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One More Week Of Waiting

The Two Towers Exceeds All Expectations

By Kevin Der

Staff Writer

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Written by Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson

Based on the book by J.R.R. Tolkien

Directed by Peter Jackson

Starring Elijah Wood, Ian McKellan, Viggo Mortensen, and Sean Astin

Rated PG-13

Anticipation and desire are funny things. You can wait for something to arrive for so long, yearning for it with all of your will bent towards it, and when it finally comes, you realize your expectations were completely miscalculated. When I sat down to watch The Two Towers, I realized that I had not even come close to imagining what it would truly be like.

Picture the Yoda fight, or the lobby scene in the Matrix. They are now trivial, obsolete, far-gone memories. Every minute in The Two Towers dwarfs them completely. We are transfixed from the moment we see the very first images, a flight over the snow-covered mountains above the mines of Moria, hearing again the quake that signalled Gandalf’s fall. The hypnotism begins there and does not end.

The film essentially takes on several concurrent storylines that follow the paths of the broken fellowship. Frodo and Sam attempt to continue their journey to Mordor under the increasing danger brought by the one ring. At the same time, Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas are first seen tracking the group of Uruk-hai, which has captured Merry and Pippin.

To call The Two Towers visually stunning would be an insult. There is sheer power and evil put forth by the image of Saruman atop the tower of Isengard unleashing his horde of thousands, amassed upon the barren land of what was once an aged and beautiful forest. The eye of Sauron himself, volcanic and electrical, threatens menacingly from the highest spire of the colossal fortress of Barad-dur. The stronghold of Helm’s Deep, meanwhile, serves as the last hope for the people of Rohan, forced to take refuge from Saruman’s invaders.

Compared to The Fellowship of the Ring, the characters in The Two Towers are just as convincing. Viggo Mortensen, who plays Aragorn, completely commands his role, as does the rest of the entire cast. Elijah Wood, in particular, perfectly conveys the continually growing weight in his mind as the ring begins to do its work on hobbit Frodo. King Theoden and Grima Wormtongue are likewise superbly acted. And if Ian McKellan doesn’t walk home with an Oscar this time, the Academy will have once again proved its ineptitude.

Meanwhile, one of the most important characters in the whole epic is finally seen beyond a mere glimpse. Gollum, purely computer-generated on screen, is wonderfully conceived. Twitching, snarling, and schizophrenic, the poor creature is the most realistic and seamlessly interacting computer generated being ever crafted.

And finally, what many have been awaiting, the “Battle of Helm’s Deep” is unquestionably one of the best action sequences of all time. You will see ten thousand warriors of Saruman, barely visible by the moonlight blocked by rainfall, preparing to siege the keep’s walls. Atop the embattlements, countless rows of defenders ready their weapons. As the battle unfolds and reaches its breaking point, you will find yourself shouting and jumping out of your seat from the sheer radiating intensity of the bloodshed.

The Two Towers has managed to accomplish the near-impossible and surpass the masterpiece that was Fellowship of the Ring. The film is surely flawless and requires hardly any introduction. If the first two adaptations are any indication, the Lord of the Rings is rapidly contending for the title of best epic of all time. Next Tuesday at midnight, you may well find yourself not studying for remaining final exams, but rather, succumbing to the power of the ring.