Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Friday, January 30, 2009


LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS (2003). Director: Peter Jackson.

As with the first installment, the scenic design, special effects, and sweeping vistas are mighty impressive, but only die-hard Tolkien fans are going to be all that carried up in the story. That said, the actors do a fine job filling their fantasy roles with life, and there are other interesting creatures. Gollum, who mourns the loss of the ring and always speaks of it as his “precious,” is a fascinating computer creation (with the help of an actor's splendid emoting); the "ents" – trees that walk and talk – are similarly inspired; and the spectacular Sauron Dragon puts in an appearance late – very late – in the picture. The scenes leading up to the epic battle with the Orcs as the latter besiege humans who have taken shelter is suspenseful and ominous, although the battle scenes – and many others – are occasionally confusing. There's a marvelous flood that nearly carries away the talking tree-men, and the relationship between Frodo and his buddy Samwise is rather touching. But the story doesn't really have enough substance to sustain over three hours in running time, and no amount of spectacular scenery and effects can make up for an essential hollowness at its core.

Verdict: For Tolkien fans mostly. **1/2.

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