I *GASP*! BLASPHEMY!* didn't like "Lord of the Rings Two Towers" (SPOILERS)

All right, off the bat: I didn’t read the books. So now we can start the stopwatch going to when the first Tokien fanatic posts “you’d appreciate the movie more if you read the books” or “it’s part of a trilogy”, assuming of course, the third movie will be good.

I’m sorry, but I’m just an average joe moviegoer who plunked down $5 to be entertained and mystified for 3 hours, which I was with the excellent “Fellowship of the Ring”, which I even have copy of on DVD.

I’m certainly not going to rip on the special effects. They were spectacular. Besides a crappy script, there are just too many annoying plot items about this movie that bothered me, and I don’t care if that is how Tolkien wrote it or not:

-Gandalf returns to life almost IMMEDIATELY with a very, very lame explanation. Also, how did he get the legendary “White Wizard” designation from the tree people in just a few days? The Gandalf character was easily the best thing about FOTR; in TT, he clearly jumps the shark big time. I would have liked it more if he came back later in the movie, regardless of whether that is the way it is on the book.

I also thought he was given horrible, horrible lines in this movie. “I was Gandalf the Grey; now I am Gandalf the White” or whatever, and the stupid line where he calls his horse, Shadofax. Blah, blah blah, no Oscar nomination for Ian this year- he had nothing to work with! Gandalf was a pathetic shadow of himself from FOTR.

-The Hobbits accomplish almost NOTHING in this movie. Frodo is a whining bitch the entire time. He finally gets to Mordor, then gets captured, and ends up miles away back in some city. Then he ends the movie the same way he ended the first one- trying to get back to Mordor! Why did they even bother putting him in the movie? This guy truly goes around in a complete circle after THREE FUCKING HOURS.

-Then there are the other two do-nothing Hobbits, who managed to almost get everyone killed in the caves in the first movie, yet for some bizarre reason the Vito Mortenson guy and the archer dude decide to risk their lives looking for them at the end of FOTR. Why bother?

In TT they manage to spend three hours talking to a walking tree. About the only thing they get accomplished is that they trick the tree into going to Eisendor, where the Tree Herder sees that Christopher Lee, a disappointing afterthought in this movie, has cut down the forest, and then they flood Eisendor. Okay, score 1 point for the Hobbits, but still, it took three hours to get to this???

-I could have done without the Mutual Admiration Society in this movie.

Tom: "Frodo, you are brave.
Frodo: "No, I could not have done it without you Tom, that is what they will say.

Done WHAT??? These Hobbits have the nerve to congratulate each other after spending three hours getting lost and captured, and Frodo do nothing but have a schizoid attack the entire movie? Look, throw the fucking ring into the fiery pit, and THEN pat each other on the backs, okay fellas???

-Vito Mortensen is a good actor, and I like his character, but man, all he does this entire movie is compliment or try to pump up other characters with some of the lamest speeches I have heard in a long time.

Vito Mortensen complimenting the princess saying that because she is a Princess, she would be very brave in battle. Okay, forget that you can handle a sword, or have guts, but because you are royalty you will do well in battle?

I also found the King to be very annoying and incompetent (why would you NOT send the women and children out the other side of the mountain if surely they would be massacred staying in the caves? At least they have a shot!).

But what did it take for him to finally stop whining about how his entire kingdom was going to get massacred by the Auks? Yep, another mind numbing speech from Vito, telling him to ride out in a blaze of glory. Suddenly, the Cowardly King gets some guts, and they ride out to destroy the Auks together. Forget Tony Robbins!

Vito, throwing down a sword when he realizes that the outclassed army of Men were about to get turned into barbeque by the Auks: "These men aren’t soldiers.
Archer Guy: "We are going to stay here and fight with these losers?
Vito, suddenly indignant: "IF I DIE, IT WILL BE WITH THESE MEN RIGHT HERE (right after cursing them out under his breath). Who wrote this crap, George Lucas???

Then right before the battle, Vito the Motivator gives ANOTHER weak motivational speech to a scared pre-pube. ENOUGH!

There’s also too many things happening in the movie that are not properly explained. Like when Gandalf turned the King back. Did he suddenly decide to do that? Or was that the reason they went to visit him in the first place? And why did Vito and Archer abandon their quest to find the Hobbits to help this guy? Maybe they came to the same conclusion I did: the Hobbitts are a waste of time saving.

There’s some other things I didn’t like (battle scenes too long), but I think I have trashed the movie enough.

I will now hide under a table and await the inevitable trashing from LOTR fans! :smiley:

I didn’t really like either of the LoTR movies. My husband was dying to see them, and so we went. Yes, the movies had stunning visuals, and great special effects, but three hours is a bit long for a film. I looked at my watch half of the way through and was dismayed that such a long time remained. I can’t say I was exactly bored, but I was restless, especially since the plot didn’t really interest me that much, not being a big sci-fi fan.

I did like the walking trees, though.

Works for me.
I read the books in High School. I enjoyed the movies too, but I, for one, think it’s okay if you didn’t.
I love your retelling though.

“The tree people couldn’t get Tom to hit Christopher Lee with that stick thingy, so the archer dude had to shoot him.”

Well, you should read the books, because while the movies are good movies, the books are great books. But I’ll try to proceed from here on out without bringing them up every three sentences. That said, I do think there is something to the “it’s a trilogy” argument. Events in this movie serve to set up events in the third movie, and some thing not explained now might be revealed later. With this series of movies, you have to approach them sort of like acts in a play, with two year-long intermissions in between.

Well, it did make butt-loads of money, so I think it was either entertaining enough Joe Average, or Joe Average is better read than either of us suspect and has actually read the books. Sorry, said I wasn’t going to bring that up, didn’t I? Last time, promise.

“White Wizard” is actually a position. Saruman, before he was evil, was the White Wizard, and greatly respected for it. Once his betrayal became evident, he was stripped of his position, and Gandalf, who was the Gray Wizard, got promoted in his place. This isn’t explained particularly well even in the books, so I’m not surprised it’s hard to follow in the movie. And his reappearance there is a little lame, too. Basically, God saved him and sent him back. Damn, I mentioned the books again, didn’t I? Sorry.

While what you say is not entirely without merit, I don’t think it in anyway impacts his chances at an Oscar. Hell, it probably improves them. This is the Academy Awards we’re talking about here. The same Academy that somehow thought Gladiator was the best movie of 2001.

Frodo’s struggle here is mainly a spiritual struggle, and won’t be resolved so long as he still has the Ring. I thought it was very well executed, and balanced out the heavy action in the rest of the movie. The interactions between Frodo and Gollum were among the most compelling in the movie.

Dude, that’s a little cold-blooded. They aren’t expert adventurers, doesn’t mean they deserve to die!

Agreed. And it’s Isengard, not Eisendor.

Er, that was Sam. Tom didn’t make it into the movies. And sorry for mentioning the book again, but if you think it’s bad in the movie…

His name is Viggo, not Vito. And I liked the speeches. I’m a sucker for a good inspirational.

Well, yeah. These are Monarchists, here. Ever heard of the “Divine Right of Kings?” This is exactly the sort of attitude I would expect characters like this to exhibit.

No, they’d be easy prey for the warg-riders. Rohan is basically a giant plain. The refugees would be visibile from miles away. Thier only hope was that they could hold Helm’s Deep long enough for re-inforcements. And, if you think about it, since all the women and children weren’t slaughtered, seems that Theoden made the right call.

Orcs, not Auks. This is an orc. This is an auk. And I still like the speeches.

Dude! If you’re going to say things like that, take it to the Pit!

Seriously, I don’t exactly remember that scene, so I’m going on your reconstruction of it: Aragorn was right, those weren’t soldiers. He’s making an accurate observation, not insulting them. Which makes it even more important that he not leave, as it’s his duty as nobility to protect the hapless commoners. (See my comment on Divine Right above.)

I still like the speeches. But you’re right, there were an awful lot of them.

Okay, this at least was explained fully in the movie, although in such a long film it’s easy to miss stuff. When Aragorn and Legolas met Gandalf, he informed them that the hobbits had been found by Treebeard, and were no longer in need of rescuing. However, Saruman’s army was close to conquering the land of Rohan, and it’s king, Theoden, hadn’t raised an army to fight it. This was too important to detour to find the Hobbits, so they set off immediatly to see Theoden. When they get there, they find Theoden under the spell of Grima Wormtongue, who is an agent of Saruman. Gandalf, being a wizard, recognizes this and breaks the spell, restoring him to his normal vitality and clarity of thought.

Oh, Christ, don’t worry about it. It was a welcome relief from the purists bitching about Treebeard being covered in the wrong kind of moss.

pearls before swine

There’s always going to be people who hate the movie and people who love the movie. The only thing that irritates me is when people actually compare the movies to the books. This movie trilogy is an adaptation and not the book itself, so i get where you are coming from.

While there are some pretty cliched speeches in the second movie, it reminded me of true cinema at its best. Think along these lines and you may understand me. The battle of Helm’s deep reminded me of battles from the John Wayne movie about the Alamo, and other older war films. I felt chills personally.

And yeah, that line about Gandalf not being gray but white, was rather corny. But since i know the context and the book, i forgave it…

To each his own…but i’d give it a second chance. It took me at least a second watch or third to catch some subtleties in Two Towers…

Which is why I think it was a major mistake to cut the “Saruman of many colors” bit from Fellowship. Yeah, SOMEthing had to go, but you coulda cut the wizard’s smackdown by 30 seconds and toss in the “many colors” bit right after “When did Saruman the Wise…” line. Saruman says the “I’m no longer Saruman the White…now I am Saruman of many colors!” He throws open his cloak, revealing in irridescent outfit underneath (Disco Saruman!) which does a dazzling prism effect (“Saruman’s Prismatic Spray” 5d4 damage, save vs illusion) and then they go at each other with the wizard’s smackdown. It would make the “Gandalf the White” thing more comprehensible to newbies, IMO.


De gustibus non disputadem or something like that.
That said, I don’t agree with your criticisms and I personally think it was an excellent film, both on its own and as part of the trilogy.

The wierd thing is, I’ve read the books four or five times now, and I still don’t remember Saruman and the Amazing Techni-Color Dreamcoat. Selective memory? I’m glad they lost it.

In case it wasn’t clear from my earlier post, I really enjoyed the movie, but not as much as the first one. In the first half of the movie, it seemed like they were sacrificing a lot of story and acting to get everyone in place for the big Helm’s Deep/Isengard/Osgiliath showdown. But the showdown was so cool, I forgave the earlier hastyness.

For God’s sake, people, it’s not a poll! Debate! The joy of art is in the sharing!

If there’s anything worse than getting massacred by orcs, it’s getting massacred by auks. At least with the orcs, you go fast.


but Auks are cuter

—Which is why I think it was a major mistake to cut the “Saruman of many colors” bit from Fellowship.—

Ditto. That’s actually one of the most powerful and most important interchanges in the book. Maybe they’ll save it for the next film, but I lose hope.

As a “purist,” I could stand FOTR’s excess and lack of subtlety, but TT was over the top in terms of pooly written additions (almost all pure trivial cliche) and pacing. The battles were portrayed quite well, sorry, I can’t get past the “You’ve got to toss me” silliness. The Taiwanese bootleg subtitles helped some though: “Now for Rat!” “What Food U Got?” and, best of all considering the long history of tongue and cheeck hobbitship: “I Have to Do Sam!”

If you prefer Auks, then go watch “Ice Age!” :slight_smile:

Seriously, excellent criticism, Vinnie, with one exception. I’ve been wondering how the movie would seem to someone who was not already a Tolkien geek; you answered that fairly.

The idea of monarchism is a strong underlying factor in both Rohan and Gondor (see next movie), but that the leaders deserve to be leaders by being wise and courageous is key to Tolkien’s thinking – and that is by no means developed enough. However, you can only cram so much into a three-hour movie, Eowyn as warrior princess has to be developed here for reasons to be dealt with in the next movie, and Jackson already had taken enough (most fans would say more than enough) liberties with the book’s plot already.

The fact that it’s the middle third of an epic story does militate against The Two Towers having a really significant start and finish, seeming to pick up loose ends and leave other ones hanging. That’s unfortunate, but inherent in Jackson’s decision to make three movies to tell the story in the three volumes of the epic novel.

The one real objection I have to your criticism of the movie *as a movie, is in your summary dismissal of the Frodo/Sam/Gollum scenes. (Faramir’s capture and release of the hobbits is from the book, and necessary for reasons dealt with in the third part.) Other than that, they do not engage in any buckle-my-swash action drama – but that’s the point. Two very small young adult persons and a schizoid character strained past the point of sanity by having borne 500 years of temptation are making a looooong trek by themselves, and the emotional effects on the characters of the trek and their dealings with one another are the key elements of this. That’s part of what makes Tolkien head and shoulders above the typical elf-dwarf-warrior-and-rogue-go-in-quest-of-the-fabulous-carbuncle-of-Og ripoff of his work – the psychological depth of the characters, nowhere more evident than in the characterizations of Frodo and Smeagol/Gollum. Preserving that depth amidst temptations to throw in a bit more guaranteed-to-thrill-the-teens action drama is something for which Jackson deserves a lot more credit than he’s gotten.

Ok, I’m going to put in a quick question for the OP:

Do you happen to write for TruthMedia? I notice they haven’t done a TT review yet, maybe you should submit this.

And if that was a serious post, you’ll have to forgive me. The line between satire and reality gets a little thin sometimes. Personally, I didn’t like TT as much as FOTR either, and for pretty much the same reasons: it seemed too drawn out and not much happened. In my defense, that mirrors my thoughts on the original books. Whenever I talk to someone who says they tried to read the LotR and stopped, nine times out of ten they stop somewhere around the Two Towers. I usually recommend they just jump right to RotK and see what they think.

Still, I hope they find some way to get Andy Sirkis (Gollum) an Academy Award nomination for supporting actor. The voice and expression changes during the Slinker/Stinker debate was phenomanal.

But there’s really not a whole lot to debate over. The OP’s complaints applied to the original book, and there’s only so much they could change from the book to make it workable as a movie. (And still they got no end of criticism for the changes). The most common thing I’ve heard about The Two Towers in the book, and the thing I took away from it myself, was that it was overly long, convulted, tedious, and basically unfilmable.

I loved both movies, the second even more than the first, but I don’t think that the OP’s points are invalid, either; I just don’t agree. Or at least, I think that most of the “problems” with the plot are there because they’re there in the book, and you can’t change the book.

Weird. For me, it’s one of the most vivid moments in the book!

My big problem with the movies is the Orcs. When I read the books, I imagined them as being about a head or two shorter than men, on average, though more muscular, making for about an even tradeoff.

But in the movie they appeared to be about a head taller than men, and built like NFL defensive linemen, with the same quickness. I’m sorry, but the only reasonable outcome of the battle of Helm’s Deep would be for the orcs to plow through the ordinary human opponents and their wispy bachelor-lookin elven allies like a scythe through ripe wheat. Instead, the humans chew the orcs up.

Doesn’t make any kind of sense at all. OK, it’s dramatic, but that’s about it.

The Uruk-hai did pretty much kick the defenders’ asses until the cavalry arrived.

[nitpick]Actually, they’re half-orc, half goblin-men.[/nitpick]