Two Towers

I saw TTT last night at a preview screening here in LA. I won’t spoil stuff for anyone, but this movie ROCKS. It’s really, really good. It’s also kind of different from FOTR–the first film was really a smaller-scope character movie about nine people on an adventure. This is more of an action picture. It has really amazing battle sequences. And the CG Gollum is amazing.

To put some rumors to rest, though: there’s nothing about Smeagol and Deagol (other than a passing dialog reference); Arwen is not at Helm’s Deep (and is actually hardly in the movie at all) but some elves are; there’s no Shelob (not even a glimpse!); and there are warg riders–they’re in a sequence that I think Peter Jackson made up (I haven’t read the books in 3 years or so, but I don’t remember this part happening in the book). There are no warg riders at Helm’s Deep, though.

Would you call it better than Fellowship?

I swear I saw wargs at least mentioned as I read Two Towers last month, but I can’t remember exactly where.

That’s a really tough call, because they’re different kinds of movies. So it will probably depend on your tastes. Personally, I would give the edge to FOTR, because I like the characters and it has more emotional heft than TTT–there’s nothing in TTT that has the same emotion as Boromir’s death in FOTR. OTOH, if you like action and fight sequences, TTT is definitely better. Helm’s Deep is the most incredible battle I’ve ever seen on film. The girl I saw it with (who is also an enormous fan of the books and of the first movie) thought TTT was better. It all depends. Either way, they are both incredible films.

My understanding was that they moved Shelob to the Return of the King.

Surely Jackson can’t cut her out altogether. Ungoliant would be pissed.

That’s my understanding too, but I had heard a rumor that there was actually a brief glimpse of her (sort of presaging what was to come, cliffhanger material) in TTT. There isn’t.

My understanding was that they moved Shelob to the Return of the King.

Surely Jackson can’t cut her out altogether. Ungoliant would be pissed.[/quote]

Shelob’s definitely in one of the movies. A friend of mine gave me a copy of the “Making of the Movie” book for my birthday (along with the Extended Edition DVD with bookends :D ) and there’s a reference to a set of Shelob’s legs sitting in the corner of the Weta Workshop.

Ooops, forgot to login. That last post on Shelob’s legs is me …

Shelob is in Return of the King. Jackson has stated his reasons for the switch many times – because, he felt, Frodo and Sam would have little to do in Return of the King otherwise (except in the finale).

Yeah, and that totally makes sense. Still, it would’ve been cool to see at least a little of her in TTT. Then again, it gives me another thing to speculate about and look forward to in ROTK. So it’s all good.

Peeking around the web, I’m finding a lot of the early reviews of TTT are in the “B” range, and many of these same reviewers gave movies like “Maid in Manhattan” and “Analyze That” better scores.

So is it just me, or is maybe TTT a victim of its own expectations, critically? Surely Maid in Manhattan has a lot more flaws to pick out and/or a lot less to put a smile on your face than TTT. I haven’t seen either one, but come on…ya gotta wonder…

I’m think sometimes movie reviewers forget that for us regular slobs, it’s $8.50 and an evening of our time whether we’re watching Tomb Raider or Gladiator. (Roger Ebert gave Tomb Raider 3 stars and Gladiator 2) Are there seperate review scales for movies nobody really expects to be any good (J Lo) and movies that everyone knows is going to make a crapload of money (LOTR)? Do they cut slack to lower-budget movies, as if we paid less to go see them?

Seriously, this Ross Anthony guy gave TTT a B+ (http://rossanthony.com/L/lotr2twrs.shtml), the same as Die Another Day and less than Sweet Home Alabama (A) or I Spy (A-). Now, I haven’t seen TTT yet nor will I ever see SHA or I Spy, but my gut tells me there’s no fucking way they are better films than TTT.

Tells you all you need to know about Ebert, doesn’t it? I bet he accused Gladiator of transporting reactionary ideology…

Now, I haven’t seen TTT yet nor will I ever see SHA or I Spy, but my gut tells me there’s no fucking way they are better films than TTT.

I’m sure I’ll love it but that’s pretty much unrelated to how it compares to other films… these other films aren’t Tolkien!

Its probably part of the deleted scenes in the invevitable SE DVD due out in, uhm, 2003.

Marketing wankers.

It could be that. It could also be that TTT is not for everyone–there are quite a few people out there who just don’t go in for fantasy pictures, and they might find a lighthearted comedy to be more fun to see. One of the problems with movie reviewers (unlike game reviewers, for example) is that they have to review ALL the movies, even the ones in genres they don’t particularly like.

TTT is not a B-grade movie. It’s an A+. Even if you don’t like fantasy, I would think that any movie reviewer would be able to see that. OTOH, I do think TTT is probably less friendly to the casual viewer than FOTR. Even people who don’t like fantasy pictures could get into the character relationships in FOTR, but TTT is mostly about fantasy action sequences and not so much about interpersonal relationships. So maybe that has something to do with it.

They’re not getting comparable ratings.

Rotten Tomatoes:

Two Towers: 96% fresh (100% from the cream of the crop)
Maid in Manahattan 38% fresh (31%)
Analyze that 28% (11%)
Die Another Day 59% (38%)

Looks like Two Towers is living up to expectations. The above ratings don’t take into account “degree of like or dislike”, but they show that very few publications/reviewers are giving comparable ratings to those movies and Two Towers.

It could be that. It could also be that TTT is not for everyone–there are quite a few people out there who just don’t go in for fantasy pictures, and they might find a lighthearted comedy to be more fun to see.

I think this is what’s going on. For every Tolkein Fanboy there are plenty of people who just don’t care for the genre, and they have valid reasons not to like it. Tolkein does some great fantasy stuff, and puts together a richly defined imaginary world, but as far as characters, plots, and language go, it’s pretty hackneyed. And some people care about that stuff.

And the reason there are more non-fanboys is that like wargamers and sim-heads, Tolkein fanatics don’t breed.

S

Tolkien’s language hackneyed? The guy practically invented fantasy writing!

Damn it… I’ve been trolled haven’t I…

–Dave

I’ve never seen an obvious troll on this Forum, but I’ve seen maybe 30 posts speculating as to trolls. Anticipation better than the fact perhaps?

Tolkien’s writing is garbage. I’ve tried twice and failed twice to make it past about 100 pages of the first book of the trilogy… its just too painful to read.

His stellar aspects lie in world creation and in creating the fantasy concept (also strong in plot and characterization)… that doesn’t cover up his gaping weaknesses however.

Tolkien was big with the hippies, and they breed like rabbits, right?

Tolkien’s writing is garbage. I’ve tried twice and failed twice to make it past about 100 pages of the first book of the trilogy… its just too painful to read.

This qualifies you as a judge of Tolkien? What can you even say about his world building skills as you clearly have never even seen them. This does however qualify you as a troll.