Worth A Look: 9.4%
Pretty Bad: 2.24%
Total Crap: 2.39%
14 reviews, 586 user ratings
|Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The
by Chris Parry
I should open this thing by stating clearly that I hate going to the cinema. This may seem an odd thing to say for someone who reviews movies, but when you think about it the cinema is the worst place to watch a movie. The people around you are easily distracted, the theater manager creates food gimmicks that seem designed to get people to climb out of their seats multiple times per flick, and there's always some idiot who just can't help but check the time on his digital fucking watch which makes a little beep noise every time he does so. There's the fat chick that insists on sitting in the seat just past you and steps on your toes in the process. There's the row of Asian teenagers who insist on bringing in their dinner - in plastic bags. There's the African American ladies behind you, who just won't shut up. Then there's the line-up... in the rain. Lord help me, I could never visit a big screen again and quite happily exist for video screeners and DVDs... but this is Lord of the Rings, yo. You've got to see this shit in a big theater with a big stupid crowd. It's what it was designed to withstand, and withstand it does.I refuse point blank to recant the story of this thing at all. See, either you've already seen the first film, in which case you know what to expect, or you haven't seen the first one, in which case you have no place going to see this film. It'll just confuse you. Go rent the first LOTR and then get back to me.
"Hello, my name is Oz. Can I join that bandwagon?"
Now, with the luddites off doing other things, we can get down to the serious stuff. I didn't want this motherfucker to end.
After the Fellowship of the Ring built things up to a ridiculous standard, it would be easy for Peter Jackson to take his foot off the pedals for this installment and just cruise through, after all, it's not like we wouldn't have gone to see the thing regardless. To his undying credit, he's done no such thing. In fact, like with that other great trilogy of cinematic lore, Star Wars, the second installment here just gets better.
Yes, despite the digital watches and fat women and loud minorities and stupid majorities and fathers too cheap to buy enough popcorn for their kids who instead take the same bag back FOUR TIMES for the free refill, each time pushing past me and interrupting my joy... despite all of this, I had an absolute blast. And I don't know that any other film could have survived the onslaught of cinema stupidity and kept me smiling to the end... I honestly don't.
Much has been said about the cast and story and breathtaking scenery, but here's what this flick comes down to - two hours of prep for the war to end all wars. And then we get an hour of the war.
Flying heads, mud so thick you can feel it in your shoes, arrows whizzing by your head, swords swinging, action, death, tension and tactics. Like a good Kurosawa movie, Jackson knows that you can't just shake the camera and think the audience will feel like they're in a battle, you have to map it out for them so they know where both sides are, what the objectives are, and in their own heads plan how they would handle the details if they were there. Anyone who has seen The Seven Samurai knows what this is about - the audience is shown exactly what is to come through maps and planning so that there is NO confusion, not overt confusion. Star Wars got this aspect right too, we knew where Luke and his pack were headed, what they were facing and how close they were; then in Episode One we got none of that, a kid shooting blindly in a fighter, one lucky shot and the war is over. Where's the fun in that?
And so it goes that as things build to this mighty battle which could end existence as we (well not we, but they) know it, we see what's coming, where it's going, how huge the odds are and imagine what we'd do.
And then we let slip the dogs of war.
And with every swing, every setback, every death, every small victory, we're there in the middle of it. We feel the panic. We feel it all. As the cast are confused, so too are we. As they try to figure out a solution, so too do we. and as they give up all hope...
I looked at my watch after what I thought was three hours, desperate that this battle wouldn't be left hanging for the next episode. I thought there were barely minutes left. Then I saw my watch... an hour remaining.
Yes, there are problems. Some of the editing is shaky at best, perhaps because there's an inevitable four hour cut out there which will end up in a $100 DVD eventually, and some of the story and dialogue was a little iffy. Heck, there's even some dodgy CGI, which is a little tough to forgive in a film with this much prep time. But I don't care. This flick rocked my world. I'll be there once more when the saga ends next Christmas. And I'll once more get my toes stepped on.So be it.
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originally posted: 01/12/03 19:22:02