The Lord of the Rings, the book of the 20th Century, has become the motion picture event of the 21st Century—a groundbreaking epic of good versus evil, extraordinary heroes, wondrous creatures and dark armies of terror.
Review by Greg Wright


This page was created on December 1, 2002
This page was last updated on May 29, 2005

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Directed by Peter Jackson
Novel by J.R.R. Tolkien
Screenplay by Frances Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair and Peter Jackson

Elijah Wood .... Frodo Baggins
Ian McKellen .... Gandalf the White
Viggo Mortensen .... Aragorn
Sean Astin .... Samwise 'Sam' Gamgee
Billy Boyd .... Peregrin 'Pippin' Took
Liv Tyler .... Arwen Und?miel
John Rhys-Davies .... Gimli, son of Gl?in/Treebeard (voice)
Dominic Monaghan .... Meriadoc 'Merry' Brandybuck
Christopher Lee .... Saruman the White
Miranda Otto .... ?owyn
Brad Dourif .... Gr?ma Wormtongue
Orlando Bloom .... Legolas Greenleaf
Cate Blanchett .... Galadriel
Karl Urban .... ?omer
Bernard Hill .... Th?oden, King of Rohan
David Wenham .... Faramir
Andy Serkis .... Gollum/Sm?agol
Robyn Malcolm .... Morwen, refugee of Rohan
John Leigh .... H?ma

Produced by
Peter Jackson .... producer
Michael Lynne .... executive producer
Mark Ordesky .... executive producer
Barrie M. Osborne .... producer
Rick Porras .... co-producer
Jamie Selkirk .... co-producer
Robert Shaye .... executive producer
Frances Walsh .... producer
Bob Weinstein .... executive producer
Harvey Weinstein .... executive producer

Original Music by Howard Shore
Cinematography by Andrew Lesnie
Film Editing by D. Michael Horton

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for epic battle sequences and scary images.
Runtime: 179 min

For rating reasons, go to FILMRATINGS.COM, and MPAA.ORG.
Parents, please refer to PARENTALGUIDE.ORG

15 Trailers -click here
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Howard Shore

1. Foundations Of Stone 2. The Taming Of Smeagol 3. The Riders Of Rohan 4. The Passage Of The Marshes 5. The Uruk-hai 6. The King Of The Golden Hall 7. The Black Gate Is Closed 8. Evenstar - featuring Isabel Bayrakdarian 9. The White Rider 10. Treebeard 11. The Leave Taking 12. Helm's Deep 13. The Firbidden Pool 14. Breath Of Life - featuring Sheila Chandra 15. The Hornburg 16. Forth Earlingas - featuring Ben Del Maestro 17. Isengard Unleashed - featuring Elizabeth Fraser & Ben Del Maestro 18. Samwise The Brave 19. Gollum's Song - performed by Emiliana Torrini
19 Posters and Books -click here

Book InfoThe Two Towers Visual Companion:
The Official Illustrated Movie Companion
by Jude Fisher

Book Description
The official, fully authorized companion to the second part of Peter Jackson's award-winning trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. The Two Towers Visual Companion is a full-color guide to the characters, places and landscapes of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth as depicted in the second film in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and features a special introduction by Viggo Mortensen, who plays Aragorn. Lavishly illustrated with more than 100 full-color photographs, including exclusive images of Gollum, Treebeard and the battle of Helm's Deep, The Two Towers Visual Companion offers a privileged tour through the principal events of the second film. It begins with a recounting of The Fellowship of the Ring, and then takes the reader on the separate journeys undertaken by the Fellowship in The Two Towers. The Ring Quest: in which Frodo and Sam journey alone towards Mordor, alone that is, except for the sneaking figure of Gollum, who has been dogging their footsteps since Moria. The Captives' Journey: in which Merry and Pippin are carried by the fearsome Uruk-hai towards a fateful encounter with the wizard, Saruman, at the stronghold of Isengard. The Companions' Journey: in which Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli pursue the abducted hobbits across the Plains of Rohan and into the eaves of Fangorn Forest. Also included are a brand new map of Rohan and Gondor and a specially commissioned battle plan of the climactic events at Helm's Deep, where a brave stand will be made by the Free Peoples of Middle-earth against Saruman's horde. The companion offers an unforgettable tour of the haunted swamp of the Dead Marshes and the lovely but dangerous land of Ithilien which borders Mordor, the breathtaking kingdom of Rohan, home of the Horse-lords, its seat of power, Edoras, and the ancient stronghold of Helm's Deep, and provides an invaluable introduction to Peter Jackson's The Two Towers.

About the Author
Jude Fisher, who lives in England, is the pseudonym of an established fantasy author with expertise in Tolkien's novels.

J.R.R. Tolkien was born on January 3, 1892. After serving in the First World War, he embarked upon a distinguished career as a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University. He is the renowned creator of Middle-earth and author of the great modern classic, The Hobbit, the prelude to his epic masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings.


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The Lord of the Rings -

The Fellowship of the Ring
(Platinum Series Extended Edition)
In every aspect, the extended-edition DVD of Peter Jackson's epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring blows away the theatrical-version DVD. No one who cares at all about the film should ever need to watch the original version again. Well, maybe the impatient and the squeamish will still prefer the theatrical version, because the extended edition makes a long film 30 minutes longer and there's a bit more violence (though both versions are rated PG-13). But the changes--sometimes whole scenes, sometimes merely a few seconds--make for a richer film. There's more of the spirit of J.R.R. Tolkien, embodied in more songs and a longer opening focusing on Hobbiton. There's more character development, and more background into what is to come in the two subsequent films, such as Galadriel's gifts to the Fellowship and Aragorn's burden of lineage. And some additions make more sense to the plot, or are merely worth seeing, such as the wood elves leaving Middle-earth or the view of Caras Galadhon (but sorry, there's still no Tom Bombadil). Extremely useful are the chapter menus that indicate which scenes are new or extended.

Of the four commentary tracks, the ones with the greatest general appeal are the one by Jackson and cowriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, and the one by 10 cast members, but the more technically oriented commentaries by the creative and production staff are also worth hearing. The bonus features (encompassing two complete DVDs) are far superior to the largely promotional materials included on the theatrical release, delving into such matters as script development, casting, and visual effects. The only drawback is that the film is now spread over two discs, with a somewhat abrupt break following the council at Rivendell, due to the storage capacity required for the longer running time, the added DTS ES 6.1 audio, and the commentary tracks. But that's a minor inconvenience. Whether in this four-disc set or in the collector's gift set (which adds Argonath bookends and a DVD of National Geographic Beyond the Movie: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), the extended-edition DVD is the Fellowship DVD to rule them all. --David Horiuchi
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  Click to enlargeConsidered by millions throughout the world to be the greatest adventure ever told, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy chronicles the epic struggle for possession of the infamous One Ring. In the hands of its creator, the Dark Lord Sauron, it will give him the power to enslave the world.

Released last year, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring garnered over $850 million in worldwide box office. The film was nominated for 13 Academy Awards, more than any other film in 2001, winning four.

Click to enlargeAt the end of part one, the Fellowship was forced to divide. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers traces the journey of Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) as they venture deeper into the land of the enemy ? with the mysterious Gollum (Andy Serkis) serving as their guide ? while their companions in the Fellowship, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Gimli (John-Rhys Davies), struggle to rescue the captured Hobbits Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd). Their destinies now lie at Two Towers—Orthanc Tower in Isengard, where the corrupted wizard Saruman (Christopher Lee) waits, and Sauron's fortress at Barad-dûr, deep within the dark lands of Mordor. In addition to Gollum, The Two Towers also introduces the people of Rohan, led by King Theoden (Bernard Hill), his niece Éowyn (Miranda Otto) and her brother Eomer (Karl Urban); Faramir (David Wenham), brother of Boromir; Wormtongue (Brad Dourif); and the Ent, Treebeard.

Click to enlargeThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers stars (in alphabetical order) Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Brad Dourif, Bernard Hill, Christopher Lee, Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, John Noble, Miranda Otto, John Rhys-Davies, Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving, David Wenham, and Elijah Wood. The film is produced by Barrie M. Osborne, Jackson and Fran Walsh. The screenplay is by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair and Jackson based on the book by J.R.R. Tolkien. The executive producers are Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne. Also executive producing is Mark Ordesky.
by Greg Wright

The Nature of "Story"
In Tolkien's novel The Two Towers, Sam and Frodo take a little time to rest and philosophize as they approach Cirith Ungol. They talk about the story in which they find themselves, and about the nature of Story in general. Not surprisingly, Tolkien's Hobbits observe that we don't hear about all stories: the unlucky or the unfaithful are not memorialized. No; it's those who stick it out to the end that we hear about, those who persevere to the conclusion of their quest.

Of course, that's not entirely true, nor has it ever been. But it's certainly true of the kind of tale in which Frodo and Sam find themselves. And it's as true of Peter Jackson's movies as it is of Tolkien's books.

Jackson's is a Different Story
But Jackson's filmed version of The Two Towers is not the same story as Tolkien's. The titular towers are not even the same as those emphasized by Tolkien: Orthanc and Barad-dûr have been substituted for Minas Morgul and Minas Tirith. The framework of Jackson's story is provided by the Axis of Evil which hems in and ravages Rohan and Gondor; Tolkien's framework places more emphasis on the battle for right, waged in the shadowlands which form between darkness and light.

With a different framework come different details. The story line of Jackson's movie departs from Tolkien's text in more marked and radical ways than did the previous installment. This comes as no surprise to Tolkien fans, however, as the many teasers and trailers for The Two Towers give up many of Jackson's secrets fairly easily.

It's Not Just the Plot
So when seeing Jackson's movie, it's no great surprise that Éowyn plays a very different role for Jackson than she did for Tolkien. After all, her voice is featured more, perhaps, in the previews than in the entirety of Tolkien's novel. We know that she goes not to Dunharrow, but to Helm's Deep; she gets far closer to Aragorn than Tolkien ever let her. And this is only one of many such details that change in Jackson's story.

It's sufficient to say that the well-read Tolkien buff will find plenty to squirm about in The Two Towers, if there's plenty of squirm in the buff. But such plot details are really not the way to measure any story, much less Jackson's. Plot variations are just the window-dressing for what the story is really about. Why is Jackson's story particularly worth telling? Why is it particularly worth watching?

It's About Responsibility
In The Fellowship of the Ring, we saw a very different Aragorn and Arwen than Tolkien envisioned. In The Two Towers, we see more of them, and it's not just more of the same. We also see a very different Theoden, a different Éowyn and a different Faramir. Why are they different? Why has Jackson given us consistently conflicted characters where Tolkien served up stock types?

Jackson's treatment of Arwen in The Two Towers is a good case study. We see more of her influence on Aragorn, physically and metaphysically. We see more of her in flashbacks, and in flash-forwards. We see more of the tension between her and Elrond than Tolkien even included in his Appendices. Arwen, like other Jackson characters, exhibits precisely what drives Jackson's movies: the tension between being and becoming, and the responsibility that comes with free will and the exercise of choice. You may want to reject what your family has stood for, Jackson tells his audience, but there will be a price to pay if you do. Count the cost, as Jesus told His disciples, and pay the piper when he calls.

It's About Redemption
It's also no spoiler, even for those who have never read the books, that Gandalf makes a return engagement in The Two Towers. Having fallen into the abyss with the Balrog in Moria, he emerges victorious and is sent back to aid in the defense against the onslaught from Mordor and Isengard. For Tolkien, this was a major event. For Jackson, it's merely a presage of what's to come. Time after time, Jackson's characters appear to fall, only to rise again. It's as if Jackson were enthralled by the show-stopping musical number in the middle of Big Idea's Jonah, and determined that the God of Second Chances reigns over Middle-earth as well.

Of course, the repeated motif of victory over death points precisely to the evangelium which Tolkien designed into his story: the good news of the victory of Christ over sin, the victory of mercy over judgment, the victory of life over death. Even Jackson's Boromir, we will remember, redeemed himself with his valor in defense of Merry and Pippin, and with his dying fealty to Aragorn. The Two Towers is all about such redemption, and sets the stage for The Return of the King.

It's About Faithfulness

Finally, and ultimately, Jackson's movie is about the faithfulness to be found even in seemingly broken fellowship. The image of Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli gamely pursuing the marauding Uruk-hai indelibly defines the guiding heart of The Two Towers. Because of the chosen framework for his story, Jackson's movie is darker than Tolkien's. Because of the details that hang from his framework, his movie is more grisly, and may be hard for many to watch, particularly children.

But in the end, Jackson's movie makes a strong case for perseverance; for faithful service to those you've sworn to uphold; and for standing by the right thing, after all has been considered and doubts have been weighed. Do the right thing, Jackson says, and do it whatever the cost.

Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins. (James 4:17, NIV)

Huge Collection of over 40 Photos -click here
Review -click here
Trailers, Photos -click here
Posters and Books -click here
About this Film -click here
New Characters & Creatures -click here
About the Cast -click here
About the Filmmakers -click here
Spiritual Connections -click here

LOTR Coverage Index -click here


E-mail Greg Wright here

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The Two Towers—2002 New Line Cinema. All Rights Reserved.