The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson
Based on: J. R. R. Tolkien‘s novel
Sequel to: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Cast: Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Andy Serkis, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Craig Parker, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving, Bernard Hill, Brad Dourif, Miranda Otto, Karl Urban, David Wenham, Brad Dourif, Sean Bean
Seen on: 6.1.2022
Content Note: racism
The fellowship of the ring is no more. Sam (Sean Astin) and Frodo (Elijah Wood) are heading towards Mordor with the help of Gollum (Andy Serkis). Meanwhile Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom) are chasing after Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) who were taken by orcs under the command of Saruman (Christopher Lee). Things are coming to a head.
The Two Towers does have a couple of blunders that really haven’t aged well, but other than that, it is still an excellent film (though it is only my second favorite in the trilogy).
The Two Towers really makes a problem obvious by making it worse. Already in the first film, there are only white people in the movie (and most of them men), apart from the Uruk-Hai who are played by Black actors and their appearance, while outlandish and not exactly human, is definitely racialized. The Two Towers now explicitely introduces other cultures with people of color. And not only are their representations rather stereotypical, they all fight on the side of the evil-doers. To say that this hasn’t aged well is actually an understatement – it was already fucked up 20 years ago.
I am also not a fan of Eowyn’s (Miranda Otto) hapless flirting with Aragorn. That just shortchanges her as a character – and she’s already not much fleshed out to begin with. Given that she’s one of three women of consequence in the trilogy, this is especially insulting, and struck me much more this time than I remembered. Past!Me was too upset with Faramir’s (David Wenham) change from the book to focus on Eowyn. And I’m not gonna lie, even though I know why they changed Faramir and it makes sense from a narrative point of view, it still hurts a little.
Despite all of that, The Two Towers is still a good watch, even though towards the end the long battle starts and that CGI fest is my least favorite part of the entire trilogy (which is why the third film is my least favorite because it’s practically just a CGI battle). I like the Rohirrim, and I love the Ents. Gollum gets much more screentime here and it just underscores how good the CGI is for him, and how well Andy Serkis plays him (of course, the split personality thing is its own bag of issues).
It’s definitely a film full of power and great themes that are well-realized in this big world that we find here. Even its fault can’t change the effect the film still has 20 years later.
Summarizing: still very good.