Title: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Release Date: 18 December 2002
Director: Peter Jackson
Production Company: New Line Cinema | WingNut Films
The middle film of The Lord of the Rings trilogy is still an immensely entertaining movie, but it feels like a step back after the majesty of Fellowship. The biggest flaw in the movie is that it is an epic war movie that overshadows the quest of the hobbits, who I believe are the heart of the story. Helm’s Deep is given way too much significance, with scenes of Legolas (Orlando Bloom) surfing on a shield and elves dying in slow-motion to New Age music just making it all too silly.
When the movie does focus on hobbits, though, it excels. The growing burden of bearing the ring is deftly shown in Elijah Wood’s performance as Frodo and Sean Astin’s Sam’s efforts to support his friend. Andy Serkis does a remarkable job of bringing out the Gollum/Smeagol divide in an early motion-capture performance. Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin’s (Billy Boyd) adventures and alliance with the Ents is also well done. And I think Miranda Otto’s portrayal of Eowyn adds a necessary heroic women character without falling into the “strong woman” trope.
After my kids not showing much interest in The Fellowship of the Ring, this movie did win my daughter over, so that’s a plus! I wrote a review of this movie back in 2003 where I said basically the same thing, so you can see that my mind doesn’t change much in 18 years.