The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Review

by Susan Granger (ssg722 AT aol DOT com)
December 19th, 2002

Susan Granger's review of "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" (New Line Cinema)
    You must see "The Fellowship of the Ring" before "The Two Towers," because director Peter Jackson begins this J.R.R. Tolkien action-adventure second-act with the wizard Saruman (Christopher Lee) and his brutal Uruk-hai warriors in the snowy mountains of Middle Earth and Gandalf (Ian McKellen) in a fiery battle with the Balrog. No prologue, no explanation of how the tiny hobbit Frodo Baggins (still-cherubic Elijah Wood) acquired the tempting, all-powerful One Ring and became reluctantly embroiled in a cataclysmic, courage-and-carnage fight between good and evil. It's a major adrenaline rush. Then the quest plot kicks in as Frodo and his faithful friend Sam (Sean Astin) trudge toward the fires of Mount Doom, led by the enigmatic Gollum. Not only is the Gollum (voiced by Andy Serkis) the most ambitious, amazing CGI creation but his split personality is a revelation. And there are so many phantasmagorial creatures like the walking, talking Treebeard, an ancient Ent of Fangorn Forest - elephantine Oliphaunts, who bear war-towers into battle - and the terrifying Wargs, which blend the ferocity of bear, wolf and hyena. Between violent battles and creepy encounters, Gimli the Dwarf (John Rhys-Davies) provides comic relief, plus there's the tepid love triangle of the human Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), the immortal elf Arwen (Liv Tyler) and lovely Eowyn (Miranda Otto), the Viking-like Rohan whose kingdom is besieged. Bravo to previous Oscar winners: special effects designer Richard Taylor, cinematographer Andrew Lesnie and composer Howard Shore. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Two Towers" is a visually awesome, triumphant 10. Recalling the first "Star Wars" trilogy, "The Two Towers" is like "The Empire Strikes Back," a thrilling, epic war movie.

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