After watching The Fellowship of the Ring I was curious to see what else was in store for the companions of the Shire and their friends and allies. This outdid the first one. Lots of action and more beautiful vistas and sights plus that epic battle sequence at one point in the film (you'll see!). It reminds me so much of those medieval battles in the Middle Ages but ten times bigger. Plus we see some new faces in the course of the story. If you enjoyed the first Lord of the Rings film, don't wait! See this followup!
RELEASED IN 2002 and directed by Peter Jackson, "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" adapts the second part of JRR Tolkien's popular fantasy trilogy about adventures on Middle-Earth. The surviving 'Fellowship' of the first film has been divided into three small groups for this one: The Hobbits Frodo and Sam (Elijah Wood and Sean Astin) team-up with the mad Gollum (Andy Serkis) to make their way to Mordor, but are captured by Faramir (David Wenham), the brother of the deceased Boromir. Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas the Elf (Orlando Bloom) and Gimli the Dwarf (John Rhys-Davies) encounter the once-great King Theoden (Bernard Hill), who has fallen under the spell of Saruman (Christopher Lee) via his devious minion Grima Wormtongue (Brad Dourif). Meanwhile the Hobbits Pippin and Merry (Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan) try to enlist the help of huge tree creatures. Gandalf is also on hand (Ian McKellen). These story threads culminate in the great Battle at Helms Deep in the third hour. This three-hour fantasy/adventure starts out more engaging than the first film, which was laden by its overlong, convoluted and (for the most part) unnecessary prologue. Like that movie, the characters are colorful, the tale is imaginative, there's a lot of brutal action rounded out by quieter moments and everything LOOKS and SOUNDS great. Unfortunately, after the first act, Jackson opts for CGI porn (excessive use of CGI with the corresponding dizzying visual effects). The first film did this too, but this one ups the ante and so there's not as much spectacular New Zealand cinematography (i.e. real forests, mountains, rivers, etc.). If cartoony CGI is your thang then you'll likely appreciate this installment more than me. There are other problems: While the characters are imaginative, they're also shallow and rather dull, at least for mature people who require more depth to maintain their interest. Also, the wide-spanning (meandering) story with numerous characters and hard-to-remember names tends to be disengaging. I was never much captivated by the characters and their causes, although uber-fans of Tolkien might be. Another problem is the lack of prominent female protagonists. We have Miranda Otto as Éowyn, Théoden's niece, who falls in love with the noble Aragorn and that's about it, except for cameos by Liv Tyler as Arwen and Cate Blanchett as Galadriel. "Mythica: A Quest for Heroes" (2014) cost LESS THAN $100,000 to make, which is a mere fraction of the $94 million it cost to make this blockbuster and the filmmakers knew enough to include a couple of prominent babes as key protagonists in the story. Despite these negatives, "The Two Towers" was an ultra-ambitious undertaking and is a must for fantasy/adventure aficionados who liked the first movie. THE MOVIE RUNS 2 hours 59 minutes and was shot in New Zealand. GRADE: B-/C+