Welcome to the second part of my review of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy! As I mentioned in Part 1, these reviews are specifically about the films, not the books. So please don’t be upset if I talk about something that’s not in the books or neglect something that is in the books!

The Two Towers picks up where The Fellowship of the Ring, both the movie and the Fellowship itself, ended. Frodo and Samwise have begun their journey to Mordor alone; Pippin and Merry have been captured by Uruk-hai soldiers who believe they possess the Ring and are being carried to Isengard.

Gandalf was slain by the Balrog of Moria (or was he???), Boromir fell in a hopeless defense of the hobbits, leaving just Aragorn the Ranger, Legolas Greenleaf, and Gimli son of Gloin to chase after Merry and Pippen.

I said it about the first movie, I’m about to say it about this movie, and I’m going to say it about the third movie, but there’s truly nothing about the film that I can criticize. Casting, acting, costumes, sets, makeup, the script, the soundtrack, special effects, stunt doubles, choreography. Literally all of it is excellent.

I guess if there’s something to ding the movie for, and it’s the same issue with the book, it’s the scenes with Treebeard and the Ents. These scenes, much like the Ents themselves, are slow, drawn out, and a little boring. Now they did a fantastic job with the special effects here, and some timely jokes from Pippen break up the boredom, but it’s hard to take the Entmoot scenes from the book and do anything fun with them.

Of all the movies, this one is probably the most ‘action packed’. The skirmish between Warg riders and the Rohirrim was great, and the epic battle of Helm’s Deep and the Ents’ attack on Isengard were visually stunning. Ten thousand Uruk-hai soldiers charging a fortress in the rain at night, with arrows falling like rain drops and flaming torches illuminating the battlefield was simply amazing.

I really loved how the nation and the people of Rohan were portrayed in this film. A strong, sturdy people who practically live in the saddle, the distinct Anglo-Saxon culture and architecture, the fierce, fighting spirit of their men and women. Eowyn is such a great character. I know Tolkien gets knocked for the dearth of women in Middle-Earth, but the women he does include prominently are simply fantastic, great role models. Eowyn is brave, she is loyal, she is loving, she is fierce and heroic, full of sorrow and hope.

If only she could cook a better stew!

My favorite scenes both include a timeless speech from Theoden King, just before and at the end of the battle of Helm’s Deep. His ‘where is the horse and the rider’ speech and the ‘what can men do against such reckless hate’ speech.

Where is the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing? They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow. How did it come to this?

Theoden is a tragic character, a weathered old king desperately hoping that his reign will not be the final chapter of his people’s history. He is full of sorrow but also a warrior’s wrath, which is why at the end of the battle he seems to be giving up. But Aragorn appeals to his fighting spirit, implores him to ‘ride out and meet them’ instead of waiting for death to come to him. This awakens Theoden as he takes his royal guard on a suicide charge into battle, buying just enough time to be saved by the timely arrival of Gandalf the White and the rest of Rohan’s army.

“So much death. What can men do against such reckless hate?”
“Ride out and meet them.”
“For death and glory?”
“For Rohan. For your people.”
“Yes. Yes! The Horn of Helm Hammerhand shall sound in the deep one last time! Fell deeds awaken! Now for wrath, now for ruin, and a Red Dawn!”

I still get goosebumps watching those scenes, even years later and knowing the script word-for-word.

Can I also say how glad I am that they stuck to the ‘old English’ dialogue from the books? It’s not exactly like that, but it has an old, ‘bygone era’, ‘people don’t talk like that anymore’ feel to it for the most part. The more flippant scenes have a modern flair to the script, but these serious, pivotal scenes are well done with writing that feels appropriate for the gravity of the situation.

This ran long so I’ll wrap it up. But be warned that when I do The Return of the King it’s gonna be a loooong post! I hope you enjoyed my review of The Two Towers, feel free to mention your own favorite parts or dislikes about the film in the comments!

Published by Peter Martuneac

Marine, Boilermaker, husband and father. I'm here to share my thoughts on all things political or philosophical.

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4 Comments

  1. Of all the peoples in ‘The Lord of the Rings’, the Rohirrim are my favourite and its not only because I love horses. Their whole ethos from their nobility, honour, and fierce fighting spirit – which extends to their women – to their culture and language is very appealing.
    The visual team captured the look of Meduseld so well, and its perfect how they included horse carvings and designs around the building.
    One of my favourite scenes is when Gandalf calls Shadowfax; I was a little worried how well he’d translate from book to screen, but he looked as I pictured him.
    Another favourite – apart from the ones you’ve mentioned – is when Gandalf and Éomer appear with his éored at Helm’s Deep just as the sun is rising, blinding the enemy at just the right moment; no need for any magic, just great timing!
    Looking forward to your review of the last film 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I wholeheartedly agree, it was truly an immersive experience they created. It was easy to be swept away to Rohan, especially in the scenes set at the Golden Hall of Edoras.

      I agree, the Rohirrim charge at the end there was spectacular! I was going to write about it, but the Rohirrim charge at Pelennor Fields in the third movie is going to be talked about at length when I review it, and I didn’t want to overdo it haha!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Surely the Rohirrim charge falls under the heading of ‘can’t have too much of a good thing’ 😉 but I know what you mean – that charge at Pelennor Fields NEEDS to be talked about! I like that you’ve added ‘at length’; really looking forward to your review! 😊

        Liked by 2 people

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