Movie Review: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (here be spoil­ers)

Thursday, 19 December 2002

af­ter the ex­treme qual­i­ty of the first movie in every as­pect, this film was a vast dis­ap­point­ment for me. Hollywood had its dirty mitts all over the plot, adding se­quences that were mean­ing­less for the sto­ry, chang­ing around the struc­ture and tim­ing of the sto­ry it­self, mak­ing char­ac­ters be­have in man­ners ab­solute­ly con­trary to the book. Bah!

The Goods

  1. The char­ac­ters: Gr ma Wormtongue was an ex­cel­lent per­for­mance by Brad Dourif. He man­aged to cap­ture all as­pects, from the snivel­ing fear, the leech­like pres­ence, and the oily words that sway the minds of men. Altogether good. owyn was al­so true to the book, which was very nice to see.
  2. Gollum: could be put in the char­ac­ters cat­e­go­ry ex­cept that he is so much more im­por­tant. I must say that Gollum is per­fect. They man­age to make him a sym­pa­thet­ic char­ac­ter so very quick­ly that it is as­tound­ing. His con­stant switch­es be­tween Sm agol/​Gollum are very ef­fec­tive.
  3. Visuals: Peter Jackson got great art di­rec­tion for these films, every­thing is al­ways beau­ti­ful. The sets re­mind me of some­thing you would ex­pect from a the­atri­cal per­for­mance. This usu­al­ly doesn’t work too well in the fliks but it is ap­pro­pri­ate and even com­pelling for this sto­ry. The spar­ing use of col­or in this film made the in­stances of hue and bright­ness much more stun­ning.
  4. Critters: Wargs were ab­solute­ly amaz­ing. Dingos on steroids and the brown acid from Woodstock. The new mounts for the Ringwraiths are al­so straight out of a John Howe paint­ing. The legs of the Ents were a lit­tle longer than I’d imag­ined but that is just nit­picky af­ter all entstrides are long, they were hoary as all get out and their eyes were just right.

The Livable Changes

  1. The char­ac­ters: Gimli is just com­ic re­lief. Short jokes abound. I’d much rather have him be the loy­al, po­et­ic badass that he is in the books, but I guess I’ll have to set­tle for watch­ing him bench­press two wargs and an orc and fight­ing with Aragorn on the cause­way in­to Helm’s Deep. omer’s ac­tions aren’t quite the same as in the books but the he is the same in spir­it.
  2. Gollum: The par­al­lels be­tween him and Frodo, and Frodo’s recog­ni­tion of what he could be­come are mere­ly im­plied in the books, but are quite ef­fec­tive in the film ver­sion. In fact, I might even like it bet­ter.
  3. Visuals: Why the hell is Rohan so rocky? It is horse coun­try dammit. Oh well. Also, the end­less num­ber of vista shots us­ing cranes and copters got to be a lit­tle too much but they were still beau­ti­ful.
  4. Gandalf: The whole ex­or­cism of Th oden was dif­fer­ent but not nec­es­sar­i­ly wrong. I’d nev­er looked at it from the per­spec­tive that Saruman was lit­er­al­ly pos­sess­ing him. I’d al­ways looked at it as if he was just re­al­ly para­noid and afraid af­ter be­ing sucked up­on by Wormtongue

The Atrocities

  1. The char­ac­ters: Faramir. Totally ab­hor­rent­ly in­cor­rect. The whole point for his pres­ence in the book is to serve as the op­po­site of Boromir and to point out that there are good and no­ble men left in the world fight­ing an un­praised and un­no­ticed fight against Sauron. Aragorn is not the on­ly no­bil­i­ty left. Instead the film makes Faramir a weak­er ver­sion of Boromir who is too sus­pi­cious to make his own de­ci­sions. He is not Dun dain, he is a chode. Th oden. Since when is the King of Rohan an im­po­tent de­featist wastrel? Since when was his de­ci­sion to pro­tect his peo­ple a bad one. In the film he has 300 arms­men and yet is en­cour­aged to ride out and face cer­tain an­ni­hi­la­tion by 10k Uruk-hai. He was a smart man to go to the Deeping Coomb. Jackson overem­pha­sized the dis­par­i­ty in num­bers be­tween men and orcs. even if Th oden had 1,000 men the odds would still have been 10:1.
  2. Plot changes: Haldir show­ing up at Helm’s Deep with a cou­ple hun­dred el­ven archers is nice and all but it nev­er hap­pened. the elves are leav­ing for a rea­son, be­cause it is time for man to grow up and take con­trol over their world. I don’t like the whole in­tent be­hind them show­ing up. The whole scene where Aragorn gets tossed off the cliff is un­nec­ces­sary and is on­ly there to mo­ti­vate the weirdo dream se­quences with Arwen which in turn are on­ly there be­cause Liv Tyler want­ed Arwen to have a larg­er part. She-elf is just sup­posed to be pret­ty and elvish. owyn is sup­posed to be the badass one. The tim­ing of the whole thing is cat­ty­wam­pus; omer is not 300 leagues away (900 miles? my ass.) What about Erkenbrand and the rise of the Eastfold? There are THOUSANDS of Rohirrim not hun­dreds. The film ends halfway through the Two Towers. What about go­ing to Isengard and con­fronting Saruman? What about Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas re­unit­ing with Merry and Pippin? What about the Entdraughts? What about the Huorns de­stroy­ing Saruman’s army as it flees Helm’s Deep? Osgiliath???????? WHEN IN THE FUCK DO FRODO AND SAM GO TO OSGILIATH? Where is Minas Morgul? The Two Towers are not Barad-d r and Orthanc, they are Minas Morgul and Orthanc. Why is the Witch-King not a sen­tient force of evil and in­stead just a ve­hi­cle of fear on a cool winged lizard?

In sum­ma­ry, de­spite the ex­treme­ly well done as­pects of the film, the un­nec­ces­sary and un­mo­ti­vat­ed plot changes mere­ly give ev­i­dence to the Hollywood ten­den­cy to overem­pha­size. The re­sult is a world where ex­treme­ly few men and most of them dis­cour­aged and sus­pi­cious ex­cept for say Aragorn are pit­ted against the gi­nor­mous might of Sauron. This is turn puts much more em­pha­sis on the suc­cess of the Ringbearer at the cost of de­vel­op­ing the com­ing fi­nal stand of the Men of the West. fi­nal grade: B

Films I Saw This Semester

Wednesday, 11 December 2002

Films I saw this se­mes­ter:

Screams of Reason

Wednesday, 21 August 2002

i’m about 75% through Screams of Reason by David Skal. Its most­ly about Hollywood’s fas­ci­na­tion with mad sci­ence. Its ok. but a good shot in the dark by my moth­er who bought it for me. i can see many dif­fer­ent tracks where ex­pan­sion and deep­er aca­d­e­m­ic dis­course would add some in­sights but it is pret­ty hard to find good aca­d­e­m­ic texts on film since most are tar­get­ed to hob­by­ists and film buffs in­stead of aca­d­e­mics. yes i’m pompous. fuck off.

3 days till back to school.

80s Movies — Blech

Sunday, 21 July 2002

The on­ly way to watch com­ing-of-age fliks from the ‘80s is while drink­ing. at least if you are me. the best word to de­scribe my feel­ings re­gard­ing said films is ab­hor. We watched Can’t Buy Me Love and Footloose last night. It was, per­haps, more fun to rip on the rel­a­tive­ly in­no­cent an­tics and ec­cen­tric film tech­niques than it was to ac­tu­al­ly watch the film. Did I men­tion this was a film ma­jor par­ty? Footloose would be an ex­cel­lent movie to ap­pear on MST3K. There are so many scenes with lit­tle di­a­logue that Ryan and I had a blast rip­ping it to shreds. Mullets and bad mu­sic de­fine the emo­tion­al high­lights of any ‘80s teen­pic.

I am glad I was an in­no­cent lit­tle hick boy in the wilds that are east cen­tral in­di­ana dur­ing the ‘80s. And for those of you who are won­der­ing, no I did not have a rat­tail or a kid­die-sized mul­let.

For the next month I am go­ing to be teach­ing my­self CSS and by the time my se­nior year of col­lege starts per­haps I will have a CSS ver­sion of my page ready to go. Wish me luck, I don’t know shite about it and my ver­sion of Dreamweaver doesn’t seem to know shite about it ei­ther.

Dead Animal

Monday, 6 May 2002

5.6.02 INT. DEBARTOLO HALL RM. 316 9:43am DAY

there is a reason i smell like a dead animal.

marmoset body count: four

new film link: curious

today i am rancid


Saturday, 4 May 2002

5.4.02 INT. KEOUGH HALL RM 435. 11:25am DAY

not much to say to­day. saw spi­der­man last night. my the­o­ry as a film ma­jor is that any movie based on a com­ic book that re­minds you of the com­ic book and runs like a com­ic book is a good movie for those very rea­sons. it seems that quite a few peo­ple didn’t like the corny lines. “we’ll meet again!” fol­lowed by a ma­ni­a­cal laugh is an ac­cept­able and ex­pect­ed com­ic book phrase. so don’t com­plain about it.

to­day i am grub­by

Molly is a Dork

Sunday, 17 March 2002

judg­ing a body on its at­trac­tive­ness is fine (see en­try for 3.6.02) here is a more suc­cinct ex­pla­na­tion. the body can be ob­jec­ti­fied be­cause it is sim­ply an ob­ject. the dan­ger lies in treat­ing the per­son­al­i­ty by the same man­ner. so look­ing and ad­mir­ing a per­son for their body is fine. us­ing that mea­sure alone to judge them how­ev­er is fal­la­cy. the de­sire for the body/​object is a pure­ly in­stinc­tu­al process. a per­son must be loved for their soul.

mol­ly is a dork.

i’ve got so much work done. i still need to do more though. i have a re­search pa­per on Monty Python (to­tal­ly sweet) but i’ve al­so got some oth­er stuff to do be­fore i go root on the Irish Fencers at the NCAAs. i’ve got a part­ner project due for one of my film class­es and i need to get start­ed on my di­a­logue film. too bad we don’t have a lot of time. there nev­er is enough time for what is ex­pect­ed of us. too much is busy work and not enough tru­ly chal­lenges. most of the chal­lenge does not lie in ap­pli­ca­tion but whether or not you can get the amount done in time. its quan­ti­ty not qual­i­ty and it blows.

LATE NIGHT UPDATE2: talk­ing till 3:30 is fun but wak­ing up at 7 isn’t.