The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: The Two Towers balances spectacular action with emotional storytelling, leaving audiences both wholly satisfied and eager for the final chapter.


Movie Info

Frodo and Samwise press on toward Mordor. Gollum insists on being the guide. Can anyone so corrupted by the ring be trusted? Can Frodo, increasingly under the sway of the ring, even trust himself? Meanwhile, Aragorn, drawing closer to his kingly destiny, rallies forces of good for the battles that must come. Director Peter Jackson delivers an amazing second movie that won 2 Academy Awards (R)* and earned 6 total nominations including Best Picture. The journey continues. So do the astonishing … More

Rating: PG-13 (for epic battle sequences and scary images)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Classics, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Philippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair, Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 26, 2003
Box Office: $340.5M
Runtime:
New Line Cinema - Official Site

Cast


as Frodo Baggins

as Gandalf

as Arwen

as Galadriel

as Pippin Took

as Éowyn

as Théoden

as Gamling

as Elrond

as Grima Wormtongue

as Éomer

as Faramir

as Gimli, Treebeard

as Haldir

as Sauron

as Celeborn
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

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Critic Reviews for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

All Critics (247) | Top Critics (48)

It's a thrilling three-hour epic that flies at a gallop, boasts the most impressive computer graphics yet created, and succeeds smashingly as grownup drama and kid-captivating fantasy.

Full Review… | November 12, 2014
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

When Gandalf arrives with reinforcements, descending a near-vertical slope using horses where you or I would use snowboards, the spirit of triumphant rampage is something rarely glimpsed since the days of Olivier and Henry V.

Full Review… | November 19, 2013
New Yorker
Top Critic

To live up to expectations, The Two Towers only had to be as good as its predecessor -- and, astoundingly, it's better.

Full Review… | November 19, 2013
AV Club
Top Critic

The battle for Gollum's mind also provides a fitting teaser conclusion to the second act of a story I'm beginning to wish would never end.

Full Review… | November 19, 2013
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Part two is more a straight-ahead action flick, substituting brawn and brawling for the pastoral radiance of the first film.

Full Review… | November 19, 2013
Associated Press
Top Critic

An army of filmmakers led by the director, Peter Jackson, has made the trilogy's central section a ringing testament to the power of motion pictures.

Full Review… | May 7, 2011
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Onward to Mount Doom, the perilous journey continues from where it left off. Still in familiar territory with this sequel as the 78 Bakshi film also covered most of what happens here, just about, so yes I can still compare to a degree hurray!

So as we crack on with the story its not long before you discover there's a lot of dialog, quite a lot, in fact bloody hell what have I gotten myself into! Yes the first like two hours of the film is much dialog and not really very much else. Now if you're a Tolkien fanboy this will be music to your ears as Jackson does cover a whole heap of plot, although there are variations and changes still as there were with the first film.

I should point out quickly that all visuals, details, location work and performances are of course as you would expect and still on par with the first entry. There isn't too much need to go into all that as the quality is still just as high all round and I explained those standards in my first review.

This is of course the film where we meet Gollum properly as a full fledged character. Now in my humble little opinion you either like this guy or you don't, personally I can't stand this character even back in the Bakshi film. I realise he is suppose to be a wretched creature but Jesus Christ he's annoying, annoying on the same level as Jar Jar Binks. His voice just pisses me off and his design with those big eyes looks completely ridiculous, the guy has Disney eyes for gods sake!

Again upon release this character got huge raving reviews about the CGI and all round rendering against the live action. Again I simply don't understand what the hell everyone was on about as I saw shoddy CGI abundantly with some awful rendering against live action characters in places. Its not all bad for sure, a scene with Gollum sat on a rock next to some open water eating a fish shows how good some of the CGI could be. In general I was never impressed with this effect and his quite childish and basic looking features, the only aspect that looked real was his eyes, kinda.

So to be honest most of the film is really rather dull and slow for the most part. There are bits of interest within the plot that spring up to keep you awake (Merry and Pippin with the orcs) and of course the odd eye popping moment of real scenery (Edoras). But lets be honest here, it all gets into gear when King Théoden of Rohan decides to move his people of Edoras to Helm's Deep and everybody starts to suit up for war...WAR!!!

Before we get there you have the intriguing sub plot with Merry Pippin and Treebeard. Now this part of the plot I always liked and I loved the Ent species, huge ancient old gnarly trees that could come alive, walk and talk. This was one area which never really saw the light of day in the Bakshi film.

I was happy to see that Fangorn forest did live up to my expectations with its sweeping, mystical, magical appearance. I loved how light beams broke through the twisted huge trees, the gentle humming of insects in the background, the bold palette of greens, yellows and browns of the undergrowth, all together giving this harmonious fairytale utopia. Now this was never going to be an easy task creating living trees and to be honest I think the designs were pretty good for the Ent species. Well the odd tree character looked a bit silly, the weeping willow type character didn't quite work if you ask me, why would that be in a forest? Probably not a weeping willow I know but it looked like it.

Amazingly Treebeard isn't fully CGI, he is actually a large puppet/model against bluescreen with the help of CGI later on naturally. To be brutally honest, the sequences with both Merry and Pippin riding around with Treebeard are, well...pretty poor looking. The big problem with these films has been dreadful bluescreen effects which are hideously obvious to the point that the foreground is virtually a different brightness to the background. Hard to pull off yes but it does look very basic. The models are quite nice and better than the fully CGI Ents but neither are exactly believable which I hate to say.

Anyway after a whole lot of plot development and slow slow character driven dialog blah blah blah we finally get to the meat of the film and what we've all been waiting for, the battle at Helm's Deep. Finally we are here, I know that's what I was thinking, I'm sure you were too, yes you were don't lie.

Now far from me to describe myself as a battle whore but this huge huge finale certainly got my nipples tingling with excitement. As the massive army of orcs, Uruk-Hai and god knows what slowly lurch closer you can't help but get pumped. Aragorn summons his army of men and elves to arms, walking up and down the vast stone fortified wall of Helm's Deep invoking a warriors passion into the hearts of all that stand beside him. On the other side of the wall in the pouring rain the orcs and Uruk-Hai pound the ground with their spears, baiting their foes...oh yeah its full on kick ass!

In short the battle doesn't disappoint in any way, Jackson milks every moment for as much heroic posturing as possible with plenty of good short suit up sequences just to make sure you know there is gonna be some epic hacking n slashing. The good guys are holding firm but slowly succumb and you really do start thinking how the hell are they gonna turn this around!. Its a full rollercoaster of emotion as the goodies crumble along with their fortress and become overrun.

The epic splattering of orcs, men and elves is interspursed with silly moments I have to say. The orcs manage to get the explosives into the drainage, the weak spot of the Helm's Deep walls. But then they have one big orc do some kind of Olympic torch bearing act and run across the battlefield holding the igniting flame aloft for all to see and shoot at...eh? Why not just light it when they dumped it?

I didn't like the odd moment of Hollywood where Legolas slides down some stairs on a shield like a surfboard whilst shooting multiple arrows one after another. Does this elf ever run out of arrows by the way? his pouch is always chock full.
When Aragorn throws Gimli across a quite large drop onto the main bridge at the entrance of Helm's Deep. He then proceeds to jump it himself and they both fight off quite literately hundreds of Uruk-Hai. And when all the heroes come charging out of the fortress on horseback they pretty much go through hundreds of big sturdy heavy Uruk-Hai as if they were made out of paper.

Finally, when Gandalf shows up with Éomer looking down on Helm's Deep, errr...that near sheer downward gradient drop they all ride down on horseback!! excuse me!! Yes its little quibbles but things like that detract from the sensible story and I always notice this stuff.

The effects are better than the first film yet still have the same problems in my opinion. One good example of some pretty terrible CGI action would be the attack of the Isengard wolves or Warg riders. This sequence really is jerky with nasty bluescreen and a whole load of fake looking action set pieces. There are also many little moments throughout which simply don't look right, one tiny sequence shows Legolas mounting a horse as it trots past him which is quite literately absolutely awful looking.

On the plus side the orcs and Uruk-Hai seem to look much better this time, not quite as hokey. The Ringwraiths look good on their flying dragon-like steeds and there seems to be a bit more blood on show methinks too, ever so slightly more gooey and gory.

Overall I thought this film was for the most part rather dull and not as good as the first film. The finale battle is obviously the best thing in the whole film and without it there would be problems. The film does feel much more like a serious historical drama for the most part up to the final big battle. From that point on it obviously becomes a much stronger fantasy action film which it really needed frankly.

Not that the rest of the film is bad, its just a wee slow and dull, filling in lots of plot before it all heats up. The thing is the dialog and slow building in the first film was much more interesting because you're getting to know the characters and their world. Here its just filler getting Frodo and the gang to the next big step, but kudos for getting it all in there and staying true to the book.

To be continued.....

phubbs1
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

½

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Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

½

Though not as precise in its storytelling abilities as its predecessor, 'The Two Towers' makes up for its slowly paced plot with epic action pieces. The Battle of Helm's Deep is massively exciting and impressive, and Serkis' work as Smeagol is just as brilliant. The story may be a little bit of a drag in the second installment of the saga, but the epic battle and final third make it all worth while.

Kase Vollebregt
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer

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