The burden of the ring bearer grows
stronger as the ring of power starts to enforce its influence onto Frodo Baggins
(Wood) as he and Sam (Austin) continue their journey to Mordor. Aragorn (Mortensen),
Legolas (Bloom) and Gimli (Rhys-Davies) persist in their pursuit of the Uruk-hai
that have taken Merry (Monaghan) and Pippin (Boyd). Meanwhile Saruman (Lee)
and the evil Lord Sauron are creating an army with one purpose, to plunge the
realm of Middle earth into darkness.
The second part of
Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy is here and it is even more jaw
dropping than the first.
on from The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers thrusts you straight into
the action and doesn't let go until nearly three hours later. Peter Jackson
takes you into Middle Earth, creating a world that seems real, making it like
you are watching a piece of history unfold before your eyes.
All of the surviving
cast from the Fellowship return with Viggo Mortensen coming into his own.
His portrayal of Aragorn will be remembered as one of the great big-screen
heroes as he excels in the role. He has the most screen time of all of the
major characters and it is thoroughly deserved as he takes command of every
scene he is in as we witness Aragorn grow into the King he is destined to
become. He is aided by his companions in arms Legolas and Gimli, performed
to perfection again by Orlando Bloom and John Rhys-Davies, who provides much
of the movie's comic relief. Elijah Wood and Sean Astin have more drama to
deal with as Frodo and Sam as they try and cope with the power of the Ring
starting to consume Frodo. They do this very well, with Elijah capturing his
character's despair and need for the ring superbly. Sir Ian McKellen is as
good as ever, returning as Gandalf and Christopher Lee makes Saruman even
more evil, but both only have limited screen time in this part of the story.
Hugo Weaving and Liv Tyler return as Elrond and Arwen but while their screen
time is also limited they bring the Elf's predicament of whether to get involved
in war again to life with their heart felt performances. Dominic Monaghan
and Billy Boyd move Merry and Pippin away from their comic relief limitations
of the first movie as they release there is more at stake than just where
they are going to find time for second breakfast.
Joining the established
cast is a throng of new characters that open up new story elements to the
fantasy trilogy. Chief among them is Bernard Hill's Théoden, the King of Rohan,
one of the last strong holds of men and the target of Saruman's aggression.
His performance brings a sadness and then dignity to the role. Miranda Otto
is the beautiful Éowyn, Théoden's niece who has an eye for Aragorn and David
Wenham is Faramir, Boromir's brother and the latest to be tempted by the ring.
As Frodo and Sam continue
their perilous journey to Mordor, they are joined by the star of the movie,
Gollum. He is the most convincing computer generated character that has ever
been seen on film (for now) but he would be nothing without the performance
of Andy Serkis, who provides his voice and all the movements that the boffins
over at the WETA visual effects house used to create Gollum's character. Serkis's
vocal talents bring the schizophrenic river-dweller to live, with the argument
between Gollum and Sméagol been one of the best character driven scenes in
the movie. But it's the way he interacts with Frodo, Sam and his surrounding
environment that makes him so astonishing, if it wasn't for his eyes, that
give away the fact that he is CG as they are quite poorly animated at times,
you'd think he was a real character.
WETA Workshop has
moved the goal posts again when it comes to special effects. Every other SFX
house in the world will watch this movie in awe as the boundaries of visual
effects are pushed beyond their limits. As well as the unbelievable Gollum,
we have Wargs, Fell beasts, Ents and every other beast and monster of Middle
Earth, the incredible models, armour, weapons, sets and scenery are all provided
by the Workshop. Their tour-de-force is the battle of Helm's Deep. Ten thousand
Orcs and Uruk-hai with one purpose, to destroy the race of men. This is a
visual feast and one of the best battle sequences ever put to film.
Howard Shore beautiful
score complements the visuals superbly. Rising high drama and moments of tenderness
and loss are stunningly accompanied by musical renditions that will stir the
soul and evoke every emotion.
A lot of the credit
has to go to the driving force behind the project, Peter Jackson. With every
frame of this and the previous picture, you can tell this is a labour of love
from someone who leads a team and cast that is totally devoted to the material.
This is a humongous task and, up to now, they have delivered big time and
are two thirds through producing a piece of cinematic history that will be
loved for generations.
The movie is in every
way as good as the first, if not better in places but it is unfair to compare
the two, as they are part of one large story. You do have to have seen The
Fellowship of the Ring to understand what is going on however. The only problem
I could find with the movie is that we have to wait until Christmas 2003 to
see the final chapter, The Return of the King.
2 Disc Version
- On the Set - The Lord of the
Rings: The Two Towers
- Return to Middle Earth
- 8 Featurettes (Forces of Darkness,
Sounds of Middle-earth, Edoras & Rohan Culture, Creatures, Gandalf the White,
Arms & Armor, Helm’s Deep, Gollum)
- Music Video: Gollum's Song by
- Ten-minute "Return of the King"
- a preview of the 'Two Towers'
extended DVD edition
- Sean Astin's short film "The
Long and Short of It" (with 'making of' featurette)
Series™ Special Extended DVD Edition Content Overview
The Feature Feature (approx. 223 minutes)- Over 40 minutes of new and extended
scenes were added by Peter Jackson, including 200 new digital effects and
new score by Howard Shore: Anamorphic widescreen 16x9 (2.35:1) version of
the film Dolby Digital EX Surround Sound DTS ES 6.1 Stereo Surround
Four audio commentaries:
Audio Commentary 1: The Director and Writers
Peter Jackson (Director/Co-Writer/Producer) Fran Walsh (Writer/Co-Producer)
Philippa Boyens (Co-Write)
2: The Design Team
Richard Taylor (WETA Workshop Creative Supervisor) Tania Rodger (WETA Workshop
Manager) Grant Major (Production Designer) Ngila Dickson (Costume Designer)
Alan Lee (Conceptual Designer) John Howe (Conceptual Designer) Dan Hennah
(Supervising Art Director/Set Decorator) Chris Hennah (Art Department Manager)
3: The Production/Post-Production Team
Barrie Osborne (Producer) Mark Ordesky (Executive Producer) Andrew Lesnie
(Director of Photography) Mike Horton and Jabez Olssen (Editors) Rick Porras
(Co-Producer) Howard Shore (Composer) Jim Rygiel (Visual Effects Supervisor)
Joe Letteri (WETA Digital Effects Supervisor) Ethan Van der Ryn (Supervising
Sound Editor/Co-Designer) Mike Hopkins (Supervising Sound Editor) Randy Cook
(WETA Animation Designer & Supervisor) Christian Rivers (WETA VFX Art Director)
Brian Van't Hull (WETA VFX Cinematographer) Alex Funke (Miniatures Director
4: The Cast
Elijah Wood (Frodo) Liv Tyler (Arwen) Sean Astin (Sam) John Rhys-Davies (Gimli)
Billy Boyd (Pippin) Dominic Monaghan (Merry) Orlando Bloom (Legolas) Christopher
Lee (Saruman) Sean Bean (Boromir) Bernard Hill (Théoden) Miranda Otto (Éowyn)
David Wenham (Faramir) Brad Dourif (Grima) Karl Urban (Éomer) John Noble (Denethor)
DISCS 3-4 :
Two discs of all-new bonus content, including multiple documentaries, galleries
and interactive maps. Documentaries that were started with The Lord of the
Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Special Extended DVD Edition are continued
here, delving deep into the stories and experiences unique to The Two Towers.
DISCS 3 - The
Appendices Part III: "The Journey Continues...
" J.R.R. Tolkien - Origins of Middle-earth (Video Documentary)
From Book to Script - Finding the Story (Video Documentary)
Designing and Building Middle-earth
Designing Middle-earth (Video Documentary)
Weta Workshop (Video Documentary)
The Peoples of Middle-earth
The Realms of Middle-earth
The Taming of Smeagol (Video Documentary)
Andy Serkis Animation Reference (Video Documentary)
Gollum "Stand-in" (Video Documentary)
Middle-earth Atlas (Tracing the journeys of the Fellowship) (Interactive map)
New Zealand as Middle-earth (Interactive map)
DISC 4 - The
Appendices Part IV: "The battle for Middle-earth begin..."
Filming "The Two Towers"
Warriors of Middle-earth (Video Documentary)
Cameras in Middle-earth (Video Documentary)
"Big-atures" (Video Documentary)
The Flooding of Isengard Animatic
Weta Digital (Video Documentary)
Refining the Story (Video Documentary)
Music and Sound
Music for Middle-earth (Video Documentary)
The Soundscapes of Middle-earth (Video Documentary)
Sound Demonstration: "Helm's Deep"
"The Battle for
Helm's Deep is over ..." (Video Documentary)
Lord Of the Rings: The Two Towers collector's DVD Gift Set released
on the same day, will comprise the following:
contents will be presented in packaging illustrated by famed artist , Alan
Special Extended DVD Edition of The Lord Of the Rings: The Two Towers
Collectible Gollum polystone statue created by Sideshow Weta
"The Evolution of Gollum" exclusive: Bonus DVD on the Weta Workshop and how
the Gollum statue was created, featuring interviews with Peter Jackson, Richard
Taylor, the cast and more!
A printed companion piece showing how Gollum evolved from pencil sketch to
sculpted maquette to digital character