TWO TOWERS Saving Middle-earth from Destruction.
Lord of the Rings II: The Two Towers

dir. Jackson

Opens Wed Dec 18



In the interest of remaining somewhat utilitarian, I shall now elaborate on the above statement.

The Two Towers starts where Fellowship left off, of course: Sam (Sean Astin) and Frodo (Elijah Wood) make off towards Mordor with the ultimate task of throwing the One Ring into its fires (the only way to prevent the total destruction of Middle-Earth). The rest of the Fellowship--Aragorn, Gimli the dwarf, that dude who looks like Mark-Paul Gosselaar--have left so as not to be seduced by the ring's awesome power, and begin battling the utter shitload of Uruk-hai that Saruman has sent to obliterate all that is living.

Meanwhile, the two annoying Hobbits (Merry and Pippin) flee into Fangorn Forest, where they meet the Ents--ancient, talking tree-herders. (Nerds, FYI: the Ents look fairly fresh, and though they appear even more computer-generated than the Balrog, all CGI in the Rings series thus far has been executed with great regard for taste.) Also: Frodo and Sam entangle with the Gollum (whose CGI is perfect down to his crusty mouth-drool); spells are broken; Gandalf has a near-death experience and changes clothes. Unlike the book, the storyline is spliced together for cinematic purposes, but this does not detract from the veracity of the tale.

And there are battles--so many sweet battles! The first 20 minutes were actually a little slow, and I was forced to entertain myself by thinking of Rings-related metal band names (Balrog's Descent, Village Pillage, Gay Wizard, Violent Orc Birth, Mortal Wound, What About Arwen?, Saruman is Great--Not). But the battles made the next three hours pass with the insatiability of one exhilarating moment. It was just like being at a Blazers game--I spent several moments shaking my fist at the screen, screaming, "FIGHT! STAB HIM, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STAB HIM!"

Everything else, you know: the direction is beautiful, it's more action-packed and less contemplative than Fellowship, and director Peter Jackson is surely one of this decade's greatest minds. Good has prevailed, and the holiday wishes of the world's nerds have once again come to pass.