Derek Winnert

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This article was written on 08 Jul 2013, and is filled under Reviews.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers ***** (2002, Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Andy Serkis, Miranda Otto, Bernard Hill, Brad Dourif, David Wenham) – Classic Movie Review 33

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The 2002 middle film in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Two Towers, is a must-see treat for all those following J R Tolkien’s great adventure, set in a time of turmoil in the land of Middle-earth, and charting the epic battle of good against evil.

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The first film, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, opened in 2001 to widespread critical acclaim, took $860 million at box-offices worldwide and was nominated for 13 Oscars. It won four: Best Cinematography for Andrew Lesnie, Best Makeup for Peter Owen and Richard Taylor, Best Original Score for Howard Shore and Best Visual Effects for Jim Rygiel, Randall William Cook, Richard Taylor and Mark Stetson.

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The new film was nominated for six Oscars. It won two: Best Visual Effects (Jim Rygiel, Joe Letteri, Randall William Cook, Alex Funke) and Best Sound Editing Ethan Van der Ryn, Mike Hopkins). On a budget of $94million, it grossed  $340million in the US, and took an amazing £13million on its opening Weekend in the UK.

It begins where it left off in the hills of Emyn Muil, where the lost little Hobbits Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) are being followed by a mysterious creature called Gollum (a computer-regenerated Andy Serkis, who proves a major hit turn). The shifty Gollum promises to guide them to the Black Gates of Mordor.

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Meanwhile, the wizard Gandalf (a just perfect Ian McKellen) has been reborn as Gandalf the White and reminds the hero Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) of his destiny to unite the besieged Rohan kingdom with Gondor – the last remaining stronghold of Human resistance. And so the divided Fellowship has to make its stand against Sauron’s new ally Saruman (Christopher Lee) and his hordes of Isengard.

The Two Towers brings back the surviving favourites from the first film, and introduces a treasure trove of new characters, such as the beautiful Eowyn (Miranda Otto), the bewitched Rohan king Theoden (Bernard Hill), the faithless Wormtongue (Brad Dourif) and the human Faramir (David Wenham).

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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is consistently exciting throughout, though the breathtaking 40-minute-long Battle of Helm’s Deep sequence is one of the most thrilling and amazing ever committed to celluloid. The Two Towers is a second wizard from NZ, alright.

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‘In the first film, The Fellowship travels as a unit,’ says 21-year-old star Elijah Wood. ‘In the second story each character has an individual journey. The world becomes larger, so it’s a lot more interesting dramatically and visually.’ Although the entire trilogy was filmed at the same time in one extraordinary undertaking, cast and crew were reassembled in New Zealand in summer 2001 for spectacular re-shoots to make the second film even more amazing than the first.

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‘The second movie was always going to be the most complicated in the writing stage,’ says Elijah. ‘It was the most difficult of the films to infuse with heart, so it was great to go back and make it more emotional.’

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The Special Extended DVD Edition has 42 minutes of new and extended scenes added by Peter Jackson, and run a massive 222 minutes. The final instalment, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, appeared in 2003.

© Derek Winnert 2013 Classic Movie Review 33

Link to Derek Winnert’s home page for more reviews: http://derekwinnert.com/

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