The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
"This is indeed the war of worlds"

The scope of J R Tolkien's epic tale of good and evil continues where it left off in The Fellowship Of The Ring, with Gandalf's dive into the abyss, following his battle with the black demon. How the world will change in the next three hours does credit to the writers, who have retained a poetic wonder, with language that lifts the spirit, and to Peter Jackson's monumental vision.

The small band of hobbits, elf, dwarf and men has dissipated. The forces of Sauron, the lord of Mordor, and the white wizard Saruman have joined to wage "the war that will cover all the world in shadow." Frodo and Sam are lost in the misty mountains, searching for the Black Gate, through which they must find a way to reach Mount Doom and destroy the ring. They are joined by the creature Gollum, whose desire for "my precious" is crazed and desperate. The swordsman Aragorn, the archer Legolas and the dwarf Gimli are following the gang of orcs that have captured Frodo's hobbit companions, Pippin and Merry.

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These three stories continue their separate ways; Gollum becomes an important character; the brave trio do battle many times against impossible odds; Pippin and Merry are adopted by a walking tree; Frodo feels the power of the ring sapping his will; Gandalf returns, riding a white stallion, like a heavenly sorcerer.

The effects attack the imagination with unexpected ruthlessness. Born in nightmares, their imagery is too fierce to forget. Jackson follows Tim Burton's lead in subscribing to the Grimm brothers' belief that fairy stories require a terrible evil to reflect life's abiding fears. Walt Disney would not be happy in a land where carnivorous apemen ride deformed hyenas and hooded spectral warriors swoop down on the backs of dragons.

This is indeed the war of worlds, where gallantry is seen as glorious and wickedness spits fire. The saga that began as a quest has become a battle for survival. Frodo appears confused, protected and encouraged by Sam. Gollum is a magnificent invention, speaking twin tongues and naked as a lizard.

Jackson's respect for Tolkien is not slavish, like Chris Columbus was to J K Rowling. He ingests the spirit of the trilogy and from it creates an absolutely believable realm of fantasy that captures the romance and terror of a childhood, lost and gone, where love is unrequited and darkness can be broken.

Despite a quieter middle section, involving Aragorn's dreams of Arwen, this is even better than The Fellowship. There are scenes of cinematic perfection that steal your heart away.

Reviewed on: 05 Dec 2002
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The second installment of J.R.Tolkien classic fantasy epic.
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Jennie Kermode ****

Director: Peter Jackson

Writer: Frances Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair, Peter Jackson, based on the novel by J R Tolkien

Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd, Liv Tyler, John Rhys-Davies, Christopher Lee, Miranda Otto, Dominic Monaghan, Brad Dourif, Cate Blanchett, Bernard Hill

Year: 2002

Runtime: 179 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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