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Lord Of The Rings | Two Towers | review | dvd | Lollipop

The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

(New Line)
by Chad Van Wagner

Forget the hype for a minute and think about this: There is no post-modernism whatsoever in Peter Jackson's take on The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. This might not seem like a revelation, but considering the last few decades of blockbuster films, it's sure as hell unusual.

This, I think, is the secret behind the series' success. The closest anyone got to the epic wizards and goblins storytelling on display here was way back with Legend, and even that one elicits more than a few rolled eyes when the big demon dude shows up. No, Jackson played it straight, a move almost as ballsy as committing to all three of these installments from the word go. Thank God, then, for Jackson's cojones of steel, because this triumvirate of films looks like they're going to be the definitive fantasy films for this decade (seriously, what's the competition? The Matrix? Star Wars? Please.)

This can be said now that The Two Towers has proven itself to be the equal to the first of the series. Granted, it's not exactly a different movie, it's simply the next three hours in what is essentially one nine-hour film. But what makes the whole thing so amazing is Jackson's sure-footedness when dealing with things that, in the hands of lesser directors, would either be cheesy jokes (Gollum, well-played by Andy Serkis) or transparent attempts to sell toys (Treebeard). These elements actually work seamlessly with the sprawling, convoluted, but strangely streamlined story. Even when the script calls for a bit of impromptu dwarf tossing, the knowing snickers come from the audience, not the film. Seriousness like this is rare. Seriousness like this that actually works is virtually extinct.

If this review seems a bit abstract, well, what can you really say about the middle third of a film? There's even less closure at the end of The Two Towers than there was in The Fellowship of the Ring, but after surviving the jaw-dropping, epic (there's that word again) battle for the castle, the viewer is more than ready to take a break anyway. By the time you read this, the final installment, The Return Of the King, should be in theaters, and there's no reason to believe it won't be as amazing as this. The only mystery, beyond what will happen to the One Ring itself, is what Jackson can possibly do next.

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