Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Pierre Vinet (New Line Cinema)

The second Lord of the Rings film, The Two Towers strays from J.R.R. Tolkienís trilogy by shifting the focus away from the hobbits and towards the world of men with Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) taking over as the central figure. Frodo (Elijah Wood) and the hobbits are still there, but the depth of their characters has almost vanished.

Personally I favor the first film far more than The Two Towers because it gave a balance of characters and situations and focused on character depth. This second film is essentially an action flick. Focusing on war, the drama moves from one battle to the next interspersed by the travels of two bands of hobbits.

But Iím not knocking the film. The special effects alone are worth the price of admission and some divergence to the world of men is warranted in this second installment provided that the focus returns to Frodo for the third film in this trilogy (to be released Christmas 2003). Also, one of the most interesting developments in this second film is the concentration on the split personality of Gollum, the slithering underworld creature who once possessed the ring of power. Frodoís discovery that Gollum may have once been a hobbit leads him to take pity on the creature and trust him to guide he and Sam (Sean Astin). Gollumís split personality, which constantly vacillates between good and evil, continues that main theme developed so well in the first film. Indeed, it far overshadows Frodoís continued struggles with the ringís dark power.

Though not as engaging a film as the first in terms of character depth, The Two Towers is a damn good action flick with some very realistic and entertaining special effects. If you havenít seen the first film yet, or read the books by Tolkien, rent the video or read the first book before you go to see this second installment, otherwise youíll be lost in a dark unfamiliar world ravished by fear, war and the incessant rise of evil powers.

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