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

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