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Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

There is a fine line between being a fan and being obsessed to the point of insanity. Case in point, last year I gave Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 4 4/5 Babylons. That's a lot of Babylons. Very, very few movies come anywhere near that many Babylons.

Do you have any idea how many emails I got cussing me out for not giving it 5?

Like I'd personally offended their world because I didn't believe that the sun rose and fell in Frodo's hairy buttocks. That I dared suggest that this movie hadn't made the world a better place for all humanity seemed to strike some people as just plain wrong, and for that I got flamed to high heaven and called a 'sniveling jackal of Sauronian evil.' Whatever that means.

Now we come to The Two Towers. Film number two in this immense trilogy known as The Lord of the Rings. And guess what? As much as I didn't like Fellowship of the Ring (giving it ONLY 4 4/5 Babylons), I liked Two Towers even less.

Which is not to say this isn't a great movie. Once again, we are given something immense in both scale and imagination. And length. 179 minutes, according to IMDB. And if you sit there for another minute in wonder and awe after it's over, it counts as three hours.

Three hours!!! And part one was the same length! Nearly six hours for two movies! When we get the third installment next year, more than likely the same length, we'll have a mammoth trilogy that takes up nine hours of your life in one sitting!!! I've had relationships shorter than that!

But I digress.

The Two Towers is a grand film, and everyone in it does a wonderful job, pretty much the same job they did in the first movie. In fact, seeing as how the entire trilogy was filmed at once, it's no wonder that everything, acting, directing, art direction, best boy is equally as well done as in the first film. But Two Towers adds two very important elements. Gollum and Ents.

Ents are tree people. Literally. Very large, very cool, like to talk very slowly. Ents are a CGI creation which are seamlessly integrated into the story. Think if the Lorax could rip stones out of the Earth. That's your Ent. They speak for the trees, and if you don't listen, they're gonna show you Mother Nature's nasty side.

Gollum is simply a revelation. He's also CGI, but unlike the Ents, he's a main character in and of himself. Gollum has a character arc. Gollum acts. Gollum evokes sympathy, anger, fear, pity and a host of other emotions. The only reason everyone in the theater doesn't walk out muttering Gollum's catch phrase of "My Preciousssss·" is that it's so much fun to talk like an Ent.

The basic story of The Two Towers is.. well.. it's really just the middle chunk of the larger story. The Fellowship broke up at the end of the first film, so in this film we follow three storylines simultaneously. Frodo and Sam meet Gollum and try to get into Mordor to destroy the ring. Merry and Pippen escape from the Orcs and meet the Ents. Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas join the war of good vs. evil, ride some horses, do a lot of fighting, and make dwarf jokes.

Got all that?

Seriously, it is hard to say what the 'plot' of this film is. It's not like anyone is going to go see this film who never saw Fellowship or doesn't plan on seeing Return of the King. This is the middle chapter. No nice introduction of everything, no climactic end to the story, just lots and lots of action and story to whip you into a frenzy for the climax.

That said, it does it very well.

For some people, this movie will be the best movie they've seen since the first Lord of the Rings flick. Those people have already seen it. For others, here's a pretty easy way to tell if you'll like this movie.

Did you like the first one?

Because in reality, Peter Jackson is making one 9-hour film that has been chopped into three films to make it more palatable to the movie-going public. Part one flows into part two which will flow into part three. I mean heck, they don't even bother with a prologue to bring you up to speed. You snooze, you lose. You need a refresher course, go buy the special-advanced-all-powerful-enhanced DVD.

Me, I liked the first one, I liked the second, I'm looking forward to the third.

But I'm not planning on learning Elvish any time soon.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers gets 4 1/3 Babylons. It sure beats The Hot Chick all to heck.

Editor's Note:

If the SMC doesn't stop talking like those Ents, I'm going to need to call the tree surgeon.

Rated: PG-13
Directed By: Peter Jackson
Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd· Viggo. Is that a great name or what? Liv Tyler, John Rhys-Davies, Dominic Monaghan· I mean the name just rolls off your tongue. Viggo. Say it with me. Viggo. Christopher Lee, Miranda Otto, Brad Dourif, Orlando Bloom· I mean you don't meet that many Viggos around town. But it's not like you can just name your kid Viggo now, because everyone will think you're naming it for Viggo Mortensen. But you're not, it's just a great name. Viggo. That'll turn heads. Cate Blachett, Karl Urban, Bernard Hill, David Wenham, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving and a bunch of other guys who aren't named Viggo and therefore, simply don't matter.

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