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Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
2002 - PG-13 - 179 Mins.
Director: Peter Jackson
Producer: Fran Walsh, Barrie M. Osborne, Peter Jackson, Tim Sanders
Written By: Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson, Phillippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair
Starring: Ian McKellen, Christopher Lee, Viggo Mortensen, Elijah Wood, Brad Dourif
Review by: David Trier
The much anticipated second chapter to the LOTR trilogy continues our journey with our gang of merry freaks, now separated into buddy-groups, making its way through the most Caucasian place in the universe.

The Two Towers starts with the less-than-astonishing reveal of Gandalf’s (Ian McKellan) survival, followed by some discussion of Christopher Lee merging forces (the two towers) to create an even larger evil empire (not unlike Bush and the Saudi royal family). Frodo (Elijah Wood) and his on-again off-again gay lover Sam (Sean Astin) gain the help of the freakish Gollum on their journey to destroy the ring. Meanwhile, the other two hobbits are turned sex slaves to the evil Uruk-hai until they escape and frolic to disco in the forest. Aragorn (of Aragorn) (Viggo Mortensen) gives up searching for an electric men’s shaver and, along with his favorite elf and dwarf, befriends a race of similarly scruffy humans forced into waging war by their aging king. Under an evil spell, the king is subject to the advice of secretary of state Grimma Wormtongue (Brad Dourif). Ultimately elves and men (and whatever Gandalf is) join forces to fight the “axis of evil.”

Similar in plight to Men in Black II, this second installment misses out on the charm of introducing us to our main characters. Our GQ poster boy, the semi-automatic arrow slinging Santa’s helper, the comic relieving axe wielding midget (who is actually tossed at one point!), the absolutely fabulous spell-casting old queen and our four furry man-children are a little less interesting this time around. But the few supporting additions, particularly Gollum, are worthwhile. Gollum is a fantastic special effects success and the film is smart not to make him into a perpetually unfunny jokester like Jar Jar Binks in that other movie. What was that movie? A little bit silly, but certainly interesting, the film also boasts some trees that talk and walk.

Special attention should be given to the brilliant casting of the brilliant actor Brad Dourif as Grimma Wormtongue. Like Ian McKellan and Christopher Lee, but unlike most of the rest of the cast, Dourif is able to take the bookish dialogue and give it some authenticity with his trademark intensity. Dourif’s characters usually die before the end of each film, so it should be interesting to see if he makes it through the next installment. Elijah Wood as Frodo makes another noble attempt to spit out a series of lines best suited for an old woman reading to toddlers, but the majority of his scenes still seem to be build-ups to a sloppy kiss with Sean Astin that never happens.

So despite its apparent lack of point, The Two Towers is the kind of visual success that’s worth checking out. Yes, horrendous dialogue, a plethora of confusing names and a seeming lack of a point might still make your eyelids heavy after the first two hours (of the battle scene). But the special effects are consistently stunning and the action makes the unnecessarily long journey, a more or less entertaining way to waste an afternoon.

Movie Guru Rating
An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater.
  4 out of 5 stars

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