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

Country facebook cinemax Mindy Kaling Shudder children's TV See It Skip It Paramount Network Pop strong female leads Food Network Emmy Nominations political drama south america Acorn TV mockumentary aliens History nature spider-man The CW Dark Horse Comics New York Comic Con Starz WarnerMedia BBC America cults Masterpiece CBS Comic Book Creative Arts Emmys VICE Emmys BET AMC Pirates crossover Red Carpet Walt Disney Pictures PBS kids Action FXX DGA Sci-Fi hist CNN dc NBC RT History Valentine's Day unscripted 2018 Ovation singing competition First Reviews book movies Awards 20th Century Fox Kids & Family Rocketman comic theme song cats animated Video Games HBO Horror Cosplay APB Nickelodeon OWN spinoff Stephen King true crime Logo Song of Ice and Fire Countdown Lifetime revenge thriller natural history richard e. Grant social media VH1 transformers Television Academy Amazon spain LGBTQ Superheroe discovery festivals X-Men TruTV Showtime Syfy harry potter Musicals DC Comics FOX RT21 green book war Comedy Comedy Central Warner Bros. First Look Christmas Oscars Arrowverse Mary Tyler Moore ABC elevated horror Peacock dragons TV binge crime USA Network ESPN Vudu hispanic GoT Adult Swim Marathons game of thrones Shondaland Musical Star Wars composers Paramount Trophy Talk YouTube Red CW Seed Schedule Calendar Freeform spanish language Universal Fall TV IFC Black Mirror Tarantino Marvel police drama Spectrum Originals latino game show biography foreign Best and Worst CMT GLAAD Rock zero dark thirty Year in Review Winners justice league doctor who zombies Certified Fresh Teen toy story video MCU Tumblr Writers Guild of America Mary poppins TNT 2016 Comics on TV Holidays Martial Arts DirecTV cars ITV period drama BBC Nat Geo 45 series what to watch TCA San Diego Comic-Con Amazon Prime Disney streaming service SDCC Spike 21st Century Fox Polls and Games Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt FX comiccon Election Infographic Box Office Photos Western quibi Super Bowl based on movie miniseries diversity Drama Sony Pictures SXSW spy thriller finale Set visit psychological thriller NYCC E3 Chernobyl PaleyFest Watching Series YA sports Music adaptation Ghostbusters stand-up comedy Lionsgate crime thriller Mudbound travel Lucasfilm LGBT adventure romance MTV Hulu Sundance Podcast medical drama Winter TV Sundance Now golden globes witnail space dramedy Britbox Mary Poppins Returns E! ghosts Binge Guide serial killer Animation politics Film blaxploitation science fiction Film Festival robots mutant Disney casting The Witch Sneak Peek Spring TV TBS jamie lee curtis 007 cooking Bravo Elton John Rocky Family GIFs National Geographic tv talk SundanceTV Grammys 2019 YouTube Premium 2017 Trivia El Rey Women's History Month sitcom Netflix Quiz Reality Competition supernatural USA TLC Cartoon Network Columbia Pictures The Arrangement Brie Larson Heroines disaster Pixar 71st Emmy Awards ABC Family cops psycho CBS All Access boxoffice Toys anthology Superheroes Anna Paquin vampires Rom-Com Thanksgiving dceu Crackle Premiere Dates technology television TCA 2017 DC streaming service talk show streaming teaser Pride Month Star Trek Tomatazos Captain marvel Biopics 2015 Extras award winner WGN Epix 24 frames Interview A&E MSNBC Cannes historical drama Apple Ellie Kemper DC Universe zombie American Society of Cinematographers Disney Channel sequel IFC Films Awards Tour Fox News Amazon Prime Video Mystery anime Esquire TV Land Trailer Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TIFF Opinion docudrama crime drama Pet Sematary Character Guide Nominations Summer HBO Max TCM President Fantasy ratings Reality