The Lord of the Rings : The Two Towers

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Today, we take a visit back to the one of the best loved epic fantasy stories of all time in the film form of the second book of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. This movie was far better than the first movie in the series, The Lord of the Rings : The Fellowship of the Ring. There was far more action once the boys split up, each little group taking their own course, but not of their own choice. Frodo and Sam are passing through Emyn Muil, looking for an southeastern route to get directly to Mordor. Merry and Pippin have been taken captive by Saruman’s Uruk-hai, and are heading to Isengard. Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas are tracking down the Uruk-hai. Boromir was lost to madness and finally to some massive piercing of Uruk-hai arrows in the first film, and Gandalf disappeared when fighting the balrog of Morgoth in Moria. Saruman is looking to expand his influence over the nations of men in the southern part of Middle Earth, starting with the plains of Rohan. Luck is holding with Merry and Pippin, as Saruman knows one of the hobbits is carrying the One Ring, but he does not know which one, nor that the Ring is with Frodo. He tells his Uruk-hai to bring the hobbits back, unharmed and unspoiled. This gives Pippin the chance he needs to take advantage of Aragorn’s ranger skills to leave mark to show him where they are heading. Pippin matures much in this movie from being the spoiled, bumbling prankster heir to the ruling house of the Shire to becoming a real leader. Merry becomes quite a motivator when dealing with Treebeard and the other Ents in regards to fighting against Saruman. It is when they come to Fanghorn Forest that they learn that Gandalf survived his fight with the balrog, and has somehow “upgraded” his wizardly status.

Along the route to Mordor, Frodo’s burden is getting worse, and he is giving into the pull of the Ring as it gets closer to Mordor and Sauron. Frodo and Sam run into Smeagol/Gollum as they search for a way into Mordor. After much manipulation and begging on Gollum’s part, Gollum becomes their guide to Mordor, but they are captured by Faramir and his rangers. Faramir is a Captain of Gondor, a student of Gandalf, and brother to the late Boromir. He is always seeking approval from his father, Denethor, the steward of Gondor, but can never seem to get out of his brother’s shadow, even though he had Boromir’s love and support. He is unaware that Denethor’s mind is being poisoned through a palintir, a device used by Sauron to track the progression of the Ring’s travels. Faramir means to take the Ring back to Minas Tirith and to his father in Gondor’s capitol. While in Osgiliath, a horde of orcs and some Nazgul track down Frodo and come close to stealing the Ring away. Sam manages to get through to Faramir that their mission is to destroy the One Ring before it can be brought back to its master. Faramir lets them go, knowing their mission is far nobler than protecting the One Ring for Gondor.

Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas track down Merry and Pippin’s trail to find the Riders of Rohan, a group of elite calvary that patrol Rohan. Rohan is a nation with a Norse-like culture but a Mongol-style battle fervor in that they are best know for doing battle from horseback. The three encounter Eomer, a nephew of King Theoden of Rohan. they learn of a battle between the Uruk-hai and the Riders in which Merry and Pippin may have been caught up in. After searching the battleground, Aragorn tracks the hobbits’ escape into Fanghorn Forest. They know that the hobbits evaded Saruman, and make way for Edoras after meeting up with Gandalf to find out why Theoden has become such a shell of a king. Theoden has been put under a spell by Grima Wormtongue, an agent of Saruman, who has taken it upon himself to rule Rohan through the mad king in order to gain the king’s niece, Eowyn, as his mate.

There are intrigues everywhere, from Mordor to Rohan, and alliance that were once broken come back together, and always the hobbits are surprising us with their actions and ideas. The battle of Helm’s Deep was a great variation on the story of the Battle of Thermopylae. Even though in the book, the Galladrim archers where never brought in as artillery support, it worked well here. The thunderstorms were unexpected, but they were perfect for the dark setting in which this scene took place. I’m sure someone in the Uruk-hai extras said, “I hope we get this is in one take, this make-up is stifling,” then another orc said, “Could be worse, could be raining.”
And the gods decided to pull a little prank. Made for a great scene, though.

The Lord of the Rings : The Two Towers is non-stop action with a few breaks here and there, and still too much focus on the relationship between Arwen and Aragorn, when the true romance was between Eowyn of Rohan and Faramir of Gondor, but that just gets a passing glance in the last movie, which will be reviewed soon here are Musings. Still, too much artistic liberties were taken here. The movie is fine on its own merits, but needs just something more to make it a bit more credible.

I give this film a Musing review of ★★★★★☆