Jackson introduces a couple of snippets, with comments from cast and crew, while actually in the cutting room working on it - does the man ever sleep? It doesn't give too much away - you don't see Minas Tirith fully and there's no Shelob - but it's very tantalising indeed.

There's also a Special DVD Editing Preview for the "director's cut" version of The Two Towers, which reveals that a new score had to be recorded for it. They even manage to enthuse about the new documentaries that is included in the package. Hard sell? Certainly. But that won't stop anyone salivating.

The Video Game Preview is more of an advert, though manfully and enthusiastically voice-overed by John Rhys Davies.

Only available on this DVD version is Sean Astin's The Long And Short Of It, a five-minute film he made, roping in fellow cast and crew members, on a day off during the shoot. He beams with pride as he introduces this sweet little fable about three people of different heights taking an inordinate time to put up a big poster.

Amusingly, the Making Of feature is more than twice as long as the short itself and is a bit of a hoot as crew members turn actors and actors become production team, some (particularly Andy Serkis) taking it extremely seriously.

The DVD also includes cinema trailers and a ridiculously exhaustive 16 versions of TV adverts, each with most of the same shots. Who really needs this?

There are yet more extras in the form of informative featurettes from the website. By the time you've watched all this, you feel as if you worked on the movie yourself. You may be even checking to see if you have the tattoo.

Still, considering that most fans would buy the DVDs regardless, it's rather admirable that the LOTR team have crammed in so much in a bid to make it complete value for money.

NB: Couldn't review the music video for Gollum's Song by Emiliano Torrini because the disc kept breaking when I tried to play it - everything else was okay

Reviewed on: 27 Dec 2003
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The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers packshot
The second installment of J.R.Tolkien classic fantasy epic.
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Product Code: EDV9179

Region: 2

Ratio: 2.35 Anamorphic Wide Screen

Sound: Dolby Digital EX 5.1 / 2.0 Stereo Surround

Extras: On the set - The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers -Return to Middle Earth; 8 featurettes, originally created for; exclusive 10-minute Behind The Scenes preview of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King; Emiliana Torrini

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