It’s that time again, where I watch the entire filmography of the director of the film I’ve been assigned for Cinema 52. Unlike Tony Scott or Robert Zemeckis, however, the director of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring can’t seem to ever release just one cut of his films. So, not only am I cramming twelve movies into one exhausting weekend, but specifically the longest available version of each film. That’s right, it’s not just the complete Peter Jackson… it’s COMPLETER JACKSON. Let’s do this.
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS (2002)
IS THIS A PAINFULLY LONG PETER? What is this shit, IMDb? There’s “extended” and “special extended”? How ’bout the long-ass credits? Am I gonna have to add up the two discs myself? Fine, 1 hour and 46 minutes plus 2 hours and 8 minutes equals FUCK YOU.
I don’t know, Lord of the Rings stuff?
Pictured: Lord of the Rings stuff.
I’m not going to compare the theatrical and extended cuts like I did with Fellowship because I have no goddamn idea what’s different between this and when I watched original recipe Two Towers. To me, a bunch of stuff happened to characters I recognized from the first movie, and then stuff stopped happening and words went uphill for a while.
A long while, and yes, I stuck through them and wallowed in the hatred.
Seriously, I don’t have a single detail regarding the plot in my notes, so, off the top of my head: something about a zombie king, Sam and Frodo fight the diaper weirdo, tree guy, shiny wizard, big battle, tree guys break shit. That definitely needed four hours to tell.
SUPER EPIC ALL THE TIME.
I will say this, though; as much as Towers was trying to be a blow-your-ass-out-your-skull mainstream mega blockbuster for the whole family, I noticed some remnants of sick humor from Jackson’s early days trying to peek through. A cannibalistic Orc scene with guts flying around made me long for the gory gags of Braindead.
More intestines, please.
Also, Legolas and Gimli argue over whether or not an Orc Gimli’s sitting on is really dead… by shooting at him and wiggling an axe around in his brain as he twitches.
Nothing to add here, it’s just a brilliant scene.
Faithful to Tolkien? Probably not. Brilliant? Yes.
My curiosity got the better of me and I looked up if those two Braindead-ier scenes were in the theatrical version, and the first was toned down in the edit and the second wasn’t there at all. Guess the fun killing got a little too real for the parents in the test audience.
Alright, it’s time to talk about one of the most important special effects creations in modern cinema: Jar Jar Binks.
Oh, what’s that? You don’t ever want to talk about the indisputable technical achievement of an all-digital character just because he’s annoying and his voice makes you want to stab yourself in the taint with a barbecue fork? Okay, that’s cool, just let me play the same card, is all.
Fuck this creepy lil’ Mac and Me bastard.
While Gollum and Treebeard and occasionally the Wargs are great milestones for special effects, I think all the miniature work in The Two Towers is far more impressive.
See those little CGI Orcs running around? This shot looks so good because it inhabits the special effects sweet spot so very wonderfully nailed by Jurassic Park years before: practical effects as often as possible, CGI to enhance. Build a bunch of models, smash ‘em for real, and add a dash of digital Orc to push it over the edge.
That’s good shit. Keep doing that, Peter.
The subject matter, as always, bores me to tears; the Lord of the Rings films will likely never grab me in the story department, and I’m sure their appeal will continue to baffle me for a long time. The Two Towers just feels a like a collection of scenes, and some of them are enjoyable. My own personal enjoyment comes from the well-executed action and effects, and not much else. Okay, seriously, the brain axe is a gem, though.