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Posted by Player under Sci-Fi & Fantasy
New Line Cinema released The Two Towers, Theatrical Version this week and I picked it up last night and adjusted my sound system and prepared for the 3 hour plus marathon of Peter Jackson’s second film in the epic trilogy Lord of The Rings.
I’d have to say that unlike in the theatre, at home the film is a much better watch. I guess the two times I saw it in the theatre, I was a little more critical of the film. There are just a few things in the story that just fall a little off for me and which keeps The Two Towers from being a great film like dare I say, The Empire Strikes Back. But at home, in a more relaxed setting, the awe of the special effects take more of a back seat and the story while being a little sentimental at times, does appear to work a little better than on the big screen.
Story wise you can say a lot of things about LOTR, like that it is a classic story of evil versus good, of man’s reason over his darker temptations, of God versus chaos, or of love versus hate. The whole racism issue of the bad guys being Asian and less than human is a little discomforting, but not as bad as say the new Star Wars trilogy, because after all this is a fantasy world with elves and such, so some of that while still applicable, our very sense of fantasy land is a little more less applicable to the real world. I could see that the two towers could relate to the war machine of WWI and WWII, in much the same metaphor that Hemingway uses in A FAREWELL TO ARMS, where he depicts black oil and grease of tanks on snow, namely man’s war machine is dirty and a black stain on the natural world. All this is in the film, and even more in the main story of Arogan, who must use his strength and courage to inspire men to stand against the tide of evil, something which most men are reluctant to do.
New Line has released a special extended edition which includes a DTS-ES soundtrack and splits the film into two DVD discs. The extended edition features more scenes and extends the movie into the 4 hour range! In general the Theatrical Edition is a bit disappointing. The first mistake are the layer changes, they are done in such a way that it ruins the mood of the film, and the second problem I had with the DVD, was the last chapter skipped for me for some reason. This totally made me think this release was not done with as much care as The Fellowship of the Ring. New Line includes a Dolby Digital EX soundtrack but it pales in comparison to the DTS-ES soundtrack.
In concluding, while I still think The Two Towers is not a great film, it comes close enough for most viewers. Technically, it is a film that takes special effects into the next generation and will probably be remembered most for its battle scene in Helm’s Deep.
More on the Special Edition…
Peter Jackson’s second film, The Two Towers, in the epic trilogy: Lord Of The Rings, left some of us a bit disappointed. The Theatre release was grand and the epic battle of Helm’s Deep was probably the greatest battle scene ever depicted on film, but the storyline fell apart in some places, and the overall film felt rushed in places. Almost a whole year after it’s release, Jackson has thrown together with much dedication and time, a Special Extended Edition of The Two Towers which not only adds more footage to an already long film, but which for many will be a definitive collector’s DVD set.
For this review I viewed the two discs of the four disc set that contain the film. First of all it is important to mention that the film is split up into two discs for a reason. The DTS 6.1 and Dolbly Digital EX 5.1 audio tracks take a lot of space, and with the film being so long in duration, having two discs allows for better quality. And it is a good thing because audio wise this edition of the film is flawless!
The Special Extended edition of the film adds some very important footage and unlike the extra footage in The Fellowship Of The Ring (Ext Ed) which was mostly some cool looking scenes, the extra footage in this film is actually more about the storyline. First off is the story of the two brothers, and how one was favored and one was not. All of this changes the entire perspective for me. I’m sure if you read the book, you already knew this, but for those of us who did not, it is pretty important to see it. Next is the expanded scene of how the King’s niece actually saids the word “love” to Arogan, which is suppose to be even more impacting, because of the expanded scene that comes earlier in the film. All of the added footage with her and Arogan leads up to this moment, as there are at least four different scenes that develop over the course of the film between them. From what I could tell none of the battle or action scenes were changed, the added footage is more about the characters and the different storylines. And it does make a difference, cause the story seems richer and the film more enjoyable and less rushed than before.
In fact most of my criticisms of the theatre release are actually resolved.
There is even a scene where the faceless Asian enemy is given respect and character!
Technically, this edition is great. The layer changes that were a common annoyance of the theatre DVD are not an issue here at all. Even the color changes which I complained about seem to have been fixed, and the color is accurate throughout now. New Line also went with simple menus instead of fancy ones, which just means, the space of the disc was used entirely for the film and not much else.