Watching Series: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

We Revisit The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Movies

by , and | December 11, 2014 | Comments

In anticipation of the upcoming release of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, we here at RT decided to take a look back at the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the first two films of the Hobbittrilogy. Our latest installment covers The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which editors Tim Ryan and Ryan Fujitani rewatched for some fresh perspective.

The Fellowship of the Ring | The Two Towers The Return of the King

An Unexpected Journey | The Desolation of Smaug

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Tim: I remember liking The Two Towers better than The Fellowship of the Ring when I saw it in the theater. It certainly contains more striking imagery, from the craggy Ents to the imposing Mûmakil (which, like the AT-ATs in The Empire Strikes Back, are inefficient as battle weaponry but still look completely awesome). However, upon watching the extended edition, I wasn’t as involved. Unlike Fellowship, which supplemented the theatrical cut with plenty of seemingly essential side notes, I thought the special edition of the Two Towers longer, not more illuminating.

Ryan: Yep, Two Towers was my favorite of the three LOTR films for several reasons: I, too, love the Ents (my favorite characters from the series, in fact), Eomer and the riders of Rohan are badass, the destruction of Isengard and the climactic battle at Helm’s Deep are epic, and we get some of Gollum’s meatiest scenes, among other things. Unfortunately, this latest rewatch drastically changed my assessment of the movie. I don’t know if it was because it was the extended cut, or if I simply never noticed these issues before, but I found The Two Towers wholly unfocused, forced to split its time between several storylines that almost never converge. This was a big problem for me, and my love for the movie diminished quite a bit upon this viewing.



Tim: Still, credit where it’s due: that climatic battle sequence is breathtaking in its visceral power, and Gollum has to be considered one of the definitive movie characters of the 2000s. Therein lies another issue with the Two Towers, however: Andy Serkis is such a gifted physical actor, and Gollum is such a vivid creation, that he ends up overshadowing the human actors by a pretty wide margin.

Luke: I’m not gonna lie: I fell asleep in this movie. I don’t know if it was the pizza, er lembas bread, but I was out stone cold midway through. Thing is, like you guys, this was my favorite theatrically, but the extended edition throws the narrative wildly out of balance. I liked the Two Towers theatrically because it split its time judiciously between the Frodo-Sam-Gollum journey (the best thing, for me) and the machinations at Rohan leading up to Helm’s Deep, but in the long version it seemed Gollum disappeared for huge stretches in favor of more — so very much more — standing around and talking by interchangeable stock types anticipating battle. I think by about the four-millionth exhortation of “We ride!” — followed by another meeting — I was done. Pared back to the treachery of Gollum and his game of wits with the hobbits, though, there’s a good movie in here.



Ryan: I hate to admit it, but I also nodded off around the time Aragorn was pretending to like Eowyn’s battlefield broth (a completely unnecessary scene I’m glad was left on the cutting room floor), and at one point, there were, by my count, four narrative threads being juggled: the preparations at Rohan, Pippin and Merry with the Ents, Frodo and Sam, and the love story between Aragorn and Arwen. Thankfully — and wisely — the theatrical cut pared down the latter of those quite a bit, but with extended stretches devoted to the other three (lending to the long absence of Gollum from the screen, as noted by Luke), the longer cut just dragged on and on. For my money’s worth, the theatrical cut of this film is just right; my affection remains strong, if slightly abated, thanks to Helm’s Deep and the Ents.

Tim: You know, when a tree fell on my car last year, I was initially convinced it was a random accident. Now I know it wasn’t: I was the target of a plot devised at one of those Ent Moots.

Ryan: And they’d been planning it for centuries.

Luke: Speaking of Ents, Ryan we must make mention of one of our favorite moments in all the trilogy, I think. You know what I’m talking about?

Ryan: You can only be speaking of the copious amounts of ganj… err, Longbottom Leaf being smoked.

Luke: Well that was rather stirring, of course, but you must remember the cheer that went up when one of the Ents used the surging floodwaters of Isengard to quench his flaming hair of leaves.

Ryan: Oh, that! Such a small moment, yet so brilliantly comic. I thought to myself, “Yup, that’s what I would have done, too.”

Luke: [Laughs] I salute the genius at Weta who did that.

Tag Cloud

Music SDCC Nat Geo Star Wars Valentine's Day social media History 2017 Toys 2018 game show historical drama Reality travel crime thriller LGBT cats SXSW Sci-Fi Kids & Family TCM Mudbound crime drama Spring TV Fantasy based on movie Set visit Amazon Shondaland award winner Lucasfilm RT History Biopics animated Photos Dark Horse Comics 24 frames mutant VICE YA FXX AMC Food Network discovery Pride Month vampires Trivia strong female leads dramedy Spike space Rock 20th Century Fox Ovation boxoffice richard e. Grant natural history what to watch elevated horror TV Land Holidays medical drama Paramount Network Tarantino Captain marvel Cannes Mystery Warner Bros. theme song Horror Marathons technology justice league BBC America Superheroe political drama Summer finale television MTV NYCC Martial Arts zombie crossover Schedule Creative Arts Emmys The Arrangement IFC Films President politics HBO anime sports aliens ABC adventure New York Comic Con APB Fox News Netflix Brie Larson blaxploitation Britbox streaming Pirates Sundance Musicals DGA LGBTQ anthology spider-man Grammys Marvel Awards Tour WGN Infographic E3 Paramount Rocketman dc PBS PaleyFest casting Winners Masterpiece E! Winter TV 2019 DirecTV Syfy Countdown psycho serial killer science fiction Teen Chernobyl Premiere Dates Star Trek National Geographic Sneak Peek The CW Super Bowl Emmys Best and Worst The Witch Tomatazos Country dragons ITV Extras Mary Poppins Returns Year in Review mockumentary Disney DC streaming service period drama comiccon Hulu Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt jamie lee curtis disaster Universal Acorn TV witnail Mindy Kaling Oscars TLC Comics on TV supernatural DC Universe Comic Book Christmas SundanceTV cops FX Pop Sundance Now Watching Series Pet Sematary Lionsgate Reality Competition Calendar A&E singing competition facebook diversity Logo VH1 psychological thriller Certified Fresh Crackle Spectrum Originals Mary Tyler Moore Esquire dceu Red Carpet GoT Amazon Prime TNT Election unscripted transformers Apple Ghostbusters Cartoon Network Film Festival RT21 Elton John Character Guide Tumblr 2015 Cosplay 2016 Thanksgiving green book FOX Action ESPN cooking First Look Mary poppins BET Trophy Talk Vudu teaser Quiz Anna Paquin TCA 2017 sitcom Pixar zero dark thirty YouTube Red binge NBC nature El Rey Superheroes Epix TV Box Office 45 See It Skip It doctor who docudrama Opinion Women's History Month hist OWN MSNBC Adult Swim toy story Comedy Central CMT CW Seed miniseries TBS festivals golden globes San Diego Comic-Con Awards cults police drama Western Showtime war Chilling Adventures of Sabrina sequel composers X-Men adaptation Lifetime Freeform Black Mirror Heroines Interview GIFs Columbia Pictures Sony Pictures Trailer TruTV BBC spy thriller robots Nickelodeon GLAAD zombies Walt Disney Pictures harry potter TIFF CBS All Access IFC true crime Stephen King romance Nominations cinemax American Society of Cinematographers Rom-Com crime Fall TV YouTube Premium 007 DC Comics MCU comic Disney Channel ratings Musical Polls and Games Bravo USA CBS Podcast Starz Animation spinoff Rocky Video Games thriller Shudder USA Network biography Writers Guild of America CNN Ellie Kemper talk show 21st Century Fox Song of Ice and Fire Drama ABC Family Comedy TCA