In the words of Jim

In the words of Jim Royle, “The Two Towers? My arse!”.

I was really impressed by The Fellowship of the Ring. Sure, it had a couple of horribly cheesy moments (“And you shall be known as… The Fellowship of the Ring!”), but on the whole it was a superb job – a great movie and a great movie of the book. Unfortunately, I just can’t put my hand on my heart and say the same about The Two Towers – it may, from certain points of view, be a great movie (though personally I’m less convinced than with Fellowship), but it’s sure as hell not a great movie of the book, a fact which I found dreadfully disappointing.

Now, I don’t want to be a “nit-picking Tolkienite” – really I don’t, and I have moans beyond divergence from the book. In particular, it seems that one of the main charges levelled at the film from other quarters is that a huge chunk of the book is missing (namely the whole Shelob thing) but I wasn’t too concerned about that, so long as squeezing it into the third movie didn’t mess that up.

What did bother me, however, was the following:

1. Vastly increased density of cheese. How many times do we need a rousing speech about how this will probably be the last time we stand and fight, but stand and fight we must? Throughout the film it wasn’t terribly hard to spot which dialogue was written by Tolkien and which wasn’t, but in these too-frequent and too-heavy moments of cheese the disparity became embarassingly obvious. This is the main reason why I don’t think The Two Towers is a great movie. Waaaay too Bruckheimer, and a real shame.

2. Inversion of the character and motivation of no less than three reasonably major new figures: Theoden, Faramir, and The Ents are all turned from noble groovy dudes who do The Right Thing into fools who make the wrong decision, only for it to somehow turn out OK in the end. What the fuck? Why was that necessary? What, makers of the movie, have you added to the story by making this change? Beyond the cheese, this is the main reason why I don’t think it’s a great movie of the book. There were plenty of others, but I won’t dwell on them because then I am nit-picking.

Having said that…

3. The (entirely “original”) warg attack/Aragorn escape & Arwen dream sequence. I could stand the Aragorn/Arwen love story in the first movie (though it was another low point of the film), and at least they were in the same place as each other. But to have this long sequence shoe-horned in for no other reason than to meet the Hollywood necessity of having some love interest (or so Liv Tyler gets some lines in this film too?), really sucked. And it’s not just a guy thing: Julie thinks so too. :-)

4. Jar-Jar Fucking McGimli. Say no more.

Basically, I came away from the film feeling really disappointed. I’d love to see someone come along and make a great movie of Tolkien’s book “The Lord of the Rings”, and for a while there I thought Peter Jackson was doing so. Now I realise I’m going to have to wait a few years more. Shame.