“The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers”

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
November 19, 2003

You’d think that tacking on an additional 43 minutes to the three-hour movie would be overkill. But the extended version actually feels shorter than the theatrical release — possibly because it tells a more thorough story.

“Two Towers” continues where “The Fellowship of the Ring” left off. With the Fellowship splintered into two groups, Frodo and Sam head for Mordor to destroy the Ring. They are aided by Gollum, a mysterious creature who once was a hobbit but now may not be trusted.

Meanwhile, the trifecta of man, elf and dwarf (Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli) head to Rohan to defend the last of a dying breed — human beings. Where the extended version enhances the original theatrical release is in its filling in of the details that director Peter Jackson had to cut out to ensure that moviegoers wouldn’t leave theaters before the film was over.

Anyone who saw “Two Towers” in theaters last winter will recognize that the film’s beginning is different. Before Gollum confronts Frodo and Sam, the pair is shown joking and pratfalling before they realize exactly how lost they are.

Their always ravenous fellow hobbits Merry and Pippin also get extended play, at one point floating through a sea of delectable treats. We also learn that the studly warrior and would-be king, Aragorn, actually is an old man of 87.

The best back story, though, is that of Boromir and his brother Faramir. Boromir was killed in “Fellowship.” In the theatrical version of “Two Towers,” we saw Faramir as a rather heartless soldier who treated Frodo and Sam unkindly. In the DVD version, Jackson shows how the brothers grew up — with their father favoring Boromir and treating Faramir as the screwup he never was. You don’t excuse his behavior, but you begin to understand why he is who he is.

This four-disc set also includes extras such as production documentaries, photo galleries and a really cool look at the making of Gollum/Smeagol. But the real treat is those extra 43 minutes that tie the film together without making it feel any longer.


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