Watching Series: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

We Revisit The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Movies

by , and | December 11, 2014 | Comments

In anticipation of the upcoming release of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, we here at RT decided to take a look back at the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the first two films of the Hobbittrilogy. Our latest installment covers The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which editors Tim Ryan and Ryan Fujitani rewatched for some fresh perspective.

The Fellowship of the Ring | The Two Towers The Return of the King

An Unexpected Journey | The Desolation of Smaug


The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Tim: I remember liking The Two Towers better than The Fellowship of the Ring when I saw it in the theater. It certainly contains more striking imagery, from the craggy Ents to the imposing Mûmakil (which, like the AT-ATs in The Empire Strikes Back, are inefficient as battle weaponry but still look completely awesome). However, upon watching the extended edition, I wasn’t as involved. Unlike Fellowship, which supplemented the theatrical cut with plenty of seemingly essential side notes, I thought the special edition of the Two Towers longer, not more illuminating.

Ryan: Yep, Two Towers was my favorite of the three LOTR films for several reasons: I, too, love the Ents (my favorite characters from the series, in fact), Eomer and the riders of Rohan are badass, the destruction of Isengard and the climactic battle at Helm’s Deep are epic, and we get some of Gollum’s meatiest scenes, among other things. Unfortunately, this latest rewatch drastically changed my assessment of the movie. I don’t know if it was because it was the extended cut, or if I simply never noticed these issues before, but I found The Two Towers wholly unfocused, forced to split its time between several storylines that almost never converge. This was a big problem for me, and my love for the movie diminished quite a bit upon this viewing.

 

 

Tim: Still, credit where it’s due: that climatic battle sequence is breathtaking in its visceral power, and Gollum has to be considered one of the definitive movie characters of the 2000s. Therein lies another issue with the Two Towers, however: Andy Serkis is such a gifted physical actor, and Gollum is such a vivid creation, that he ends up overshadowing the human actors by a pretty wide margin.

Luke: I’m not gonna lie: I fell asleep in this movie. I don’t know if it was the pizza, er lembas bread, but I was out stone cold midway through. Thing is, like you guys, this was my favorite theatrically, but the extended edition throws the narrative wildly out of balance. I liked the Two Towers theatrically because it split its time judiciously between the Frodo-Sam-Gollum journey (the best thing, for me) and the machinations at Rohan leading up to Helm’s Deep, but in the long version it seemed Gollum disappeared for huge stretches in favor of more — so very much more — standing around and talking by interchangeable stock types anticipating battle. I think by about the four-millionth exhortation of “We ride!” — followed by another meeting — I was done. Pared back to the treachery of Gollum and his game of wits with the hobbits, though, there’s a good movie in here.

 

 

Ryan: I hate to admit it, but I also nodded off around the time Aragorn was pretending to like Eowyn’s battlefield broth (a completely unnecessary scene I’m glad was left on the cutting room floor), and at one point, there were, by my count, four narrative threads being juggled: the preparations at Rohan, Pippin and Merry with the Ents, Frodo and Sam, and the love story between Aragorn and Arwen. Thankfully — and wisely — the theatrical cut pared down the latter of those quite a bit, but with extended stretches devoted to the other three (lending to the long absence of Gollum from the screen, as noted by Luke), the longer cut just dragged on and on. For my money’s worth, the theatrical cut of this film is just right; my affection remains strong, if slightly abated, thanks to Helm’s Deep and the Ents.

Tim: You know, when a tree fell on my car last year, I was initially convinced it was a random accident. Now I know it wasn’t: I was the target of a plot devised at one of those Ent Moots.

Ryan: And they’d been planning it for centuries.

Luke: Speaking of Ents, Ryan we must make mention of one of our favorite moments in all the trilogy, I think. You know what I’m talking about?

Ryan: You can only be speaking of the copious amounts of ganj… err, Longbottom Leaf being smoked.

Luke: Well that was rather stirring, of course, but you must remember the cheer that went up when one of the Ents used the surging floodwaters of Isengard to quench his flaming hair of leaves.

Ryan: Oh, that! Such a small moment, yet so brilliantly comic. I thought to myself, “Yup, that’s what I would have done, too.”

Luke: [Laughs] I salute the genius at Weta who did that.

Tag Cloud

Rock Travel Channel twilight MTV Avengers 21st Century Fox Premiere Dates Television Academy Tarantino cartoon transformers boxoffice History See It Skip It indie Dark Horse Comics ABC Family free movies documentaries adventure LGBT Britbox remakes A24 CMT Women's History Month TBS Freeform sports Set visit aliens children's TV cancelled TV shows child's play BBC Epix 4/20 biography Pop TV Nominations Disney Mary Poppins Returns Turner game show Comic Book spider-man LGBTQ Action Marvel Television Pet Sematary Funimation anthology crossover FXX PBS comedies serial killer HBO Max supernatural Rocketman animated dragons Quiz IFC Films A&E 2016 Christmas space mockumentary dogs Shondaland Cartoon Network Hear Us Out cinemax zombies Box Office The Walking Dead Rocky IFC MSNBC Tubi spanish language RT21 Kids & Family sequels OneApp Arrowverse Photos Animation Anna Paquin Cannes Thanksgiving Mudbound SDCC Binge Guide halloween HBO Martial Arts award winner reboot BBC One SXSW robots Countdown DC streaming service OWN Logo X-Men Musical E! joker Food Network 24 frames crime sitcom television San Diego Comic-Con streaming Extras video Marathons obituary football dark Heroines MCU Lifetime Schedule independent batman Winter TV Spring TV 45 spain dc Lifetime Christmas movies Country The Witch movie WGN Mary Tyler Moore Ellie Kemper composers concert fast and furious YouTube Premium all-time The Purge cops thriller Comics on TV Fox News theme song Horror satire National Geographic disaster directors chucky crime drama YouTube die hard toronto stoner Vudu news Oscars criterion Rom-Com venice GoT Sundance Now mission: impossible Classic Film USA sag awards FX on Hulu renewed TV shows Amazon Prime Video Awards Tour franchise zombie nfl films game of thrones period drama Music TNT blaxploitation Sundance rotten movies we love YA Stephen King natural history Peacock Lionsgate revenge nature HBO Go worst Disney Plus Crunchyroll TCA Winter 2020 Mystery President witnail cancelled television Hallmark TruTV RT History CBS All Access Fall TV ghosts canceled TV shows Nickelodeon Cosplay a nightmare on elm street BET Awards CW Seed BET superhero Pop The Arrangement Tumblr Mary poppins Apple Watching Series crime thriller Spike Captain marvel ABC Apple TV+ political drama Amazon Bravo foreign discovery diversity Apple TV Plus psychological thriller sequel romantic comedy Esquire Trailer GIFs Sony Pictures Summer Hallmark Christmas movies name the review FX Song of Ice and Fire Spectrum Originals Marvel Studios NYCC cats Turner Classic Movies Columbia Pictures SundanceTV hispanic Emmys screenings TCM Elton John Superheroe versus 2018 2019 Family Showtime Grammys what to watch Nat Geo 71st Emmy Awards TIFF Opinion TV renewals Sundance TV Holidays Calendar Holiday doctor who Winners kids First Reviews canceled WarnerMedia Video Games werewolf strong female leads Disney+ Disney Plus miniseries vampires Academy Awards Paramount casting Chernobyl anime comics christmas movies Star Trek Fantasy Awards movies cars breaking bad historical drama VH1 comiccon hollywood zero dark thirty 2015 Ghostbusters Tomatazos talk show romance Musicals APB politics based on movie scorecard finale 2017 Polls and Games Disney Channel universal monsters harry potter police drama Podcast mutant science fiction Disney streaming service Television Critics Association Hulu parents latino Ovation DGA spinoff psycho El Rey Superheroes 72 Emmy Awards Adult Swim TCA Super Bowl festival cancelled reviews Reality cults E3 ratings Reality Competition blockbuster CNN Black Mirror Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt technology Black History Month cooking Certified Fresh Brie Larson Election series binge spy thriller unscripted CBS Sneak Peek Star Wars BBC America ITV Creative Arts Emmys Toys Film TCA Awards Pirates richard e. Grant critics quibi VICE festivals Sci-Fi cancelled TV series indiana jones FOX Pride Month medical drama Emmy Nominations PlayStation war adaptation scary movies DirecTV nbcuniversal comic BAFTA best rotten The CW Interview facebook Biopics Drama Year in Review classics Netflix teaser Acorn TV TCA 2017 Discovery Channel green book Infographic Marvel USA Network social media Masterpiece Teen Comedy Central Best and Worst New York Comic Con video on demand worst movies YouTube Red Trophy Talk DC Comics Netflix Christmas movies travel TV Land Crackle emmy awards book stand-up comedy Writers Guild of America Comedy VOD NBC Universal Baby Yoda Character Guide docudrama stop motion asian-american ESPN PaleyFest American Society of Cinematographers hist Film Festival TLC laika dceu Syfy Valentine's Day justice league Warner Bros. south america slashers toy story Red Carpet Paramount Network Lucasfilm screen actors guild DC Universe 2020 Endgame Western true crime 20th Century Fox First Look tv talk Trivia Pixar Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Starz Amazon Studios golden globes TV dramedy Walt Disney Pictures jamie lee curtis GLAAD documentary Mindy Kaling 007 elevated horror Shudder AMC Amazon Prime singing competition