MagazineFeature articles

Just in | Library of feature articles


Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Frank's Take)

01/01/2003. Contributed by Frank Ochieng

Buy Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers in the USA - or Buy Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers in the UK

author pic

Jackson proudly pounds his chest, and rightly so, as he ushers in the second instalment of Tolkien's universe in the masterful sequel The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Frank finds a film that is intriguingly breathtaking and sensually stimulating, The Two Towers is even more cinematically sound than the first outing.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
film review by Frank Ochieng
New Line Cinema
2 hrs. 59 mins.
Starring: Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Ian McKellan, Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys-Davies, Orlando Bloom, Liv Tyler, Brad Dourif, Christopher Lee, Billy Boyd, Miranda Otto, Bernard Hill
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Rating: *** 1/2 stars (out of 4 stars)

Writer-director Peter Jackson delivers another exuberant offering in the follow-up to last year's $300 million adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings books.

In the first installment The Fellowship of the Ring, the dynamic fantasy-adventure took audiences on a suspenseful ride that both visually and consciously captivated the masses with its fearless presentation of good versus evil.

In convincing ways Fellowship was raw, imaginative and beautifully crafted in the manner that Jackson helmed his enchanting and wondrous saga. The elements were clearly established in spectacular fashion: the light-hearted spirit and intestinal fortitude of combating one's soul set against the realm of bloodthirsty darkness.

Jackson proudly pounds his chest, and rightly so, as he ushers in the second installment of Tolkien's universe in the masterful sequel The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Intriguingly breathtaking and sensually stimulating, The Two Towers is even more cinematically sound than the first outing.

As a dazzling filmmaker, Jackson spares no expense as he diligently serves up a superlative gem that's transfixing beyond compare. This high-minded adventure is an exploration of exquisite tastes that mixes an assortment of ingredients meant to provide moviegoers with eye-popping entertainment. The Two Towers is a lacerating study of the whimsical, the macabre, the provocative and the visual.

Whether probing into the gritty battle scenes with absurd giddiness or appreciating the slices of subtle humor that the movie slyly conjures up, Jackson's pulsating three-hour narrative flows with the gracefulness of a golden swan in a calming current. In essence, The Lord of the Rings is poetic chaos for the film fan's expressionistic psyche.

Now provided that one has been introduced to The Fellowship of the Ring, this enthralling fable picks up where Fellowship left off. So going into The Two Towers without seeing the original film is at your own discretion unless you don't mind tackling the state of bewilderment while trying to adjust to the unfamiliar storyline.

With that said, we find our two heroic hobbits Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) and Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) on a dangerous mission as they try to gain access to the powerful evil ring so they can destroy it. The duo must reach Mount Doom (also known as the kingdom of Mordor) as the preferred destination.

As Frodo and Sam enthusiastically continue their ominous journey, they run into a colorful and wacky creature by the name of Gollum (marvelously voiced by Andy Serkis). Apparently, Gollum (formerly a hobbit) once had the infamous ring in his possession at one point and paid a heavy price in the process. Now he wants to suspiciously aid Frodo and Sam and accompany them to obtain the unpredictable, threatening ring.

Of course there are other quests that are chronicled as well. Hobbits Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) is the abducted couple in need of rescue from the dastardly forces that imprisoned them.

Thus, they are held up by the weird-looking humanoids Uruk-Hai until the twosome escape therefore ending up in the company of the Treebeards (creatures that look like "walking trees") wondering what to do with their unexpected guests.

In the meantime, fierce warrior Aragorn (Viggio Mortensen) lodges a full-fledged war for Middle-Earth sensibilities against tyrannical titan Saruman (Christopher Lee). Saruman is the deliciously devilish wizard with a flamboyant nasty streak. He is the punishing puppeteer behind the menacing Uruk-Hai clan.

With assistance from the likes of blustery warrior dwarf Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) and other determined allies, Aragorn is eager to thwart the tenacious tendencies of Saruman's terrorist reign. Also back in the fold to help out with the massive conflict is garrulous wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), a headstrong personality that lends a critical helping hand in confronting the likes of the sinister Saruman.

And so the struggle continues for the Fellowship in reacting toward the intimidating two demonic partners. Obviously the indomitable Saruman is the main culprit. Joining him is the dark lord Sauron, whose cynical philosophy embodies everything that's Saruman's twisted ideology. Hence, the connected towers of terror are regrettably on the same page of a ruthless book.

There's no denying the fact that Jackson's mythical masterpiece radiates so fabulously on the big screen. Decisively stunning, TLOTR: The Two Towers is a monumental movie fantasy that whisks the viewer into a lyrical landscape that never disappoints. Although the opulence is apparent in this grandiose production, some may have reservations about the slight neglect regarding the human factor of the characters that were focused upon in part one of The Fellowship of the Rings.

Granted, the verve in The Two Towers favors the action-packed fervor over the complexity of the players' makeup. Still, that shouldn't be a black mark against a haunting and hallucinatory whimsical epic that provides the sweeping potency of an adventure that generously incorporates passion in its crackerjack creativity.

The performances in this film are truly inspired. Most notable is the specific trio of McKellen's Gandalf, Rhys-Davies' Gimli (Davies, by the way, provides the voice for the Treebeard character) and Serkis's Gollum. As the rugged soldier representing the angst of his army and the people for whom they're willing to spill their blood for, Mortensen is effective as the handsome hero out to do battle in what amounts to be a glorious event fortified with continuous violence that feels almost operatic.

For a romantic angle (amongst the romanticism of clashing swords and armor) the hunky protagonist Aragorn is blessed with a beautiful byproduct in the person of desired maiden Arwen (Liv Tyler). Their flirtation is a side dish that will make some female admirers' heart flutter. The concoction of love and war certainly elevates this provocative showcase to its astonishing level.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a lavish and luminous spectacle that reinforces the grandeur of momentous moviemaking. Anyone who professes to be an ardent follower of Tolkien will come to understand Jackson as a filmmaker who appeases his filmgoers' expectations courtesy of an exposition that adds dimension to the calculating machinations of combat.

Stark, elegant, dramatic and viscerally exhilarating, The Two Towers is an exceptional sequel that gives us permission to yearn for livelier material concerning the further exploits of J.R.R. Tolkien's mind-boggling Middle-Earth tale. This is certainly a celebration in the making as The Two Towers restores our faith in the genre known as a sophisticated, elaborate popcorn flick that excels in moving its audience with the right dosage of manipulation.

Overall, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is in good capable hands and hopefully the collaborators will maintain the majestic vibrancy and galvanizing depth that spices up this sorcery-themed fantasy feature. Make no mistake in the realization that The Two Towers registers delightfully as a defining technical-achieving dynamo that embraces the extending heart and massages the pleasing anticipated eye.

Frank rates this film: *** 1/2 stars (out of 4 stars)

Frank Ochiang

(c) Frank Ochieng 2004

Magazine > Feature articles

Just in | Library of feature articles

Add daily news updates to your own web site or blog - just cut and paste the code below...


Post your comments


Warning: include(../../../comments/lib/2003/ failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/hunt0799/public_html/articles/features/2003/Lord-of-the-Rings-The-Two-Towers-Franks-Take-6764.php on line 29

Warning: include(../../../comments/lib/2003/ failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/hunt0799/public_html/articles/features/2003/Lord-of-the-Rings-The-Two-Towers-Franks-Take-6764.php on line 29

Warning: include(): Failed opening '../../../comments/lib/2003/' for inclusion (include_path='.:/opt/php54/lib/php') in /home/hunt0799/public_html/articles/features/2003/Lord-of-the-Rings-The-Two-Towers-Franks-Take-6764.php on line 29

The all-new SFcrowsnest is now running at This is now the archive for pre-2012 content. Nothing new is being posted here.

Magazine Articles

- Features

- Movie/TV Reviews

- Book Reviews

- News

- E-mail magazine

- Encyclopedia

- Other formats: Kindle, Nook, Sony Ebook, iPhone & iPod


- Top books

- Top movies/tv series


- SciFi @ FaceBook

- Steampunk @ FaceBook

- Us @ Google+


- Search site

Reader Tools

- RSS news feed

- Facebook page for SFcrowsnest

- Twitter page for SFcrowsnest

- Google toolbar for SFcrowsnest

Webmaster Tools

- Add our content feeds to your site