Alright, I’m gonna try to keep this short. Hello, I’m Cinemanaut Bill, I watch The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring once every week as part of an experiment to see just how grating constant exposure to a movie you can’t stand is. Oh, and that goes hand in hand with the fact that I have zero interest in The Lord of the Rings and have never seen The Two Towers.

Until today.

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, okay, what the fuck?

Wow, less than three minutes into this thing, I am laughing my goddamn head off. Gandalf rage-stabbing the Balrog on the way down the pit is the goofiest, Transformers-iest James Bond cold open I’ve ever seen. This must be what grandpas imagine when they first take their erectile dysfunction medication. And here I thought Gandalf went down with a little dignity, rather than flailing about like a CGI Wile E. Coyote.

Yipe!

As much as that opening scene sends me into a giggle fit, it effectively sets up the tone of the movie: brace yourself for big dumb action, kids. It almost feels like an apology for the more subtle and slowly paced first installment, and to be honest, apology accepted. I may be laughing, but I’m enjoying myself.

Until they have the balls to cut to a “We’re lost!” subplot.

There’s a lot of jumping from location to location, and while that can sometimes be annoying in a movie, it works here. The Fellowship used to be one clump of people following a formulaic “fight a thing, take a break, walk some more” pattern, but now they’ve been split up, and cutting to each of their stories breaks up some of the monotony. One group’s killin’ stuff, another group’s wrestlin’ with Gollum, another group’s hangin’ out with a tree guy.

Treebeard is the shit!

We meet some new people on this journey, and I don’t give a damn about the majority of them. As far as I’m concerned, Rohan is just the place where they finally pick up another desperately needed female character, and even then, Éowyn spends most of this movie as one corner of a potential love triangle. (Longtime readers know I prefer triads to triangles any day.) And I love me some Karl Urban and Brad Dourif, but I really don’t care what they’re up to.

I can’t remember this guy’s name, but I know it’s super Harry Potter-ish.

Oh, and Gollum–

“Booooo! Off limits! Don’t even fucking start, Bill!” – LOTR fans.

Hey, come on, you guys are right; Gollum really is an impressive cinematic milestone. He’s well-performed, well-animated, and while he never feels truly “real,” I absolutely applaud the filmmakers for bringing to life the most fucking annoying creature I’ve ever seen in my– I’M SORRY, I JUST CAN’T STAND GOLLUM. I get his character. I get how he fits into the story. I get why he’s supposed to be unsettling. But I just plain don’t enjoy spending this much time with a pervy weirdo that constantly looks like he’s seconds away from vigorously masturbating.

Without breaking eye contact.

It was kinda cool to learn that Gollum used to be a Hobbit (spoilers, oh, wait, I’m the last person to see this movie), but other than that, my notes stop here. And I think I know why…

Helm’s DEEP, mothafucka!

Yeah, this is where I dropped the notebook and just watched. I can’t even begin to pretend I didn’t enjoy this battle. And frankly, I’m surprised. I kind of assumed it would devolve into an “I can’t tell what I’m looking at” CGI mess. But no. It was awesome. It was so awesome that I didn’t laugh at surfing Legolas, even though fans tell me they hate that part.

Not nearly as annoying as Tarzan.

Helm’s Deep was an incredible blend of gritty fight choreography and sweeping cinematography that just absolutely erased any of my misery that came before it. And just when I thought the movie couldn’t get any better, the Ents start fucking up Saruman’s shit.

I LOVE ALL OF THIS.

Did I care why anybody was attacking anybody else? Nope. Would I happily watch The Two Towers again without just skipping to Helm’s Deep? Nope. Am I now a fan of The Lord of the Rings? Nope… but some parts are pretty cool. And most of them, so far, are in the chunk I don’t watch every week. I can’t wait to see if the trend continues in The Return of the King. Join me, won’t you?

TO BE CONTINUED…

Oh, one last note: I’m really glad The Two Towers featured another bunch of fucking crows.

Why would you ever call them anything else?