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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Extended Edition, DVD)

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      16.12.2013 22:37
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      lord of the rings - I can watch all day!

      For some reason due to the windy and wet weather we have been having recently, the Sky at home has been playing up and yesterday we had absolutely no signal at all. It wasn't much of a pain as we were out most of the day but in the evening I was fed up of watching a tv go in and our of static so decided to just pop a DVD on and be done with the hassle! I absolutely LOVE The Lord of the Rings trilogy and have the extended edition version box set. Out of pure habit I went for the Two Towers as I never find The fellowship of the ring eventful enough, and the Return of the King I couldn't find in the disc case!

      *** Film Only Review ***

      The film is the sequel of the first element - The fellowship of the ring and picks up where the first film left off. Gandalf the Grey having fallen to what was assumed his death the fellowship continues in their mission to destroy the ring in Mount Mordor. In this instalment, the film follows Merry and Pippin who have been taken hostage by the Uruk-hai, but manage to escape and meet Treebeard, the oldest of the Ents and try to persuade him in the war against Saruman at Isengard. Frodo and Sam are led by Gollum, to continue the quest to destroy the ring whilst Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are in Rohan, and are supporting King Theoden and the film culminates in the EPIC battle at Helms Deep.

      *** My Opinion ***

      I am not particularly a huge fantasy film lover, but The Lord of the Rings trilogy are films I will never tire of and can watch over and over again! The film has such fantastic visual CGI, from excellent shots to raw and outstanding scenery and battle cinematography it captures my attention vigorously from beginning to end.

      The film is packed with brilliant actors, Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn steals the film for me as a rough, hunky, fearless protector of middle earth who's passion helps the film remain empathetic and maintains the viewers interest. Orlando Bloom even with long hair as Legolas the elf demonstrates poise and stature with his perfectionist archery and is still a beauty to look at! There are a lot of noticeable names, Sean Bean, Ian Mckellen, Liv Tyler, Cate Blaknchett and Elijah Wood but to name a few who all put forth brilliant performances and one of the reasons the film is so solid and distinct.

      The film is directed by Peter Jackson who I think did brilliantly to construct such sequences so the film is a treat for the eyes from the Orcs who look so realistic, to the fields and plains of Isengard and Rohan which look so factual as opposed to fiction, and he manages to effectively bring the book to life. The film doesn't follow the exact same sequence as the second instalment of the book, as characters like Shelob the spider are left until the 3rd finale, so this culminates in the Battle of Helms Deep. Nevertheless, the musicality, and the production in creating this fierce battle for the end allows the storyline to flow effectively and certainly leaves viewers hooked for the final film!

      *** Overall ***

      I love this film and could watch it time and time again (and I have!). I don't think it is necessarily for solely fans of the book or the fantasy genre, as it has such appeal to please all ages and tastes. It does take some stamina to watch it consistently for the entire 3 hours, but it keeps momentum well, and is interesting throughout so time really does fly by! I would certainly recommend this film, and can think of no faults so it gets 5 stars!

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      04.02.2013 21:51
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      Magnificent film. One of the best.

      "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" is a 2002 film that was adapted from the novel written by J.R.R. Tolkien, with the screenplay coming via way of Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Stephen Sinclair & Philippa Boyens. The film was directed by Peter Jackson, who has taken the helm on such films as "King Kong" (2005), "Bad Taste" (1987) and "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (2012).

      Warning: Spoilers will likely be given during this review.


      Outline

      The film was a massive 2hr 59mins in length and starred Elijah Wood ("The Faculty", "Green Street Hooligans", "Deep Impact") as Frodo Baggins, Sean Astin ("The Goonies", "50 First Dates", "Memphis Belle") as Samwise Gamgee, and Viggo Mortensen ("Eastern Promises", "Carlito's Way", "A History of Violence") as Aragorn. Other notable appearances come courtesy of Sir Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan and Brad Dourif, amongst others.


      Plot

      The plot for the film reads as follows: While Frodo and Sam edge closer to Mordor with the help of the shifty Gollum, the divided fellowship makes a stand against Sauron's new ally, Saruman, and his hordes of Isengard.


      Introduction

      The second of the trilogy of films is split into three parts which interchange as it plays out. The first of those is Frodo and Sam's journey towards Mordor, with the second following the story of Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas as they join up with Gandalf, and the third surrounds Merry and Pippin as they meet Treebeard. This film won two Academy Awards, Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Editing. It was a massive box office success which grossed well in excess of $900m, but there is only one question which remains. Is it any good? Let's find out!


      Review

      The film's main opening scene deal with Gandalf fighting the Balrog, where, in "The fellowship of the Ring", he was slain by the beast. It's a great fight scene that, unfortunately, is heavily reliant on CGI but it works. The next thing we see is Frodo awakening from a nightmare and screaming Galdalf's name. I often wondered if the two were spiritually connected, and the dream sent a message from the wizard to the Hobbit that he wasn't done and was to resurrect as Gandalf the White, but this time stronger than before. There are a few funny scenes, including one where Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are running and the latter member can't keep up with his two comrades and pauses as he huffs and puffs before uttering "I'm wasted on cross-country! We dwarves are natural sprinters! Very dangerous over short distances!" Another scene involving our favourite dwarf is where the there is a feast in Théoden's castle and he seems to be eating and drinking for many men. He's a naturally funny character and loves to tell tales of old, even if he doesn't think he's being witty he ends up saying something which makes me laugh.

      More excellent scenes include one where the hobbits, Merry and Pippin, are in Fangorn Forest, and the scenery looks like it's been shot in 3D. Throughout the duo's journey, there is wonderful CGI with Treebeard who is accompanying them. It is during this part of the tale where we see Gandalf the White explaining how he returned from when he was once known as Gandalf the Grey. It appears that this Gandalf is younger in years, more active, and sharper than he once was, but he's also more serious and doesn't have as much of a sense of humour. Speaking of humour, Cate Blanchett performs her part as Galadriel to a tee. There is an aura about her - warm eyes but not overly beautiful - and I think that was the intention to make her look normal without too much makeup, and that works well. One of the most poignant and important scenes is where Frodo realises that Smeagol is really Gollum and was corrupted by the Ring. There is a sort of cat-and-mouse rivalry between Smeagol and Samwise, both vying for Frodo's attention and both clearly despising each other. Sam doesn't trust Gollum and the latter is trying to deceive Frodo into thinking he's helping him for a good cause. There is a good scene where it appears he's talking to himself but the cameras give the impression that there's two of him as it swaps between his two personalities (Smeagol and Gollum). It's CGI but it's really good work. Another funny scene is where Samwise is cooking rabbit and says "What we need is a few good taters." And Gollum asks "What's taters, precious? What's taters, eh?" I laughed at that a lot and completely missed Sam's reply of "Po-tay-toes! Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew... Lovely big golden chips with a nice piece of fried fish." I even had to rewind to hear it properly!

      There are other scenes which are just as important, but to name them all would be giving it away a little too much. I suspect, though, that if you're reading this review, you've probably seen the film anyway! Some of the more somber parts include the grief-stricken mood as the warriors realise Aragorn has met his death, falling over a cliff during battle. Fortunately, however, this is short-lived as, awhile later, he reappears unharmed and ready for battle once more. There is a very short scene where the look of reluctance is shown amongst the villagers as the women let their men go and prepare to fight. This is probably what it was like during World War II when young men were called up to the frontlines.

      Of the acting, I thought most, if not all, performed their parts incredibly well. Brad Dourif is one that stands out for me in his portrayal of Grima Wormtongue and I'm surprised he didn't receive any Academy Award recognition for his part, though I suspect it's because he wasn't in a lot of scenes. His reply to Eowynas she asks him to leave her alone is masterful, which I have decided to include here for its excellence: "Oh, but you are alone. Who knows what you have spoken to the darkness, alone, in the bitter watches of the night, when all your life seems to shrink, the walls of your bower closing in about you, a hutch to trammel some wild thing in? So fair, yet so cold like a morning of pale spring still clinging to winter's chill." Bernard Hill also comes in for special praise. I always thought he was a fine actor, and seeing him play the part of Théoden is a joy, though I half expect him to go back into his Yosser Hughes character in "Boys From the Blackstuff".

      The cinematography is, once more, visually stunning. This includes a scene where Arwen was leaving after speaking with her father, Elrond. The image of the line of people walking across the bridge with lanterns and a waterfall in the background was especially pleasing. Another eye-catching sight was the lack of colour at the gates of Mordor. This gives power to the scene and the marching of the orcs sounds incredible. Another compelling part happens when Saruman is looking over his tower balcony at 10,000 of his army (Uruk-hai). It's very impressive scene but also reminds me of Adolf Hitler and his many thousands of armies who came to witness his speeches during World War II in Berlin. The fight choreography, too, is a joy to behold. When the elven archers decide to form an alliance in the final fight, they look magnificent as they pull back their bows for the first time, unflinching as the rain beats down upon them.


      Characters

      Sir Ian McKellen is a convincing Gandalf. Plays the part wonderfully and, it seems, with ease. It's almost as if he was born to be the wizard, and I really can't think of anyone else who could have played the part. Apparently Sean Connery was offered the part but I'm glad McKellen took it on. The accent and deep voice give power to the character and putting him together as a wizard opposite Christopher Lee's Saruman is a fitting double act, if you like. He's a kind-hearted wizard who's very protective of the Hobbits, especially Frodo. He's also fun-loving but has a serious side at the same time.

      Gollum is a great character which was derived from Smeagol. His desire and lust for the One Ring has warped his mind to where it's all he can think about and the ring is how he got his transformation. I was always unsure if he helps Frodo and Sam because he has sworn on the Ring or if it's because he wants it. He's a strange character but you can't help but feel for him. He provides moments of comedy throughout the film, even though I don't think it's purposely planned. He's not really a bad guy but sometimes his desperation to get the Ring back causes him to become hateful. Andy Serkis voices the character brilliantly and it's believed he can't travel on the London Underground without people asking him to "do the voice", which must be very annoying for the actor.

      Gimli is one of my favourites. You can't get much better than a dwarf with a Scottish accent, and John Rhys-Davies plays a brilliant portrayal. He has great camaraderie with Legolas - an elf - which isn't common between the two races. There's an excellent scene which is the first battle of the film where the pair are keeping score of how many kills they've each had. Legolas, having shot an Uruk with his bow and arrow proclaims: "Forty three". Gimli, somewhat bemused, says "He was already dead!" Surprised, Legolas replies: "He was twitching." To which Gimli retorts: "He was twitching because he's got my axe embedded in his nervous system!" It's an amusing dialogue which is ended as Legolas rescues Gimli and says "That one counts as mine".


      Summary

      I adore the second part of the trilogy, though it's not quite my favourite of the three. It has many wonderful moments just like "The Fellowship of the Ring" but it often goes a little too quiet and more emphasis is on these intricate little scenes than on the major battles. That should not put you off from buying it, however, because it's these parts that complete the story and without them you'd be left wondering what was happening. Of course, they can be a tad confusing but that just forces you to watch it again, and that's never a bad thing. I can't recommend this film enough but if you are a novice to Tolkien's masterpiece, go out and buy the trilogy in its entirety. You'll thank me later for it.


      What the Critics Say:

      Entertainment Weekly: "What it comes down to is superbly staged battle scenes and moral alliances forged in earnest yet purged of the wit and dynamic, bristly ego that define true on-screen personality."

      Los Angeles Times: "If the second film never reaches the highs of the first - we have met the players before and there are no new worlds of wonder - it nonetheless invests movie going with a sense of adventure."

      Philadelphia Enquirer: "Jackson's superior sequel to last year's first installment in his Rings cycle resurrects the beloved Gandalf (majestic Ian McKellen) and rejuvenates the audience, too."

      USA Today: "Epic battles, spectacular effects and multiple story lines makes this movie a most excellent middle chapter in the film trilogy."

      Variety: "Has a sharper narrative focus and a livelier sense of forward movement than did the more episodic first installment."

      My rating: 9/10

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        13.07.2012 01:47
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        10/10

        Ok, so this film picks up where the 1st film finished. Defeated, the fellowship lays in ruins, with the fellowship split, between frodo and samwise attempting to destroy the ring, merry and pippin being kidnapped, gandalf presumed dead, and gimili, legolas and aragorn to bury bormir. The latter 3 attempt to retrieve merry and pippin from the uraki hai, but encounter the riders of rohan, a group of humans who also oppose the orcs. Also they find out the gandalf still lives, and that merry and pippin have been taken to saumons lair saumons is saurons minion if you like).

        Anyway, the film carries on with a few skirmishes, and there is an ultimate fight scene that lasts like that last 1/3 of the film (the film is 3 hrs long or something like that), and is known as the battle of helms deep. This battle actually took the actors around 18 or so months to film (saw it in extras), which is over a year... for one scene! It is truly an epic scene, and is one of the best in the entire LOTR series.

        Meanwhile Frodo and sam continue their quest, whilst merry and pippin are rescued and taken to the forest ents, where they raise an army of woodland ents to fight against saurumon, in order to help out.

        The level of detail going into this film is truly mind boggling, down to the detail of the armour, the CGi effects, the grunts and moans of the orcs, the crazy elf weaponry, the explosions i mean it really is very very cool. They don't spend this much time and effort on most films, so you really have to see this film to truly appreciate how it is done correctly. Also the acting is at a very high level, you actually feel like its really happening, and the 3hr long film seems to fly by, it really is very very good.

        Anyway, this film is very good, and i must have watched it more times than i can remember. It is highly recommended, and it is truly an unmissable film.

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        27.09.2011 12:53
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        A proper collectible, brilliant film, beautifully presented

        * This is a review of the Extended DVD Edition of "The Two Towers", and not strictly a review of the film itself...

        "The Two Towers" takes place on a grander scale than its predecessor, and adds to the already brilliant casting. Bernard Hill is honourable and powerful as Theoden, King of Rohan, and Brad Dourif is suitably slimy and poisonous as Grima 'Wormtongue'. However, the crowning achievement of this film for me is a combination of great casting, brilliant acting and groundbreaking visual effects - Gollum. Andy Serkis really brings this conflicted, creeping gangrel creature to life, and his interaction with the other cast is almost always seemless. The character of Gollum in this film is a real achievement.

        With the extended and new scenes in this version of the film, we get to see more of Gollum, his conflicts, and his interactions with the other characters. We also get to see a lot more of the exceptional battle scenes which take place at Helm's Deep. These scenes make for an even more engrossing and epic battle, and a more rounded movie as a whole, and are a welcome addition to the DVD.

        Just like "The Fellowship of the Ring", the Extended Edition of "The Two Towers" is beautiful. It's presented to resemble a dark red worn leather book, containing a folding case with 4 DVDs and a handbook. The inside of the case is once again covered in concept art and illustrations from John Howe and Alan Lee, recognised as the 2 most accomplished Tolkien artists around. Again, you feel as if you own a special edition which is actually 'special' - care and time has gone into producing a package worth keeping here.

        The hours of extras featured show the painstaking work that has gone into creating such momentous scenes, from replica chain mail armour being linked by hand, to endless hours of make-up and prosthetics applied to the actors playing orcs, goblins, uruk-hai and so on, and the combination of grand sweeping sets and intricately detailed miniatures which together create the illusion of another world.

        The most significant and exciting extras for me were those which showed how scenes of Andy Serkis snivelling and crawling around in a bright leotard were transformed into the creature Gollum in the final product. This shows that Andy Serkis has put in a brilliant performance as an actor, not just as a motion-capture puppet, as well as showing the extraordinary technology on offer at the cutting edge of cinema.

        Overall this is another brilliant cinematic achievement, only enhanced by the extra scenes, and packaged as a great collectors' edition.

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        07.12.2010 17:02
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        Not quite as impressive as Fellowship, but still a stunning film

        Second time around, the pressure must really have been on Peter Jackson. The Fellowship of the Ring had raised expectations so high that it seemed almost impossible for Jackson to meet them. Fans wanted more of the incredibly realistic world of Middle Earth, so vividly brought to life by Jackson in the first film. Yet, The Two Towers is a very different beast from Fellowship: much darker in tone and far more complex from a narrative point of view, could Jackson deliver again?

        From a narrative point of view, Fellowship was fairly straightforward - a group of characters set off (more or less) together on a single quest. The Two Towers sees that fellowship split up and pursuing very different goals. Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas travel far and wide to gain allies for the forthcoming battle against Sauron, whilst hobbits Merry and Pippin are captured by Orcs, but escape into the deadly Fangorn Forest. Sam and Frodo, meanwhile, continue their journey towards Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring so that Middle Earth can be free of Sauron forever.

        This much more fractured storyline requires careful handling. Even in the book it can be difficult to keep track of how the multiple plot strands relate to each other, whilst the constant shift in focus from one set of characters to another can be confusing. Yet, Jackson juggles all these balls with ease. The narrative is always logical and coherent and even if you are unfamiliar with the books, you will find it easy to keep track of the storyline. Despite the darker, more complex elements, the plot still pulls you along and grips you. Once again, Jackson's nigh-perfect creation of Middle Earth makes the film a joy to watch.

        It's around 90 minutes into the film, though, that things go a little awry. Having faithfully stuck to the nature and spirit of Tolkien's books for one and a half films, The Two Towers suddenly decides to alter the events of the book and this is not a positive development. Whilst I enjoy the books, I fully accept that sometimes things need to be altered to work on the big screen and that sometimes changes can actually improve the original (see The Shawshank Redemption for proof). Sadly, here, the changes actually cause a terrible slow-down in the plot which makes the middle section of The Two Towers feel a little stodgy.

        Jackson's biggest mis-step in his handling of the entire trilogy sees him write a dull unnecessary and slow-paced sub-plot. This seems to exist for no other reason than to provide Liv Tyler's Arwen Evenstar (who otherwise scarcely appears in the books) with something to do. It's the one time that you wonder whether the ego of the star-studded cast has forced Jackson's hand. In theory, the subplot is there to add some emotional weight to Aragorn's conflict between the desire for personal happiness and the need to fulfil his destiny; in reality, it is little more than a sub-standard love story that adds nothing to the film except an even longer run time. Mrs SWSt has also demanded (quite rightly) that I point out the crucial changes made to Faramir's character which totally change the book's crucial contrast with his brother Boromir. There is absolutely no good narrative reason for this change, and it actually weakens the film.

        Thankfully, after this brief interlude, normal service is resumed and the film joins up once again with the plot of the book. It's highly noticeable that as soon as Jackson returns to the source material, things get back on track and the pace and momentum of the film pick up once again. The film ends strongly with the film's centre-piece - a stunning, elongated set piece - The Battle of Helm's Deep - which sees hordes of impressively realised rampaging orcs take on the increasingly desperate allied army of humans, elves and dwarf. Up until now, the trilogy has very much focused on character and setting. Suddenly, spectacle takes centre stage. Yet, visually stunning though it might be, the film never loses sight of the "human" element, carefully keeping us up to date with the fate of our various heroes, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli. There's even time for the odd bit of (mostly) well0-judged humour to lighten the otherwise sombre mood.

        The Battle of Helm's Deep is Jackson's first real opportunity to cut loose and show us that he can stage spectacular set-pieces. And boy, does he seize that opportunity with both hands, capturing the fluctuating fortunes of both sides and creating a real sense of excitement and tension in the ebb and flow of conflict. Normally, such lengthy battles would bore me, but here you will find yourself on the edge of your seat until the smoke clears and it becomes obvious who has won and who has lost.

        It's not all spectacular set-pieces, though. Once again, Jackson's meticulous recreation of Middle Earth is so impressive, so detailed and realistic that you absolutely believe this place and all its strange inhabitants exist. The characters and places are all brought to life so vividly that you find yourself immersed in this incredible world. Once again, all the characters and places are hugely faithful to the book and appear exactly as I have always imagined them. The sole disappointment in this regard is the Ents (a kind of tree people) who are rather weedy looking and don't match the descriptions in the books. It's also the one time when flaws in the otherwise impressive special effects show through.

        As you might imagine, the actors portraying the key characters are even better second time around. Viggo Mortensen continues his impressive portrayal of Aragorn, whilst Ian McKellan is both serious and deadly as Gandalf the White. Elijah Wood looks more comfortable as Frodo (though he still relies a little too much on frowning to convey emotion), whilst his relationship with Sean Astin's Sam Gamgee is both heartfelt and tragic. Amongst the support cast Brad Dourif's Grima Wormtongue is suitably slimy and repulsive and there are impressive turns from Bernard Hill as King Theodan and Hammer veteran Christopher Lee as Saruman.

        There's not doubting the real star though: former ring-bearer, Gollum. The special effects that bring him to life and insert him so effortlessly into the live action is incredible. The animation conveys an impressive range of emotions and for the first time ever, a computer generated character blends seamlessly with real actors.

        Yet, this is not just a triumph of computer processing power. The key reason for the success of Gollum is Andy Serkis who brilliantly brings him to life who both voices the character and was used to motion-capture his movements. For Gollum to work, you need to pity him, hate him, like him and loathe him, sometimes all at the same time. This conflicting range of emotions is crucial to the whole tale and it's Serkis' extraordinary performance that brings so much raw emotion to the story. His voice work is nothing short of brilliant, changing subtly, depending on whether the Smeagol or Gollum side of his character is in the ascendancy and this adds so much more colour to the story.

        Throw in an exhaustive list of extras running at several hours viewing and this is a superb second part to an incredible trilogy. Not quite as sure-footed as the first due to a temporary diversion from the book, it will nevertheless delight fans of JRR Tolkien's works, whilst winning many new fans.

        Basic Information
        -------------------------
        The Two Towers
        2002
        Director: Peter Jackson
        Certificate: 12
        Running time: approx. 179 minutes (223 minutes - extended edition)

        © Copyright SWSt 2010

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          12.03.2010 21:56
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          Fantastic

          If you are to purchase Lord of the Rings The Two Towers you must get it in this extended version with over half an hour of extended and new scenes running seamlessly through the movie as if they are meant to be there is a fantastic experience for the Lord of the Rings fan.

          The film follows a variety of creatures from middle earth that once formed the fellowship of the ring but due to various events and circumstances in the last film split up and now jumps between the alternate plots of the characters. We follow Frodo and Sam two hobbits who have the ring and our travelling secret through the country side to destroy it in a volcano called Mt. Mordor. We also follow the story line of the trio of battle hardened warriors Aragon, Legolass and Gimli on there quest to save two freinds who got captured by orcs at the end of the last film.

          Peter Jackson is a fantastic director and really brings the Lord of the rings to life in this trilogy. He travelled to New Zealand to capture the entire film, filming over a period of five years for the three films to produce something that is truely magical.

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            03.03.2010 20:03
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            Watch it!

            This is the second instalment of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, based on the books by J. R. R. Tolkien and directed by Peter Jackson. The film continues exactly where it left off and also cuts back to Gandalf the Grey fighting a demon.

            In this film we see a huge amount of computer generated imagery (CGI) which I am not normally a fan of, but in this film it is done so well that it looks so real. Sometimes the imagery is very welcome too as it reminds you that it's only a film you are watching and not real life, because I felt like I was in the film at some points it was that realistic! Some of the CGI in the film see's large walking and talking trees. Out of all the CGI in the film this looks the most unrealistic but I think this is mainly because you know that it is CGI as there could never possibly be walking talking trees!

            Some more CGI see's the introduction of the character Gollum, also known as Smeagol. For this they used Andy Serkis to do the voice over and also to do the motion capture that the CGI could be put over. I can't believe how realistic this sometimes looks and you do honestly believe that he is real.

            In this film you see a large amount of strange creatures (Orcs) and there does seem to be a few instances where the acting drops a little but I put this down to them having to use so many extras and they are only small parts so they can't exactly use established actors for these roles. Saying that I think I only noticed it because I was looking for it, I don't remember thinking it before. They also are heavily coated in masks/armoury/make up so I have a little understanding. Also some of the extras aren't even actors, one of them is Peter Jackson (the director) who has a small role during a battle where he throws a spear.

            As for the main characters, their acting is faultless. Elijah Wood (Frodo) and Sean Astin (Sam) only seem to get better than the last film, and this is more apparent in these two characters more than others. You can see the chemistry between them and you could even mistake them for being best friends in real life. You see them have a few disagreements in the film and it only makes the acting look even better. I think Sam stands out more than Frodo because he really cares for Frodo and you can see in his acting how genuine this looks.

            This film also introduces a small amount of comedy. Nothing major but there is a couple of lines in there that will make you chuckle; most of them seem to have the dwarf Gimli involved in it.

            There are some excellent battle scenes in it and it really makes you wonder how they filmed it and you really appreciate all the effort that has gone into it. This film isn't just full of great acting but it's full of great filming too.

            One of my problems with this film is that there is really no clear plot for the film as it's all about travel in this film and it doesn't really follow the ring too much either, other characters are more involved in it. This film is like the middle part of one film where not that much happens; apart from this is the middle part of three films!

            The film also shows Gandalf now as Gandalf the White and it cleverly tracks back to show you how this has happened.

            I can't talk about this film without mentioning the scenery. I mentioned it in my review of "The Fellowship of the Ring" but I really can't stress how amazing and beautiful it is. It is filmed in New Zealand and it really makes me want to go there. There are great mountains which look fit for the best skiers out there and there are also beautiful lakes and forests that look perfect for picnics and long walks.

            This film obviously won a large amount of awards; two academy awards, three British film academy awards, an Empire award, a Hugo award, an MTV award and three Saturn awards just to name a few of them. There were unfortunately no awards for the acting in this film but strangely enough Andy Serkis did win a supporting actor award for this part of Gollum.

            If you haven't seen the first Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring) then there really is no point seeing this one as most of it won't make sense. However I would strongly suggest that you watch it so make sure you have watched the first one then you are good to go!

            10/10 must see!!!

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              04.11.2009 00:43
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              An extended tale worth the time

              As I am sure most of you are aware, Lord of the Rings is a trilogy, so it is about time I moved on to review the second of the movies - The Two Towers. It is the second installation of both the books and the movies, and follows on from Fellowship.

              Although this is the second movie, it does not follow the same pattern as the first. In the Fellowship of the Ring, there was one main storyline that the viewer followed, whereas in the Two Towers there are now three main storyline's running alongside each other. Also, the Two Towers is based more in the world of Men, rather than the more magical worlds of the Elves & Dwarves.

              The film begins following Frodo & Sam on their path to Mordor across a labyrinth of mountains. It is here we are introduced properly to Gollum, a creature who once possessed the One Ring, and whose allegiance the viewer is always unsure of, an ambiguity that lasts to the end of the third instalment. It is here we explore more of the lands of Gondor, and also meet Boromir's brother, Faramir. Next to be re-introduced are Merry & Pippin, who when we last saw them they had been kidnapped by Saruman's minions (Uruk-hai). It is whilst following the story of this pair that we are introduced to the Ents, also known as tree-herders, mainly the lead Ent, Treebeard. During this storyline, the viewer is exposed to the environmental detriment that war causes, and of course, nature taking a stand. The final storyline follows Aragorn, Legolas & Gimli at first following the trail of Merry & Pippin before making a surprising discovery in Fangorn Forest (home of the Ents). Their story then turns towards the land of Rohan, where the viewer is introduced to yet more new characters. The trio set out to help the kingdom by first curing the King (Théoden) of a spell cast upon him by Saruman, and then leading them to the safety of a fortress known as Helm's Deep ready for the battle with Saruman's Uruk-hai. Éowyn, the niece of Théoden is another new character who is desperate to fight alongside the men, frustrated by always being held back, and also finds herself in love with Aragorn.

              Although there are three storylines, the story is not complicated. It seamlessly flows from one storyline to the other, without the gaps between being too short or too long. As with the first film, there is plenty of adventure, from Frodo & Sam crossing the Dead Marshes to reach the gates of Mordor themselves, to a tragic attack upon the refugee trail that Aragorn, Legolas & Gimli are escorting; a bit more back-story & romance between Aragorn & Arwen, and also a hint towards both their fates; a terrifying battle at Helm's Deep against all odds, which is the climax of the story alongside an attack upon Isengard (Saruman's fortress); the light relief from both Merry & Pippin and Legolas & Gimli still continues however, balancing out the seriousness of the story. In this film, now that the main characters have been introduced, there is more of a chance for the characters to be developed, and to watch more of their personalities and ways of thinking appear and evolve during the course of their Quest, giving the viewer even more depth to the world and people of Middle-Earth.

              In the extended version, Peter Jackson has crammed even more extended and deleted scenes into the Two Towers. As with the previous extended edition, these extras can give the film a tendency to drag in places, which can (after a few watches) become tedious. However, they do give the viewer more information expanding upon what they already know making it a more interesting watch and draws you closer into Middle-Earth.

              The two bonus discs again have over six hours of features that roughly follow the same pattern as the previous bonus discs. The bonus features include more behind the scenes footage, development from book to script and script to film, costume, prosthetics and music development, galleries containing original sketches and photos, and much more. The three commentaries (cast, production, writers) are again included, providing a bit more of the story of the group of people who spent years bringing these films to our screens (and of course, some amusing filming stories).

              The cast are much the same, with a few 'guest' appearances from cast members in the Fellowship, and also from the Return of the King (these are mainly seen in the extra footage though). The new cast members are again from the UK and Australia, one being Bernard Hill, most famous for being the captain of Titanic. Although they came into filming later than the others, they seem to have the same chemistry as everyone else, and are able to slip in and become 'part of the family' without causing any disruption. Again, in my opinion, there has been no flaw in the casting.
              The locations for this film are, well, breathtaking. My favourite was the location for Edoras (capital of Rohan) as this was exactly how Tolkien had described it - a small mound in surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Typically, it was in the middle of nowhere and had to be built & dismantled perfectly as not to destroy the wildlife - but this made it all the more impressive. No detail seems to have been spared in any of the buildings and sets used, with everything being intricately and painstakingly crafted as to make the whole world as real as possible - with great effect.

              The special effects team, Weta, managed to out-do themselves this film with the creation of the character Gollum. Instead of just creating a character on the computer and inputting it into the film at a later date, Andy Serkis actually was Gollum. He wore a special suit (like a second skin) covering his whole body whilst filming with Sam & Frodo (so that none of the actors had to pretend the others were there - they could interact with each other, making it far more realistic). Later, he would put on this suit again, but with digital markers all over it, and act out all his motions in the scene that had just been filmed. This is where Weta stepped in; they used the markers to create a computerised version of all the movements before turning them into Gollum. This was the first time an actor had been used to drive a computerised character for such long periods of time, and Weta developed this technology even further by the third film. Of course, even though they were putting a lot of work into the creation of Gollum, Weta still were able to make as much effort on all their sets, prosthetics, miniatures and armour as they had previously. As with every part of this film, Weta put a lot of effort into even the tiniest and seemingly insignificant details.

              The costumes again were fantastic - handmade from scratch, beautiful fabrics, hand embroidery and hours of work upon every costumes, even the stunt & size double costumes. As always, no detail was spared, for any costume made. I also managed to fall in love with all of Éowyn's costumes, as her dresses, like Arwen's, were so beautiful (and you don't see many dresses in essentially an all male lead film!).

              Howard Shore's music score again cannot be faulted. There was less Elvish and Dwarvish combined into it as the Two Towers is mainly focused on the world of Men, but even without any voices, the music was always just right. Each area has its own 'theme' music, adding more distinction and differentiation to each place and storyline.

              The Two Towers again differs from the storyline of the book slightly in some places, even though Peter Jackson tried to remain faithful. For example, some battles do not occur where they did in the books, some characters were not at the battle of Helm's Deep in the film that were in the book and vice versa; For example, the Elves were included in this battle in the films so that Jackson could convey that Men weren't the only creatures in Middle-Earth having to battle, without including even more scenes and characters. The only other deviation is Frodo & Sam's storyline - in the films they travel briefly to Osgiliath (in Gondor), and do not make it to the winding stairs, which have been pushed to the next film to 'spread out the action'. Other than these, there aren't other major deviations, but even so I find that these do not take anything from the story but actually add to it, as they are ways to portray things mentioned in the books that would otherwise require even more scenes and characters to be added.

              The Two Towers is an excellent continuation on from Fellowship of the Ring. It does not lose any of the detail and quality that the first film had, but manages to expand upon the qualities that were already there. It still makes use of Tolkien's languages, and every new realm has its own identity via costumes, architecture and even music. The bonus features in the extended additions allow the viewer to expand upon their adventure into Middle-Earth and increases the enjoyment of the movies. In summary, I feel that the Two Towers is as good a movie experience as the Fellowship, perhaps even better, and is definitely worth a watch or three (at least!).

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                23.06.2009 22:08
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                great film, a bit better than the first, and that is saying something!

                the second in the lord of the rings trilogy, this film builds on the epic first offering. In my opinion, this film is markedly better than the first and that is saying something.
                The story follows the fellowship formed in the first film which has now broken up. Frodo and sam meet up with gollum, the former owner of the ring who turns out to be useful as a guide to take them into the unmapped lands of Mordor. This films see the characters get slightly closer to their ultimate goal, the destruction of the ring.
                the storyline is not the best of the three films, it seems to be a filler however it is much needed and the way the film is made, it does not leave much to be desired, it is action packed and full of excitement.
                There is a major battle which is one of the best i have seen in any film; including some great stunts such as orlando bloom riding down stairs on a shield, firing arrows which is very cool.

                Overall a great film and a fantastic sequel to the first and a brilliant lead into the final film.
                Once again, howard shore's score is superb and sets the ever darkening scene.

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                  20.06.2009 12:39
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                  The quest and battle for Middle Earth continues

                  Having just written a review of the first film, I thought it was only right to continue with my own quest and review the second in the triology of Peter Jackson's films, The Lord of the Rings.

                  Picking up exactly where the first film left off, the Two Towers continues the story of the battle for Middle Earth and the Fellowship's quest to destroy the all powerful ring belonging to the Dark Lord, Sauron.

                  The second film is just as spectacular as the first and the huge battle at Helms Deep is right at the centre of it. Here, the film departs a fair bit from the book and, it has to be said, for no real reason other than to introduce some more drama and a whole lot of elves again. That said, this is great film making and, as with the first film, definitely does justice to the book.

                  Plenty of new characters appear on the scene, all reasonably well-acted, and, of course, we now have the twisted creature Gollum making his major entrance. The special effects are great and fit in very nicely with the story. Unlike some films, you won't find yourself withdrawing from the story to marvel at the effects, but you will just be drawn deeper into the tale.

                  The music score is also very fitting and just emphasises that this is true epic film-making. Although this is probably the weakest of the three films, that is mainly down to the high standards of the other two rather than any major defect. It all leaves the film watcher with great anticipation for the big finale.

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                  18.05.2009 12:02
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                  If you've seen the 1st you have no excuse not to watch this.

                  This is of course part 2 of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The plot continues from the 1st with a few new characters and a bunch of big battles. I'm talking about an order of magnitude above anything we saw in the 1st film and the CGI is suitable impressive. The new characters are interesting, varied, and well acted. The style of the 1st film is continued nicely as is to be expected as the trilogy was filmed more or less simultaneously. In this installment the heroes in their now fragmented party continue to struggle towards their destination as the forces of evil become more powerful. We see all the characters develop as they become more able to deal with the rigors of the journey and the trials they face, and we also get a some back story on a few of them which deepens our relationship with them.
                  Again some parts of the book are being overlooked here and there is at least one addition which had me scurrying back to the books to see how I'd forgotten it.
                  Overall it's once again a great film with stunning visuals (both the effects and the location are breathtaking) and a brilliant story.

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                    17.05.2009 20:31
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                    One of my fave films :D

                    Imagine yourself tanked up with just a few bevvies with a mate. Then think I'd love to watch that Two Towers film down at Surrey Quays after having a quick something to eat beforehand.

                    The above scenario is true and needless to say I didn't remember much about the film. Thankfully, I've witnessed this masterpiece many times since and is fantastic second film of the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy.

                    In this film is where things really begin to kick off. The Fellowship have been scattered and you really begin to see the best of them when they are put under the most extreme pressure. We begin to see the friendship between Legolas and Gimli develop (quite hilarious at times!), we witness Aragon begin to realise just how important he is and of course we see Gandalf come back (well, he could hardly stay away could he!)

                    The hobbits are back too and there's a whole host of new characters. The first of which is Gollum/Smeagol played fantastically by Andy Serkis. The Special effects team have done an incredible job in bringing Gollum to life and with Andy's sublime acting skills the character is brought to life and you have trouble believing it's a computer generated character!

                    Gollum is complicated individual and you can sense the conflict within him and Frodo about the ring. There's a brilliant scene where Gollum and Smeagol have an argument and just has to be seen. The way Gollum speaks is almost childish (eg : he's tricksy) but the wretched side of him is never far away (eg : we pokes out their eyesies). From now on Gollum is very much a major figure in the trilogy.

                    Another vital character is Theoden played by Bernard Hill. He's come a long way since Yosser Hughes! His part is that of a king weakened by treachery and poison who is released from his prison to deal with a dire threat from the wizard Saruman. Despite being released he leaves Gandalf and co in no doubt that it is his kingdom and he will do what he thinks is right for his people. There's some brilliant camerawork in Rohan and Miranda Otto plays her part extremely well as the ice maiden Eowyn.

                    Anyhow, with all this going on it's time we mentioned the talking trees! I kid you not, the trees are roused to action by two hobbits! I'll not say who they are (you'll have to watch to find out) but let's just say that Treebeard and his family were hoping just to plod away in their own little world avoiding the nonsense of Saruman and his little tiff. Of course that aint gonna happen!

                    And in the midst of all this mayhem there is one huge, huge battle. Saruman sends his orcs out to eradicate Theoden's people once and for all. The situation seems hopeless until a few hundred elves turn up to help (this is a major deviation from the book!)

                    This battle goes on for around 30-40 minutes and is truly an epic. One of the very few down sides for me is Legolas leaping onto a shield (almost like a skateboard) and firing off a few arrows. I'm sure it was fun but the scene seemed a bit silly. Thankfully the rest of this huge (well huge until REturn of the King's conflicts) battle doesn't disappoint.

                    Anyway, with the big battle over the scene is nicely set up for the Return of the King. Let's just say Sauron aint happy and we'll leave it at that!

                    For me, this is another must watch film and even now I still love returning to watch this fave of mine :D

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                      12.04.2009 19:00
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                      A superb sequel to a superb series.

                      Following on from where The Fellowship of the Ring leaves off, Frodo and Sam continue their trip to mount Doom, whereas Legolas, Gimli, and Aaragon are chasing down the Urak Hai, in aid of Merry and Pippin. This story splits over these two groups and their adventures and allows us brilliantly to follow each story at the same time. However, after watching Aaragon's story for a while, you begin to forget about Frodo and Sam, but at this point the director brilliantly cuts back to them, so keeping both stories fresh in your mind. This is brilliant.

                      The extended version is superb for this DVD, with a brilliant bit where Aaragon actually learns that Sam and Frodo have passed where Aaragon currently is. Really wish they had left this bit in the actual film. Once again the extended dvd comes in a nicely presented box like its prequel, and also has two appendics discs, where you can learn all about the creation of the film. Some really good bits in here, and also some nice interviews.

                      Keeping the cast for all films the same was essential for the story to work and was done, and this leads to 3 brilliant films. This perhaps being my favourite of the 3, with a superb battle near the finish of the story.

                      I can only recommend people watch the Lord of the Rings series, with the only downfall, that to watch all 3 extended films, it will take around 14 hours.

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                        19.01.2009 14:25

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                        You must see this film and all the extras.

                        this is director Peter Jacksons second in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, where we see Frodo and Sam, along with Gollum, getting closer to Mount Doom, Gandalf risen from the dead, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli pursuing Merry and Pippin to rescue them, and Merry and Pippin meeting the Ents.

                        This second film is as good as the first, if not better again! The film, after having developed the characters in the firs, is a little more action packed, especially during the battle for Helms Deep. We are introduced to even more richly designed cultures and creatures and enjoy more superb actors. Also, the ents, living trees, have extremely human features, whilst still looking just like an ordinary tree.

                        This special edition is a must for any fan of the films, it is absolutely packed with extras showing behind the scenes footage, how they made the film, etc. It is divided into various sub sections, from writing the script to putting on the prosthetics. A brilliant special edition, worth every penny. You could happily spend many hours watching almost every aspect of the film making process.

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                        21.12.2008 06:29
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                        if you're an LOTR fan, do buy the DVD

                        Everyone has high expectations for this film and by god were those met. The performances that made the first film so believable are all here as are the special effects and amazing locations. This film however is the worst out of the trio. And its down to the fact that too much time is given to tree beard. Although he was done very well and he is an important part in the story...even i hav to admit (and being a mega lotr fan) he did waffle on a bit. Another bad criticism I have is that Gollum, although done well didnt meet my expectations. In fact the model of Gollum in this film is different to the one in the first film. I dont know what it is about him but I felt that Gollum could have been better. Its probably because he's so babyish and in the third film he does get alot better because the evil side comes out. The battle of Helms Deep is ground breaking in every way and is held together by strong performances by Viggo Mortensen and Bernard Hill. Whereas Legolas the elf only seems to be in the film to do cool stunts and Gimli to bring more comedy into the serious situations.

                        (original review written by me on imdb)

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                      • Product Details

                        With significant extra footage and a multitude of worthwhile bonus features this extended version of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is as colossal an achievement as its predecessor, The Fellowship of the Ring. There are valuable additions to the story, including two new scenes which might appease those who feel that the characterisation of Faramir was the film's most egregious departure from the book; fans will also appreciate an appearance of the Huorns at Helm's Deep plus a nod to the absence of Tom Bombadil. Seeing a little more interplay between the gorgeous Eowyn and Aragorn is welcome, as is a grim introduction to Eomer and Theoden's son. And among the many other additions, there's an extended epilogue that might not have worked in cinemas, but is more effective here in setting up The Return of the King. While the 30 minutes added to The Fellowship of the Ring felt just right in enriching the film, the extra footage in The Two Towers at times seems a bit extraneous--we see moments that in the theatrical version we had been told about, and some fleshed-out conversations and incidents are rather minor. But director Peter Jackson's vision of JRR Tolkien's world is so marvellous that it's hard to complain about any extra time we can spend there. While it may seem that there would be nothing left to say after the bevy of features on the extended Fellowship, the four commentary tracks and two discs of supplements on The Two Towers remain informative, fascinating, and funny, far surpassing the recycled materials on the two-disc theatrical version. Highlights of the 6.5 hours' worth of documentaries offer insight on the stunts, the design work, the locations and the creation of Gollum and--most intriguing for avid fans--the film's writers (including Jackson) discuss why they created events that weren't in the book. Providing variety are animatics, rough footage, countless sketches and a sound-mixing demonstration. Again, the most interesting commentary tracks are by Jackson and writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens and by 16 members of the cast (eight of whom didn't appear in the first film, and even including John Noble, whose Denethor character only appears in this extended cut). The first two instalments of Peter Jackson's trilogy have established themselves as the best fantasy films of all time, and among the best film trilogies of all time, and their extended-edition DVD sets have set a new standard for expanding on the already epic films and providing comprehensive bonus features. --David Horiuchi