Saturday, March 9, 2013

Movie: Two Towers

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9.5

Genre: Fantasy, adventure

Series or set: Lord of the Rings

Number in series: 2nd

Primary actors: *deep breath* Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, Billy Boyd, Christopher Lee, Dominic Monaghan, Miranda Otto, Andy Serkis, and if you know who each of those (primary) actors plays…then you know LOTR well. :)

Length: About three hours

Based on: Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien

Time period: Fantasy

Year it came out: 2002

My overall opinion: I love these movies. Be warned: this is likely the shortest of the three reviews. At least, my notes made it the shortest. And be warned – the third review will almost certainly be the longest because this one has half as many notes as that.

For those of you who may just be getting in on this… I first watched this movie trilogy a little over two years ago. That was back when Austenitis was just getting started, and my reviews…well, let’s just say my original review for this movie is a little shorter than everything I’ve written here so far. :) SO I decided that since I’ve seen the movies many times since then, and love them so much…it’s time for a heavy-duty review. So here we go!

This movie is noticeably darker and sadder and heavier than the first film -- no scenes in Hobbiton! But despite that, it has some dark parts. With no more ado, let's begin my thoughts.

Wormtongue aka Grima: He is SO disgustingly horrible. Did you know (random fact time!) that they removed his eyebrows to make him more repulsive? It’s one of those things you won’t notice on your first time through, and maybe not even after that…I only noticed after reading it in a making-of book (The Rough Guide to Lord of the Rings). But he is a repulsive being if ever I saw one!

Eomer and the Riders of Rohan: Ah, such heroic men! I especially love how close Eomer is to his sister Eowyn. He’s a man to admire…and his riders are amazing fighters! A joy to watch, especially for any horse lover.

Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli – running: Watching these guys run tirelessly over mile after mile of terrain makes me feel tired every time. And no, I’m not at all athletic. But they do so much running and still manage to make it look easy! What an amazing team of guys. You know Gimli was lugging something like 70 pounds of armor in real life during those scenes? Yup. Quite a load!

Gollum aka Smeagol: Andy Serkis does an amazing job acting the part and using the voice of Gollum/Smeagol. And his dual personalities (especially clear in this film) are fascinatingly freaky! He’s even occasionally pitiable at times, quite a character. Of course, by the next film he’s utterly abhorrent but here he’s almost likable at times. Poor Gollum.

Treebeard and the Ents: Treebeard – what a neat guy. Tree. Whatever you want to call him. He has such a neat voice. (Random fact time again!) John Rhys-Davies, aka Gimli, does the voice for Treebeard. Cool or what? I always forget to remember that as I’m watching though. But anyway. Personally? I’d really rather never battle an ent. They can be killed, but more than that you don’t see too often. They can do a huge amount of damage if they decide to! Take the destruction of Isengard – absolutely a stunning sequence of scenes and events and of course, ents.

Dead Marshes: They’re such a freaky location with all the dead faces in the water! And the lights too, of course. I am so glad that Frodo, Sam, and Gollum didn’t spend any more time in that part of the land. The smell…you can practically smell it just watching on the screen. What a horrible place.

Gandalf’s Return/Fight with the balrog: Yay! It’s such a triumphant moment when Gandalf unexpectedly reappears! Or at least, it’s unexpected for anyone who hasn’t read the book or too many spoilers. But there he is back as Gandalf the White! It’s a lovely time. I also have greatly enjoyed all the footage of his fight with the balrog…a looooong fall, a huge pit of water (the size of that thing blows my mind each time), the fight on the pinnacle, and of course, the conquering of the balrog. At which point we get our best glimpse of its actual shape. So. Very. Cool.

Soundtrack: Ah, the soundtrack. It’s beautiful! Even the credits song, though I prefer Enya’s May It Be on the first movie. But overall, awesome music and I’ve so enjoyed it time after time.

The Morannon: Or the Black Gate, for those of with slightly less random knowledge. ;) That thing is g.i.g.a.n.t.i.c. and huge. And also apparently very effective for keeping people out (and in)! Watching it open is amazing…getting crushed in that would NOT be cool. Pretty neat!

Wormtongue and Eowyn: Disgusting. I hate how he tries to get her to like him because it really doesn’t work (thankfully). But the whole way he looks at her and all is just super disgusting and I abhor it.

Theoden’s resurrection: He’s almost dead. He’s as close to dead as a human can be without actually being dead. He doesn’t think for himself, is super weak, and in very bad condition. But! Gandalf saves him (and the day) by casting Saruman and Wormtongue out of Theoden! Victory! The change in him is wonderful.

Eowyn: For the first time, I realized that her teeth aren’t perfect. And I love that, because she has such an awesome personality that you probably didn’t realize this the first time you watched it. Eowyn is all around a lovely girl/woman. She’s so easy to identify with and I love her.

Aragorn and Eowyn: As Aragorn pointed out in one commentary, Eowyn almost would have been a better match for him. They have more mutual interests and activities, I think. It’s so easy to understand how Eowyn would fall for Aragorn – and the movie doesn’t do a great job (at least, in the unextended editions) with showing how she switched to Faramir. But while I think that Aragorn and Eowyn would have been an adorable couple, I’m happy with the other…

Aragorn and Arwen: It’s so obvious that they love each other. Think of all that Arwen gave up for him! I’m not going to discuss the ending scenes yet, but let it suffice to say that they make me very happy. And perhaps Arwen really is what Aragorn needs – someone to ground him a bit more, keep him at home, and worry about him from there.

Sam and Gollum and rabbits: You remember the scene – Sam is delighted to be cooking up some nice conies, and Gollum strongly protests them being cooked at all. It’s so cute! Well, maybe not cute, but certainly funny and a scene I enjoy rather a lot.

Oliphaunts: Those things are frightful, you know? I love how much Sam loves seeing them. And I really wish…correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t he have a cute little poem about them in the book? I wish they’d found some way to incorporate that into the movie. I always liked it. But yeah, when these oliphaunts first come on screen, all you can say is “Wow.”

Faramir and co: Have I mentioned yet that I really fell for Faramir this time around? Aragorn remains my hands-down-forever-favorite, but Faramir…he’s awesome and amazing and great and so cool. I love that he ends up getting together with Eowyn in the end. I love how he handles his men. And he’s just plain pretty great…I’m so glad he gets an awesome girl. As to his role in the third movie…well, we’ll come to that in that review. Oh, and all his men in green are awesome as well – they always remind me of Robin Hood.

Warg battle: Did y’all see Legolas’ flip onto a horse at the beginning of this? I don’t specifically remember noting it before, but watched it twice this time to make up. ;) And wow – that flip is amazing. Super cool, I tell you! And then of course, there’s Aragorn’s big fall off a cliff with a warg…and for a bit, you’re sure there’s no way he survived. So sad! But then, a scene for all those horse-lovers…he recovers with his horse’s help! Okay, even I admit it’s pretty cool! :)

Legolas’ hand: Strange name for a paragraph, right? But something that has bugged me in several movies (and this trilogy several times) is that the hands never look quite real. Especially Frodo’s hand. Looking at my own, I think it’s maybe because it doesn’t have enough lines and creases. Anyway, Legolas’? I was especially impressed that it actually did look real. He had to hold Aragorn’s cloak clasp for a minute. And it looked real – I liked that.

Aragorn again: Because we can’t have too many paragraphs about this guy. His hair? All wet and mildly dirty? Yes, it sounds disgusting…but I like it. A lot. And then! The scene where he pushes open those huge double doors to Theoden’s chamber is AWESOME. He just stumbles into there. So neat. Ummm…I might be fangirling? Just for fun. ;)

Legolas in general: He’s awesome. Strong, athletic, and let’s admit it – handsome, especially by Haldir. Sorry Haldir! As you saw in my last review, I was trying in vain to figure out why his eyes are so blue in some scenes, and so brown in others. Thankfully, Kiri Liz explained all in a comment on my last review – apparently, Orlando Bloom had to wear blue contacts because he had brown eyes. But the contacts bothered his eyes, so he ended up going without them, and having his eyes digitally altered later – except there were a few scenes they neglected to alter. Interesting, isn’t it? So yes – your eyes see right. Sometimes they’re definitely brown, others definitely blue. And he rocks them both.

Legolas and Gimli’s competition: Before I get into all of Helm’s Deep, let me just mention that I way love the competition that Legolas and Gimli have going. Counting how many orc enemies killed? And comparing? Such a boy thing…and I love it. As previously stated, those two rock!

Helm’s Deep: And here we go! First of all, the explosion that took out that large chunk of wall was very impressive. Really impressive. It’s all around an amazing battle – did I hear that it was the largest filmed in movie history until the third movie came out with the Battle of Pelennor Fields? And did you know that those poor actors spent about two months being drenched and frozen every night to get that looking the way it looks. Amazing dedication. I love it when Legolas sleds down the stairs on a shield. I love it when Gimli and Aragorn get onto the bridge and start knocking off orcs left and right. Aragorn has to toss Gimli to get him there…remember the quote in the first movie about nobody tossing a dwarf? Here, Gimli lets himself be tossed with a precaution: “Don’t tell the elf.” And then Gandalf arrives! Oh joy. It’s a stunning arrival – the sun and all reminds me a bit of the trolls-to-stone scene in Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey. Yay Gandalf! That guy rocks.

Ents vs. Saruman: I’m so glad I’m not on Saruman’s side in that scene, because a battle against an ent? Not something I’m interesting in experiencing. It’s so simply smashing when they break the dam and let the river wash down and fill all the holes and put out the fires and take over everything. Yay ents! Great to have on your side in a war. There are some pretty amazing effects with that water!

Frodo and Sam’s friendship: I especially love it at the end, in those final scenes.

That’s it! Wow, I really thought this review would be shorter, but it wasn’t, despite a shorter list…well, brace yourselves for Review 3! It’ll be a REAL whopper. :)

Leave a comment! What are your thoughts on this movie? Is it your favorite? Which people should I have mentioned more? Did I happen to mention anything you didn’t notice before? Can’t wait to discuss this with y’all!

Note: I’ll reply to comments on Tuesday. :)


Kiri Liz said...

Huzzah! TTT review!

Guilty... I know who each and every one of those actors is. And Bernard Hill, Karl Urban, and David Wenham. And a whole ton of others.

Hmm.... I would have to disagree with you on the point of Aragorn. He has never really been a favorite of mine. I love his loyalty to his friends, and yes, he is steadfast in his love for Arwen, but I didn't appreciate that he was willing for his throne to stay in the hands of the Steward and for his country to fall into the hands of the enemy while he was elsewhere. Sure, maybe his motives were pure, thinking as he was trying to help Middle Earth as a whole, helping Frodo destroy the Ring and fighting Sauron, but I was slightly disappointed he never took more interest in Gondor, his own people. But on the happier side, he did learn to take that interest.

But we won't harp on that. I'm sorry... I've always liked Faramir better than Aragorn. Unloved by his father, torn from the brother he admired so... you couldn't help but feel sorry for him. Yes, I was glad he fell in love with Eowyn at the end. Faramir deserved someone like her. Personally, I've never liked matching up Eowyn with Aragorn. They didn't suit each other, not in my opinion. But that's just me.

Oh... did you know that they filmed Eowyn's and Faramir's wedding but took it out of the final cut of the film? PJ still hasn't released the footage, much to many people's dismay. Epic failure!

Haha! I love watching the Three Hunters! It's so funny to see Gimli huffing and puffing far behind the other two, poor guy. You'd expect Legolas, the elf, to be the one crossing the terrain without a problem, but I always laugh when the film shows long shots, and Aragorn's in the lead. Apparently, VM was more in shape than OB. :D

I think TTT may be my favorite of the trilogy, but only just, *just* slightly. There are so many great scenes in this one, great lines, great characters, great fights, etc. LOTR is epic. 'Nuff said.

Analiese said...

Great post!! A couple comments: I loved the battle and Helm's Deep too - it's more impressive at night, and with the rain falling and all it was pretty cool. Secondly, I'm sorry but I disagree - I wish Aragorn had married Eowyn. I just like her better. :D I think FotR is my favorite of the three, but they're all awesome. Thanks for the fun review!!

Hamlette said...

I feel like Aragorn and Eowyn are too alike, and they would not have been happy together. Eowyn needs someone to soften her, and so does Aragorn, if that makes any sense. Someone who reaches their kinder, gentler side and gets them to embrace it. Aragorn and Eowyn are both proud and strong, both warriors -- I think they would have ended up fighting a lot.

Sam and his rabbits -- that's probably one of my favorite scenes in the trilogy! Just for a little bit, he can be happy and at peace again. Also, we quote his bit about potatoes all the time. "What's taters, Precious?" "Poh-tay-toes. Mash 'em, roast 'em, stick 'em in a stew." :-D

And I LOVE Aragorn all dirty and bedraggled and wet, as he sunders the doors of Edoras. I have little patience for Aragorn when he's clean, as he always seems to end up wearing pajamas. But when he's got the Strider look, I love him a lot. (Just not as much as Boromir, who is always wonderful, clean or dirty.)

Kimberly Snell said...

We have the Extended Version of all three and it takes my family about 2 months to watch them. Anyone who has only seen the theatrical version is missing out!

Katelyn said...

The above comment is mine-I didn't realize that my Mom was still logged in! opps....

Charity U said...

KIRI LIZ -- good job knowing them all! I know who Karl Urban is, but not the others -- you definitely have me beat. :) It's true, Aragorn isn't perfect...but you're right, he learned. So glad Faramir and Eowyn got together! I wish we'd seen more of them though. Really? They filmed F&E's wedding and it's not viewable for us? SO SAD. I want to see that. A lot. We should start a petition or something...? ;) Poor Gimli, yes. And I always am a little surprised at how Aragorn's always leading -- guess he was the natural leader, so Legolas let him run ahead? TTT is a great movie, gotta agree. :)

ANALIESE -- Helm's Deep was pretty cool! Interesting...a person who wants Eowyn with Aragorn! We'll watch them again sometime and see what you think. :)

HAMLETTE -- Great thoughts, that's true...Aragorn and Eowyn do both need someone to soften them. It makes total sense. :) Ah yes, and Sam's quotes about potatoes are SO awesome! Love it. :) Woot for us wet, dirty, Aragorn fans! He's definitely best with the Strider look over the kingly look.

KATELYN, no problem with the mixed up accounts. :) I've seen parts of the extended versions, but not all -- really want to someday! I agree, every big LOTR fan needs to. :)