“Two Towers” Blows Me Away

So I finally got around to seeing The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers today. (I was supposed to see it the night it opened — but I kinda hit a bit of a distraction on the way…)

All I can say is: wow. Director Peter Jackson somehow has managed in three hours of footage to get across a complex story involving three separate plot lines, all presented with such powerful visuals that the time just flies by. His staging of the epic defense of Helm’s Deep, for example, is masterful; the beseiged Rohirrim face danger from several different directions, and yet it’s always clear how each strand of the plot fits into the overall story. Combined with the visceral, bone-crunching nature of the medieval combat in Tolkien’s universe, it makes for a gripping set piece, even for those of us who have read the books and know how it’s going to turn out.

If you’ve read the books, you know how deep and rich Tolkien’s saga is. Heck, a full half of the last book is nothing but appendices fleshing out the history of Middle-Earth for thousands of years prior to the first page of “Fellowship of the Ring”! It’s a tribute to Jackson & Co. that they’ve created two films now that convey the full depth of Tolkien’s imagination, while adding a visual dimension that’s striking all on its own. If you haven’t seen it yet, get on the stick!