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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Extended Edition) [Blu-ray] 
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The extended edition (over 40 extra minutes) of the second film in Peter Jackson's epic big screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy. The Fellowship of the Ring has now divided and Sam and Frodo are lost in the hills of Emyn Muil. They are also being followed by Gollum, a creature who promises to help them find the Mountain of Doom. Meanwhile Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli search for the hobbits Merry and Pippin in the Kingdom of Rohan, which is currently being attacked by Saruman's orc armies. Gandalf returns as Gandalf the White to remind Aragorn of his destiny to unite the people of Rohan with Gondor. Whilst the Fellowship are not travelling together they must unite against the powerful forces coming from the Two Towers: Orthanc Tower in Isengard where Saruman has bred a deadly army of 10,000, and Sauron's fortress at Barad-dûr.
Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films gave "double-dipping"--releasing a DVD then releasing an improved version shortly afterward--a good name by offering both a better film and stupendous extras in the Extended Editions. This "triple-dip" 2006 Limited Edition falls far short of that standard but is still of interest to devoted and casual fans.
What do you get?
Both the theatrical and extended versions of The Two Towers are on one double-sided disc. The versions use seamless branching, meaning that the scenes that are common to both versions are stored on the disc only once. If you choose to watch the extended version, the disc "branches" out to the added or extended scenes. What does this mean to the viewer? Not much. The viewing experience is the same because the branching is imperceptible. But because both versions of the film don't have to be stored on the disc in their entirety (which would be almost seven hours total), both versions together fit on two sides of one disc. The downside is that whichever version you watch, you have to flip over the disc halfway through; the film breaks at the same spot it did on the Extended Edition, right after Faramir finds Frodo and Sam. Also lost are the meager features included on the theatrical edition, plus the four commentary tracks, two discs of bonus features, and DTS 6.1 ES sound from the four-disc Extended Edition.
Costa Botes' 105-minute documentary reminds us just how rich The Two Towers is. It covers the mechanics of Treebeard, Gollum, Rohan, and other elements, and all that iss before we get to the half-hour segment on Helm's Deep. What's interesting is how Peter Jackson and others appear in the documentary, but even more time is spent interviewing the extra actors and the lesser-known technicians who get into the nuts and bolts of how the film was made. Most of the cast members aren't interviewed at all, though Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd's clowning serves as a framing device. Some of the shots are quite funny, including the anachronistic glimpse of someone vacuuming the Great Hall of Rohan. It's entertaining, but because there's no structure (there are chapters, but no menu or chapter listing), it's not as convenient to watch, and go back to, as a documentary broken up into bite-size pieces. Oddly, the documentary is in widescreen, but not anamorphically enhanced for widescreen TVs. Note: New Line Home Entertainment couldn't release this material on its own a la the King Kong Production Diaries due to contractual restrictions.
Bottom line: Do I need this edition?
This Limited Edition combination of theatrical and extended versions plus new documentary seems likely to appeal to two camps. One is the devoted fan, who already owns both editions but has to have everything LOTR. The other is the casual fan who liked the movie in theaters, heard good things about the Extended Edition, and doesn't need a ton of bonus material. This edition is attractively priced for that buyer, and the packaging is quite handsome. In between is the devoted fan who already owns both editions but doesn't feel the need to watch more bonus material. When watching the whole movie, that fan will always choose the Extended Edition, but keeps the theatrical edition for (1) watching with guests, (2) Sean Astin's short film, or (3) the convenience of skimming through favorite scenes without having to change discs. That fan can safely skip this edition, as can home-theater fans who love DTS. --David Horiuchi --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The extended version of the film makes the story more complete, andexplains storylines just that little bit more, particulary theFaramir-Boromir-Denathor family connection, which helps to explain partsof ROTK.
I personally thought that the extended version of the film alone was worthbuying it for. Though there are also two other discs of extended features.As with the FOTR EE, this is mainly explaining the conceptual designs,minatures and general behind the scenes things. These can drag on quite alot, they last for quite a few hours.
Other features which ipersonally enjoyed were the filming parts, which had interviews with theactors and actresses, which a lot of people are likely to be interestedin.
The film itself, is of course amazing. Great acting. Great directing.Great set. Great graphics - and of course the great story continues. Thisfilm has everything in my opinion.. there are the characters which you getattached to, there is intense battle scenes, the emotion, and of coursethe wonderful story. The actors did a brilliant job, particulary ViggoMortensen, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin... well actually every singleactor/actress was cast perfectly.
Anyway, what I'm saying is - if you appreciate the Lord of the Rings, thenI would strongly advise buying this edition of the film.
The extra footage, adds depth and suspense to the story, which makes it more gripping, particularly during some of the extended scenes during the battle of Helm's Deep. There is more character evolution, which gives one a more indepth view of the more mystical sides of the main characters (their backgrounds and their power), particularly Aragon and Gandalf.
Furthermore, the extended material gives a larger role to Merry and Pippin, to which many hardcore lord of the rings fans is a great boost to the story. They are a greater aspect of the story and unlike in the theatrical cut, don't just sit in a tree all the film.
What I enjoyed most however, was the realism of the film that the extented edition gave to Tolkein's writings, though true some aspects were not entirly accurate to the 'The Two Towers' book, the extended editon gave one the feeling more that they were in Middle-Earth, than the theatrical cut.
'The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Extended Version' is an ideal viewing for any lord of the rings fan, but furthermore, it is a great epic to watch of any person, even those who saw the theatrical cut, before reading the book. That is why I give this great extended edition of an epic five stars.
Once again, I was amazed with the added footage. Even the smallest differences are able to bring out the most from the film. One of the great things about this edition is that we get to see more of the Hobbits (which the story is supposed to be centered around in the first place). Seeing more of Frodo and Sam, and Merry and Pippin' was a great way to balance the film with action and drama (I'm always more interested in seeing what's going on with the Hobbits, anyway). The smallest differences are very noticeable and tie up some of the loose ends that were presented in the original.
What really stands out to me the most in this film are not the epic battle scenes (although they are extremely fantastic and perfectly executed). No, what stands out to me the most in this movie is the relationship between Frodo and Sam. "The Two Towers" is a much darker film than the first one, and the cinematography does an exceptional job of establishing this. We really begin to see Frodo lose himself more and more to the Ring. We fear it because we know what is has done to Gollum. In fact, one of the most touching scenes (even though this wasn't an additional scene; it appears in the original) is when Frodo tells Sam that he wants to help him. When Sam asks why, Frodo somberly replies, "Because I have to believe that he can come back.Read more ›
Honestly, there is no need what so ever to watch the theatrical version after you got your hands on this one. Almost every single added scene raises the overall quality of the movie; things are explained that I could never understand after watching the original movie (and I have read the books countless times). Scenes such as the Voromir-Faramir realation in Osgiliath or the Huorns attack on the orcs after Helm's Deep add so much to the storyline and characters of the movie, that I can't understand they were not in the theatrical version.
The DVD-box also contains tons of extra material; documentaries, commentaries and information on the reserach job, that makes your understand the beauty and quality of these movies even more than the movie itself does. In other words: this is a great box, well worth its price. If you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings, there is simply no excuse for not getting your hands on this film.