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Epic DVD Part 2!,
This review is from: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Special Extended DVD Edition) [DVD]  (DVD)
The middle part of a trilogy is always the more difficult installment to create. It doesn't have a beginning, nor an ending, but rather bridges the two parts that do. Still, Two Towers is arguably the best section in TLOTR Trilogy.
This will be down to one thing: The epic canvas really expands in this installment. The characters are not in a safe Fellowship anymore, and find themselves all across Middle-Earth.
Frodo and Sam are trying to destroy the ring. Merry and Pippin are captured by Orcs. Aragorn, legolas and Gimli are trying to protect the kingdom of Rohan. And there's the return of everybody's fabourite wizard...
Storylines, therefore, are far more complex than Fellowship of the Ring, which had a simple story. There's more interwoven plot lines and the introduction of many new, exciting characters.
The kingdom of Rohan is pictured magnificently, and are real heroes to get behind. Particularly Bernard Hill as the King, and Karl Urban in a role yet to be bettered as Eomer.
But the real kudos in this part should go to Gollum - astounding, amazing, brilliant. Andy Serkis proves that Gollum is more than just a CGI creation, giving the character feelings, emotions, humour, sadness and scariness. Gollum is a true cinematic acheivement.
The Two Towers also holds the trilogy's greatest set piece - Helm's Deep. It may not have the open, savage fight as appears in Return of the King, but its claustrophobic feel, and tension filled battle really makes the stand-off between Rohan and the Orcs a real set-piece. The build-up is superb, the battle even better, as it is far more personal than any other fight in the series. We're there with the characters, and those who don't feel overwhelmed by the sight of the Orcs advancing hasn't got a pulse. Incredibly well paced, this is the best action scene ever put on film.
The extended edition improves on the theatrical version in many ways. There's more development between Viggo Mortensen and Liv Tyler's characters, giving them a rich backstory, and there's a bit more info about the giant Ent trees.
As before, the four disc set has the movie on two discs, with the bst commentary going this time round to Peter Jackson. He's a wealth of information and ideas, and points many ecxiting things out. I would have said the cast commentary, but while for the Fellowship of the Ring commentary they were all mostly in the same room, here they are'nt, and the commentary has been pieced together from separate sittings.
Once again, plenty of documentaries and art galleries. It's all far too much t owatch, so I'd recommend, again, the doc on Tolkein, the filoming doc, and anything you can find on the creation of Gollum and Helm's Deep, all of which is riveting viewing.