Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

December 22nd, 2002  |  Published in Uncategorized

O.k. Call it a 3.99, since it isn’t as good as The Fellowship of the Ring, but it’s still wonderful.

Some purists are in an uproar over the expanded liberties Peter Jackson took with this installment, which weigh a little more heavily than the changes made for Fellowship. I even made the mistake of looking into a dark Palantir out there on the Web to see how much fussing was justified. Don’t follow that link unless you like quibbling. A lot of quibbling. Without going into the rightness or wrongness of the changes themselves, with over twenty readings of the trilogy I’ve got opinions on many of them, I’ll just note that when I’ve watched this movie (twice so far) and Fellowship, I’m comfortable with what I see. I love Tolkien’s books and I feel like their spirit is well served by these adaptations… they seem to take away what I have, and perhaps a little more.

Prior to seeing this one, I believed Fellowship was proof enough that the finished adaptation’s three installments will represent a landmark. After The Two Towers, I continue to believe this is so. They’re exciting, beautifully shot movies. Perhaps even more importantly, I’ll quote a recent mail I sent to a friend:

“A younger me would probably resent the changes as a sort of popularizing encroachment on a thing I have loved since I was nine. Powell’s is doing a bustling business in paperback editions of LotR. Twice since last year I’ve been in the Tolkien section there and had moms ask me if there was a really great edition I could recommend for their kids, which probably would have left me feeling resentful of all the latecomers who needed to see it in pictures before bothering to read it. It’s true that along with popularity come video game adaptations and a certain level of uptake from people who don’t care to look into the heart of the work, but it also means there are others more likely to read a story that is deeply kind-hearted and intensely interested in inspiring people to recognize their own capacity for goodness, and that makes me really, really happy. Peter Jackson made a movie that helps to share Tolkien with the world… that’s very cool. My inner purist is more than offset by my inner evangelist. ”

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