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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Rings’#146; sequel ‘#145;Towers’#146; over other holiday films

    Maybe it’#146;s the epic battle scenes. Or the breathtaking scenery. Or the delicate character moments. But at some point during ‘#147;The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,’#148; the second part of J.R.R. Tolkien’#146;s mammoth fantasy trilogy, you have to sit back and realize this is filmmaking at its absolute best

    Director Peter Jackson has fashioned a work of unparalleled cinematic scope, full of wonders and terrors so marvelous that the three-hour film seems to race by in a heartbeat.

    Film Review
    Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (5 out of 5 stars)

    The movie opens with a mesmerizing sequence that explains, sort of, what happens to Gandalf (Ian McKellen), the wizard who fell into a dark abyss while battling a demonic Balrog monster. From there, we follow the journeys of the scattered members of the Fellowship of the Ring, who in the first film united to destroy the Ring of Power that would bind all of Middle-Earth to the dark Lord Sauron.

    On their now separate journeys, the characters encounter Ents, Orcs, Riders and all sorts of creatures whose names are capitalized for dramatic effect.

    Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) and his friend Sam (Sean Astin) still are trying to bring the Ring to Mordor, where it must be destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom. Along the way, they encounter Gollum, a devious little creature corrupted by the Ring’#146;s power. A totally computer-generated character, Gollum is a true work of art, sometimes wretched, sometimes endearing, always compelling.

    Pippin (Billy Boyd) and Merry (Dominic Monaghan) escape the clutches of a band of Orcs, where they flee into the enchanted forest of Fangorn and enlist the help of the Ents, who are walking, talking trees.

    Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Gandalf the White (Ian McKellen) and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), come upon the besieged kingdom of Rohan, where they help break the spell of the dark wizard Saruman and lead the people to Helm’#146;s Deep, a refuge against the forces of darkness.

    These three plotlines weave in and out of the film with an almost poetic sense of storytelling, as Jackson wisely abandons the odd narrative structure of Tolkien’#146;s book, which dispenses with the climactic Helm’#146;s Deep battle about a third of the way in and devotes the novel’#146;s entire second half to the comparatively less interesting travels of Sam and Frodo.

    And speaking of that battle, the final hour of ‘#147;The Two Towers’#148; contains some of the most impressive stuff ever committed to film. Though this is a fantasy movie, Jackson directs the Helm’#146;s Deep scene with enough continuity and dramatic gusto to outdo even ‘#147;Saving Private Ryan’#148; and ‘#147;Braveheart.’#148;

    The emphasis on action and storytelling comes at the expense of character development. But, all things considered, that’#146;s not a big deal. Plus, the interaction between the hobbits and Gollum ‘#151; or, better yet, between Gollum and himself ‘#151; is nothing short of brilliant.

    There are plenty of new characters to boot, and Aragorn, who seems to get more tail than anyone in Middle-Earth, finds himself in the middle of a love triangle. Honestly, what’#146;s a fantasy epic without a good, old-fashioned love triangle?

    ‘#147;The Two Towers’#148; is no-holds-barred, kick-ass filmmaking that continues and expands upon the expertise demonstrated in the first installment. At a time when digital effects are becoming less and less impressive by the day, Jackson and company have accomplished a remarkable task ‘#151; adding heart to the visual splendor. George Lucas should take notes.

    Like the first installment, there’#146;s a heck of a cliffhanger ending, a harbinger of a long year that awaits ‘#147;Rings’#148; fans who yearn for the final chapter, ‘#147;The Return of the King.’#148; I, for one, wish the saga would never end.

    Life Diversions Editor Troy Reimink can be reached for comment at [email protected].

    Copyright Central Michigan Life

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