Rating: PG-13 for violence, frightening images
Run Time: 2 hours, 59 minutes
A spectacular opening sequence and the year’s best battle scenes bode well for Peter Jackson’s second installment of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
begins to scratch the surface of Hobbit Frodo’s continuing quest towards
destination hell, the indefinable
“Two Towers” is an enigma, edged with a rousing mélange of story arcs. While the warrior faction rides on in anticipated glory, Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) keep company with a conflicted, emaciated elfin sprite known as Gollum (a CGI miracle deserving of a Supporting Actor Oscar). As Lord Sauron’s retribution results in mammoth, catastrophic consequences (and a biblical siege at Helm’s Deep), the film cuts to Hobbits Pippin (Billy Boyd) and Merry (Dominic Monaghan) keeping company with the gentle tree Ents (shepherds of the Fanghorn Forest), who appear to have stumbled straight off the set of “The Wizard of Oz”, both in temperament (excessively childish) and appearance (bluescreen tacky).
four star perfection a la “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”, I
was mildly disappointed by
scenes – check. Stalwart moral alliances
– check. Frodo’s anguish, Aragorn’s
brawny leadership, and Gandalf’s (Ian McKellen) steely determination – check,
check, and check.
One hundred and seventy nine minutes of kingdoms and armies in peril is a draining experience. As the action ultimately draws to a close, we hear that “the battle for Middle Earth is about to begin”. At six hours into the trilogy, that’s both disheartening and curiously thrilling.