March 29, 2008

The Lord of the Rings - Two Towers

Two Towers is the second installment in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. The story begins just after our Fellowship of the Ring has been trisected and are off on their own paths.  Frodo decided to go take the ring to Mordor by himself, but Sam wouldn't leave without him.  Frodo and Sam meet up with Gollum/Smeagol who has promised on "the precious" (aka the ring) to take them to Mordor.  That is basically it for this story line except for a quick detour where they are found by the men of Gondor and held for a short period of time before they go on their way again.  That's basically it with this trio.

Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn let Frodo & Sam go onto Mordor alone even though they promised to guide him.   The trio are now in search of Pippin and Merry who have been hobbit-napped by Ork & Uruk-hai (nasty creatures).  The hobbits are forced into a scary forrest to escape their captors where they are met by someone they least expected.  They also see things come to life in ways previously unknown.  Gimli, Legolas, and Aragorn meet up with a horse-riding people called the Riders of Rohan who leave them with little hope of finding their friends.  Yet, when they are led into the forrest they also meet someone they didn't expect and plans are then made to help save the world of men, or at least protect some of them.  The Riders of Rohan are all moved to a huge fortress called Helm's Deep where a huge battle is fought.  Old alliances are reformed and a huge sense of hope fills you near the end.

This film is fun to watch because it has humor in unexpected places.  Since it is basically a huge "let's get 'em" film, the humor brings the story to a more accessible place rather than turning it into a huge epic like Ben Hur.  The story of Frodo and Sam is necessary to the film although a bit dull at time.  You learn a lot about Gollum and about the power that the ring has over it's possessor.  You are also introduced to the men of Gondor, who play a big role in the next film.  

The tree-hugger in me was very satisfied by the scenes in Fangorn Forest and we become aquatinted with the Rohirrim, their King Theoden and the beautiful princess Eowen.  Rohan's fortress, Helm's Deep, is where the huge battle takes place that can even make a softie like me get excited about strapping on a sword.  Again, the humor interspersed throughout, the wonderful soundtrack, and the shear certitude of defeat is enough to make me tear several times for various reasons.  I wish I had one of those Rohan horns that I could blow while I watch this film.  And the rain!  It rains for almost the entire battle.

Cinematography is wonderful, making me actually feel cold during battle.  The sets and the detail to set dressing is like no other film I've seen and the costume design is out of sight.  This is a film that I watch again and again and never tire of it.  It is long running at 3 odd hours.  I would highly recommend the directors cut rather than the cut shown in theaters.  I'm not sure what our rating system is going to be yet but here goes.  ***** out of 5

Beverage Suggestion: Spring Ale 


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