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The Fellowship of the Ring was a monumentally entertaining film, the
Return of the King was an amazing wrap-up to the epic of our times, but
the most dramatic moment for me came at the end of the Two Towers.
After 3 hours of sweeping vistas, excellent Shakespearean acting, and
otherworldly sights and sounds, we are treated to a scene that still
sends chills down my back and rouses me like nothing since the final
scene in Rocky. A lone rider (we all know who), set against the top of
a hill, massing legions of horsemen behind him. He appears just as the
heroes are losing all hope. Once he begins his descent down the hill
with his army behind him, the camera begins a slow pan over the top and
down with them, showing the size and scale of their forces. The evil
army below looks up with surprise, a bright light fills the screen, the
camera focuses on the lead rider (again, we all know who) who lets out
a wrenching battle cry, the music swells to unbelievable heights, and I
am swept away like I've never been before.
This is cinema at its very best.
Problem with LOTR films is that they are always going to be compared to
books and peoples imaginations - and those of us with better imaginations
than others often think of cooler things they'd rather have seen in the
movie than others, or shown in different ways.
Getting away from that what you have isn't worth a film. It's a slice of a slice of a slice of a greater whole that was never going to be perfectly encapsulated into 12 movies - let alone 3 and let alone 3 with sum total of 3 years planning taking place prior to making the first film and then a continuous sequence of production. That doesn't lend kindly to perfection by any stretch of the imagination - and it shows. Because it's only a slice if you watch it and haven't got the background to fill in the gaps then all you have is a mediocre story, mediocre emotional value and very little that you can actually get your teeth into. You never get any kind of attachment to the characters - Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas are getting on my nerves already and I was banking on Jackson straying completely from the book and bumping those two off - meanwhile Frodo and Sam look destined to lead a clandestine homosexual arrangement, because that's what it is - a big boys book of camping in woods and fending off mystical beasties.
Maybe if you watch all 3 films end to end it'd make sense - but right now the first film stands alone as an excellent piece of work, almost worthy of Tolkiens words whilst the second film goes back on the principle of 'enlightenment' and filling in background gaps by throwing everything in quickly and with little or no care for the people who haven't read the book. It sooooooo desperately needed a voice over, a few more historical flashbacks, a little more time introducing and attention paid to rather important characters such as Boromirs brother etc.
Anyway. CGI scenery is 'good' so long as you ignore the glaring wobbly bits (such as the Big Gate scene closing on the ranks of filed evil men) dodgy editing and inability (Still!) to get shadows and depth right. Sometimes matte paintings are the way to go if you can't realistically do it using a computer. I know that doesn't allow for big panning motions across mighty castles on hilltops etc but quite frankly I don't care much for this scenic extravaganza, I'd rather them cut the wasteful 15 or so minutes of watching people run, or horses slowly ride etc and have some background info - or at least give us a voice over with some pointers in the meantime. CGI creatures are on the whole well done, but again look like plastecine (or is plastacine?). Gollum stands apart in this respect as he is actually surprisingly well done. However, the artists could have done with actually "looking" at the effects the lighting in the scene had on the actors. Too often you'd see Sam or Frodo with their face half in shadow, then Gollum sticking out like a sore thumb because his 'shadow' doesn't come from any source within the scene.
Oh - and with all this CGI going on, nobody thought of fixing Legolas eyes. If we're going to see them so often in the film as he stares off into the middle distance and makes some profoundly obvious statement - then the least they can do is make them the same colour throughout.
Despite all this - it ranks as probably the greatest Sword+Fantasy type film. Unfortunately considering it's only up against B-Movie Conan and the hit'n'miss Legend and the lacklustre Dungeons&Dragons this isn't much to brag about. However, it does go an awful long way towards making Sword+Fantasy movies respectable. Hopefully someone will now be brave enough to take on the far more movie friendly "Dragonlance Chronicles" (Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Winter Night, Spring Dawning etc) and do them proper justice.
It's an 8. But only because I have an odd taste in movies admittedly, which would put Spaceballs as a 10. I apologise in advance for this travesty of judgement.
I really really wanted to love this movie. I loved Fellowship, I found it
nearly flawless. I give a 10/10 for the acting and the special effects. If
I have never read the books, I would have been absolutely flawed by this
movie. Some of the changes detracted from this movie, but not terribly.
But the fundemental changed made to Faramire (compare him in the book to the movie - not merely changed but the opposite) seriously undermined the whole plot of the trilogy.
Still, I have this an 8/10. On its own merits, it is excellent. But changes were made that weakened the story for no good reason...
The people who vote against this movie or didn't see it, or just hate
it for hatred. This is the movie that changed the movie industry and
set foot for the digital actors (3D Animation). This movie is a living
legend, a god, and will rule for a century in my opinion.
Seriously, if you have not seen this trilogy, go and see it as soon as possible, as it is not just a movie about medieval times, it has everything a real movie should: Beautiful people (not a single ugly face), amazing art, incredible places (looks like heaven with skies of many colors, water and so much more). The acting is superb, the best in the world, they really hired the BEST out there, and as far as I can see, the movie was awesome because they did not allowed the motion picture to be corrupted with "political" reasons, so, all the actors, Post-production, sound, effects and everything else was really the BEST, no corrupted piece!!!!
The story is immortal, will get you in tears no matter what you are made of. The characters... so well done!!!
Do you know why this movie is so good? I will tell my opinion on it: I think it is THAT good, because Peter Jackson worked on it for more than 10 years (was forced to wait 10 years because no one wanted to give him the green light to shoot), that is why, it is a good way to ensure a good quality.
Vote: 8.8 (rounded up to 9)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is an amazing movie that any Tolkien fan, adventure fan, or war fan should see. Acting: Elijah Wood as Frodo is amazing. He really captures the pain that the poor little hobbit must be going through. Ian McKellen as Gandalf is excellent,even though he has a much smaller role than in FOTR. Viggo Mortenson as Aragorn was another good choice and you could really experience what he must be going through. John Rys-Davies was really good as Gimli, but his jokes got really tiring before the end. Sean Astin as Sam fit the description of good old Sam well and also acted out the character perfectly. Bernard Hill as Theoden, Brad Dourif as Grima, Miranda Otto as Eowyn, Karl Urban as Eomer, David Wenham as Faramir and Liv Tyler as Arwen were all excellent actors. Gollum was really amazing. Andy Serkis deserves some award, for the perfect cat coughing up fur ball voice for Gollum, and kudos to the design team who made the motion capture suit. I wish we could have seen more of Christopher Lee as he is a superb actor. Orlando Bloom as Legolas, on the other hand, sucked. He had absolutely no emotion and if it wasn't for his fighting scenes then the character would have been totally wasted. Dominic Monaghan as Merry and Billy Boyd as Pippin were also good actors. Directing: Peter Jackson did another excellent job in this movie, though as i said in my FOTR review, his career as a horror movie maker hurt him. The scene where all the dead Orc bodies were piled up and one of their heads was on a pole wasn't really necessary (and then Gimli was going through the burning remains (hmmmm orc barbecue), and there was another stupid scene were you saw the Uruks being born out of mud sacs. Screenplay: Good, the only scene they needed was the one in the extended edition of the flashback between Faramir, Boromir and Denethor. That scene was really necessary to describe Faramirs character Special Effects: Too amazing for words. The Battle of Helms Deep was so perfect you couldn't tell what was CGI and what wasn't. Gollum didn't look like a fake. The battle of Isengard was also well done and when the ents broke the dam and Isengard was flooded i was reminded of a disaster flick. The special effects alone were worth the price of admission. Other: Again the cinematography was beautiful and just jaw-dropping gorgeous. Makes me really want to visit New Zealand just to see the places they filmed. Rohan, and Edoras especially were beautiful. Howard Shore's score was excellent. The Rohan theme song fit the beautiful scenery perfectly. Overall: An excellent movie worth seeing. If the filmmakers weren't so stuck up about themselves this movie would be even better.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Since I have read the books once, my review will of course be weighted
somewhat by that.
First, let me try to see the movie as a new film, no preferences, just another movie. It is nearly 3 hours long, a format very hard to master. You have to keep the viewer interested at all time not to let him/her fall asleep. This is mainly done by effects in this movie, which I think is not enough. The plot does not contain the sufficient amount of suspense, nor does the music. The plot vanishes in monumental 20 minutes scenes just saying: "There was a fight" or "He is the bad guy". Scenes like that are just there to restate something that was even too obvious the first time it was shown. Accompanied by an equally monumental musical score this constant insulting of your intelligence just makes your mind go numb. Peter Jackson could have said all this movie says in one hour instead of three, if he was a good director. A film is only as good as it's story.
Some things are of course good. The casting is great (with some exceptions), the acting is as good as one can expect, the scenery is good (OK, the barren waste since a thousand years is a lush forest, but who cares? I don't) and the special effects are marvelous and incredible. Sadly, that's all there is to it. I really wanted this trilogy to be the best, the greatest films ever created. I hoped that the second part would be better than the far from perfect first movie, but I got brutally let down. Beneath the crust of pure eye candy this is a hollow void.
The conclusion is: Go see this movie, but don't expect anything but a nice computer demo. The animators deserve the credits, the "director" should be ashamed.
Corrolary: Since Peter Jackson has written his own plot I would like to state some of the major differences. People saying that the books are just good vs. evil have probably never read them.
Warning, some plot spoiling ahead!!! (I think someone else already spoiled it, but ok)
An example of polarization of good-evil: The ambitious fellow Saruman believes he can beat Sauron and thus save Middleearth if he gets hold of the one ring (and he probably could). He is not evil, he has his own way of seeing things.
This is reduced to him being the all evil lackey of the all evil Sauron.
An example of how the importance of CHANCE is ripped away:
Pippin (I think) by curiosity uses the palantir when it is by chance aimed at Mordor and sees Sauron who ask: "Who are you?" Pippin answers: "A hobbit" before he is interrupted by his friends. This event leads Sauron to the (erroneous) conclusion that Saruman has the ring. Why? Since it is very painful to use the palantir, none of the good guys would do it to a hobbit, ergo Saruman made him do it. Ergo, Saruman wants to show Sauron that he has the hobbit i. e. the ringbearer and the ring. Sauron thinks Saruman has the ring and acts according to that, which is the only reason he empties Mordor of troops. If the alliance has the ring an attack is possible. Aragorn is also using the palantir in a somewhat taunting way to enhance this. In doing this Sauron opened the only possibility for Frodo and Sam to reach mt. Doom without getting caught by patrols. When he realize that the ring is in Mordor, it is too late. All this due to a little hobbits curiosity, a factor Sauron didn't and couldn't take into account.
In the films this simply isn't. Everything is deterministic. Everything is planned and thought of, thus actually making it impossible for Sauron to lose.
More examples could easily be stated. However, I only considered things that are greatly contradictory to the spirit of the books, not actual plot misses which are numerous.
/The disappointed storyliner
Though many would say that The Two Towers was excellent and some would say brilliant, I have different opinions. I have seen this movie four times, and each time, my opinon changes. The first time I saw it, I had no idea what was happening, so I basically slept for three hours. However, the second time I went, I went with a Lord of the Rings fan who was explaining the story to me nonstop. It was better that time, but still not that good. The third time I understood it completely, but the fourth time I got bored of it. I think it would have been a better movie if it was a little easier to understand. Most people enjoy these movies because they have read the books, but the producers have to realize that some of us don't.
I must admit that I did enjoy the first film and although it perhaps
was a little slow in setting up the story it still remains a fairly
compelling watch overall. Sadly I didn't get that same feeling when
watching this second instalment for the following reasons...
Firstly, splitting all of the characters up and trying to show the story from various different perspectives is a risky strategy. If it's done wrong then it can make the film feel unfocused and not particularly interesting and sadly this second instalment falls into this very trap.
The film flits about from character to character, story arc to story arc without giving any particular character or story arc chance to develop or grow properly. It doesn't help that sometimes there can be long gaps from one story arc to another meaning that you may have forgotten what was going on in the previous story arc? I got the feeling that Jackson was trying to weave the stories together, but it seems that this isn't one of his strengths.
The second thing that bothered me slightly about this film was the character of Gollum - for some reason I felt that we were being teased in the first film that he was an interesting character that's shrouded in mystery. Whilst his character is fun for a bit, his repetitive rantings and antics do start to grate after a while.
I was also disappointed that Gandalf and Saruman weren't given much screen time here - the former seemed to just drift in and out of the story and the latter was only really featured towards the end. Although their absences were perhaps necessary to the story I found them to be the most compelling characters and was a bit annoyed that they both weren't in the film more often.
The final battle sequences are nicely staged and once again the performances from the principal cast were excellent - Bernard Hill's superb performance helped the film greatly when McKellen and Lee weren't on screen. John Rhys Davies also provided some excellent comic relief which again helped to improve my overall opinion of this film.
The Two Towers is still a worthy film that's relatively enjoyable, but I just felt that by splitting the characters up and in establishing separate story arcs that it felt a little disjointed and lacked the smooth and more simplistic flowing of the story in the first film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After falling asleep watching The Fellowship I decided to give the two
towers a chance.
It sadly is more of the same unimaginative black and white world depiction like the Fellowship. There are only 2 kinds of people, the good guys and the bad guys in the Lord of the rings movies.
The good guys look nice, fresh, heroic and smart. The bad guys have hideous faces, wear old clothes, are conniving and not too bright. In the two towers Frodo continues his way to Mordor to destroy the ring. This time accompanied and guided by Gollum, some CGI created creature. Again they walk an awful lot and encounter some danger which they narrowly manage to avoid. At the end of the movie though, they still haven't managed to make it so well need a 3rd movie to find out if Frodo will succeed. I have a strange feeling that he just might.
The 2 captured Hobbits escape and seek refuge in a walking tree. I've been told they spend 58 hours per frame to make it look real. To me it looked straight out of Sesamestreet and i had trouble not to laugh.
Suddenly Gandalf appears out of nowhere and wasn't killed after all in his demon battling in film number 1. Ahh, what a shame. You really cant believe anything in this movie. After some bickering in the land of horsemen we see a huge battle between the (300) good guys and the (10000) bad guys. Off course, the good guys win. How surprising. By then I finally dozed off into a deep sleep whilst knowing this is a perfect film for children aged 3 to 10. It wasn't as bad as The Fellowship but it was still waaaaaaaaaaaaay too predictable and simplistic. I didn't give it a 1 but a 3 because I did like the cinematography and the locations where nicely chosen.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is an extremely intriguing film, the battle scenes, especially Helm's Deep were amazingly well done!!!! I can't believe Peter did so well! Some say that the film was too long, I say it wasn't long enough, not even the super awesome extended version! There are very few director's that revolutionize Hollywood, but I say Peter is one of the best!!! He portrayed everything with amazing visual effects, the huge armies and epic battles! Treebeard is sweet! He is so treelike and was well done, like the picture in my head! This movie has no flaws, and is one of the best! Definitely this trilogy is the greatest epic of all time! Stories like these will always live on in the hearts of fanatics like me!
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