The continuing quest of Frodo and the Fellowship to destroy the One Ring. Frodo and Sam discover they are being followed by the mysterious Gollum. Aragorn, the Elf archer Legolas, and Gimli the Dwarf encounter the besieged Rohan kingdom, whose once great King Theoden has fallen under Saruman's deadly spell.Written by
At Helm's deep, several elves draw and shoot their bows (complete with sound effects) but no arrows are seen. See more »
[upon being exorcised]
Breathe the free air again, my friend.
[stands up from the throne]
Dark have been my dreams of late.
[looks at his hands]
Your fingers would remember their old strength better... if they grasped your sword.
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On the extended edition, John Noble, who plays Denethor, has his name typoed as John Nogle. See more »
In November 2003, an extended edition was released on DVD with over 40 minutes of new footage. The EE is a complete re-cut of the movie and almost every scene includes small changes in framing, pacing, dialogue or camera angle. Major changes are listed (spoiler warning):
After Frodo wakes up, there is a scene of Frodo and Sam descending a cliff with the help of the elvish rope. The title now appears over a panoramic shot of the hills.
There is a brief shot of Frodo and Sam huddled under their cloaks during a rain storm, with Gollum following.
After his taming, Gollum debates whether to take the hobbits to Mordor or not
The first scene with Merry and Pippin is expanded. It is made clear that there are two groups of orcs, one from Mordor and one from Isengard. They also force Merry to drink a vile orc draught.
In Saruman's first scene, he orders his orcs to cut down Fangorn forest to feed the fires of Isengard and the wildmen swear allegiance to him.
An extended sequence in which Eomer finds Theodred at the Fords of Isen and brings him back to Edoras.
When Eomer is banished, he is presented with a banishment order signed by King Theoden.
In the camp outside of Fangorn, extra dialogue makes it clear that the orcs think Merry or Pippin has the Ring. An orc sneaks up behind the hobbits and is about to attack them when he is beheaded (correcting a goof in the theatrical version). There is also a little more action when the Rohirrim massacre the orcs.
During the passage of the marshes, Gollum refuses to eat the elvish bread. There is additional dialogue between Frodo, Sam and Gollum.
Lots of extra dialogue in the scene where Gandalf reappears, including Legolas noting the the elves taught the trees to talk and Gandalf predicting that Merry and Pippin will rouse the Ents.
While taking the Hobbits to his home, Treebeard recites poetry that puts the hobbits to sleep. He then leaves them there, going off to summon the Ents.
During the ride to Edoras, Gandalf and the others camp for the night. Gandalf and Aragorn discuss the coming war and Frodo's quest.
After the Black Gate sequence is a new scene. Merry and Pippin drink from a stream near Treebeard's home and grow taller. They are then attacked by a tree before being rescued by Treebeard. Treebeard then tells them about the Entwives.
After Aragorn stops Theoden from killing Wormtongue, he extends his hand to Grima. Grima spits on it and then runs off.
A brief funeral scene for Theodred which includes Eowyn singing.
A new scene in which Aragorn calms Theodred's horse Brego and sets him loose. (This is the horse that later picks up Aragorn beside the stream).
A new scene in which Grima describes Aragorn to Saruman, who scoffs at the "Heir of Isildur".
Before leaving Edoras, Theoden assures his squire that they will return.
Extra dialogue when Sam and Frodo are captured by Faramir, emphasizing Faramir's dislike of war.
During the march to Helm's deep, Theoden tells Aragorn about Eowyn. Eowyn serves Aragorn a vile-looking stew during the trip and he tells her his remarkable age after she realizes he is one of the Dunedin.
Additional dialogue in Arwen and Aragorn's parting.
When Frodo and Sam are brought to the cave, they are told that Boromir's cloven horn was found. Faramir then remembers a dream of Boromir's funeral boat passing him on the river. This leads to an extended flashback of Boromir and Farmair reclaiming Osgiliath from Mordor. Denethor (their father) expresses his disappointment with Faramir and then sends Boromir to Rivendell to claim the Ring.
Faramir's men beat Gollum after catching him.
Right before the women and children are sent into the caves, Eowyn asks Aragorn to let her fight beside him.
During the preparation at Helm's Deep, there is a cut to the Entmoot. Treebeard tells the Hobbits the Ents have just finished saying "Good morning".
A little more fighting during the battle at Helm's Deep.
After Treebeard discovers the destroyed part of the forest and sounds the alarm, thousands of trees, the Huorns, depart to join the battle at Helm's Deep.
When the orcs retreat from Helm's Deep, they find a forest, made up of the Huorns, waiting to destroy them.
We find out who won the orc-killing contest between Gimli and Legolas.
After the destruction of Isengard, Merry and Pippen discover a rich larder of food, including a supply of pipe-weed from the Shire.
Faramir shows Frodo and Sam a way out of the city. He realized that Gollum's secret route is Cirith Ungol and advises Frodo not to take it, then threatens Gollum.
The final hour of The Two Towers is grand, terrifying, and epic on a biblical level.
The opening scene of The Two Towers provides an outstanding, yet very brief, taste of action, cinematography, and special effects, only to be matched (and far surpassed) in the final hour of the film. The stunning events of the third hour of The Two Towers are undoubtedly the centerpiece of the film, and while the first two hours serve finely as story development, they primarily build anticipation for the final hour, which mostly depicts the battle of Helm's Deep. More than anything else, the first two hours merely tease and torment the patient audience. It's a shame that such a gap has to exist between the first minute and the final hour, but I take no reservations in saying that despite how you feel about the first two hours of the film, the final hour will make the wait entirely worth its while.
As stated, the road to the battle of Helm's Deep can be enormously long and painful for any viewer aware of what breathtaking scenes await towards the end of the film. Perhaps The Two Towers' biggest fault is in its own accomplishments; the first two thirds of the film are well shot, well paced, and they necessarily and adequately progress the storyline, but when compared to the spectacular final hour, the first two hours seem uneventful and insignificant. However, to be fair, I feel that it's simply impossible to create two hours of film that could appropriately lead into the battle of Helm's Deep. It's difficult to comprehend how such scenes came to exist in the rather short amount of time Peter Jackson has had to create six hours (so far) of finished film. The battle of Helm's Deep is simply unreal; it's unlike any event that has come to pass since fantasy films gained, and regained, popularity.
As assumed, The Two Towers begins where The Fellowship of the Ring ended. The majority of the film follows four separate groups and their story lines: Frodo and Sam; Aragorn and Legolas, Merry and Pippin, and Saruman and his army. The performances live well up to the standards of the first film, with a particularly notable performance from Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn, whose role is significantly larger in The Two Towers. Aragorn satisfies a thirst for someone to root for, a thirst that was left partly unquenched in Fellowship. It's much easier to root for Aragorn than it is for Frodo; Aragorn has many more qualities of a leading man, a soldier, and a hero. More than once did the audience, filled mostly with academy voters, applaud the heroics of Aragorn. Gollum also shines in a much-welcomed large role, due to extremely realistic computer animation, and a fine performance from Andy Serkis, upon which the animation was modeled. In Fellowship, it was appropriate to consider Gollum one of the many great 'features' of the film. However, here he is more of a leading character and a 'star,' and his convincing dual-personality, stabbing voice, and well-choreographed body movements make him consistently eye-grabbing and the center of focus of nearly every scene in which he appears.
As was The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers is a visual delight. Those who have seen Fellowship are no doubt familiar with the beauty of the landscapes of New Zealand. The cinematography is, again, one of the best aspects of the film. The swooshing camera movements that follow the armies and horsemen throughout the fields are extremely satisfying in this post-Matrix era. The shots of the ascending enemy-laden ladders in the battle of Helm's Deep are terrifying and chillingly gorgeous all at once. The visual effects take an appropriate leap forward from those of the first film. While the visual effects in Fellowship were outstanding, the battle of Helm's Deep provides for the best application of CGI since the rippling waves of The Matrix's 'Bullet Time.' The battle of Helm's Deep features absolutely awe-inspiring and seamless integration of acting, stunts, and computer animation. Each orc seems to have its own personality, demonstrated in its movements and visual features. The masses of armies fight with strategy and true character, which I imagine is much harder to accomplish than animating thousands of identical clone troopers. The only problem I have with the visual department is the look of Gimli, the Treebeard. Gimli's visual features seem a bit childish and uninspired, inconsistent with the standards set by the rest of the film. But again, there is simply nothing that compares to the battle of Helm's Deep. George Lucas and the Wachowski brothers certainly have not created anything that approaches the grandness and magnificence of The Two Towers' final hour, and I doubt they will do so anytime soon.
In The Fellowship of the Ring, I had a few minor problems with Howard Shore's score. While I thought it was gorgeous and it established several very memorable themes, I don't think it handled the sentimental scenes (opening in the Shire, Gandalf's passing) properly. I thought it caved in to the melodrama a bit too much, resembling the emotions from James Horner's Titanic. However, I believe that The Two Towers requires the type of score which Howard Shore accomplishes best: dark, continuous, and unrelenting, as demonstrated in Se7en and Silence of the Lambs. The theme used in many of the action scenes in Fellowship (low brass, six notes repeated with a rest in between) is much more present in The Two Towers, appropriately. A brand new theme is also unveiled, the theme for Rohan, a prominent kingdom in Middle Earth. Rohan's theme is played more often than any other melody in the film, underscoring most of the memorable and heroic scenes with great effect. Howard Shore undeniably exhibits his skills as an 'A-list' composer, and with a possible double Oscar nomination this year for The Two Towers and Gangs of New York, he could get propelled to the very top of the 'A-list,' right beside John Williams and Hans Zimmer in terms of demand.
If not the picture itself, there should be a way to recognize and award the battle of Helm's Deep. The battle sequence alone represents successful filmmaking in its highest form. The choreography of the battle, the visual effects, the pacing, acting, cinematography, and music, all work together in perfection to achieve grand filmmaking which is as entertaining and enjoyable as film can be. For this very reason, no one, whether a fan of Fellowship or not, should miss The Two Towers.
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