My next trip to The Beach Theater was for the second installment of the Rings Trilogy. Dad decided to sit this out out and my sister wearily tagged along for popcorn as my brother and I squealed with nerdy excitement. In that first scene where Gollum climbs down on the rocks growling, “They’re thieves, they’re filthy little thieves!” my sister started cooing over Gollum, “Oh he’s so cute, like a hairless kitty!” In any other theater, we would’ve gotten kicked out with the laughter argument that ensued. Thankfully, the only other person at the showing was a middle aged man who ordered three pitchers of beer through the film. Months later, upon our second viewing, my sister came to her senses and shrieked: “Oh my goodness! Precious is evil! What happened to him?!” She said it was like watching a completely different movie. Anyway, that’s my great heartfelt memory of Two Towers, now to review.
In my review of Fellowship, I focused a great deal on the visual aspect of the film, which only gets better with each installment. That being said, you can see for yourself, I’d like to change focus on Two Towers.
The Fellowship has just broken up. Frodo and Sam are now alone on a long hike to Mordor, but being ignorant Hobbits, get lost a lot. When the Ring’s previous owner, Gollum, finds them he tries to murder the two in their sleep to steal the Ring. Frodo decides to let Gollum lead them to Mordor, with Sam keeping a suspicious eye on Gollum. Meanwhile, Aragon, Gimli and Legolas are trying to trail the Orcs who took Merry and Pippin and Gandalf is being reincarnated as a more powerful wizard. They unite more masses of people to rise against Mordor’s armies and spectacular battle scenes are played out.
Basically, more story happens, we meet more creatures, explore more of Middle Earth and everything is cranked up a few notches. Characters are upgraded and the Black Riders have a new mount that flies. It’s all made to make you itch for number three.
Gollum quickly became one of the most creepy and intriguing characters for me, even with my sister’s odd reaction. He’s amazing from the visual/technical aspect and as a two-faced character. The scene where he’s carrying on a conversation between the two sides of himself is absolutely intriguing and can almost feel like a schizophrenic triumph. Whether he gives you the creeps or seems cuddly, I know he’s inspired new ways to frighten children. Mission accomplished Mr. Jackson.
Now, the second installment of most trilogies are usually the downers. At the end of The Empire Strikes Back, Luke has heard the worst paternal news ever and his hand is cut off. I don’t want to ruin the ride through Two Towers, but things aren’t looking too sunshiny for anyone. In fact, I’d guess that three quarters of the movie were filmed with some sort of gray or blue filter. But it could be worse.
In the last few minutes of the film is a speech by Sam that brings out the aspect that this is first, a great piece of literature, not just a slew of epic battle scenes. He talks about the great stories, “The ones that really mattered.” For teenage me full of popcorn back in The Beach Theater, this was a reminder of why I was compelled to keep turning page after page of so many books and the beginning of a love to write. But the speech can be turned toward all aspects of our lives and the darkness that will eventually pass. Eight years since first hearing that speech many dark days that felt like they would never end have been endured and I know there’s more to come. One little thing that has helped me march forward is that last line; “There’s some good in this world and it’s worth fighting for.” Yeah, that’s pretty nerdy, but at least it’s not a line from a video game or Star Trek. Nerds.