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

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