LOTR The Two Towers

LOTR The Two Towers

WingNut Films/ New Line Cinema

Year of production: 2002
Original Release: December 18th 2002
Running time: 179 minutes

Director: Peter Jackson
Writers: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair, Peter Jackson and J. R. R. Tolkien
Composer: Howard Shore

Cast: Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys Davies, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen, Christopher Lee

The Battle at Helm’s Deep: 01:57:38 to 02:33:48

Deconstructing Cinema: One Scene At A Time, the complete series so far

The first time I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy I was 10 years old and I completed the set in under a week. I fell into a world of fantasy, action, emotion and humour, so descriptive and beautiful; I could not tear myself away. I watched the films with the same appreciation, tempered with the understanding that not everything would be as I imagined, that not every tidbit from the book could be included, but that the end result had the potential to be an interpretation that fans could still be awed by.

Deconstructing Cinema: LOTR The Two Towers

Peter Jackson was not a director’s name I recognised untill I saw the magic he could make on screen with a series I loved beyond measure, but it is one that I look for and hold as a standard now. He became that standard after I saw the Battle at Helm’s Deep, which gripped my attention so deeply at the cinema (the first of many trips to see Two Towers), that I failed to react to multiple attempts to gain my attention from family members.

Embarrassing? Yes, very much so … but I look back on the experience and believe that I was smart enough to recognise, what I called at the time, ‘an awesome piece of cinema!’ I was one awed 12 year old.

I could literally see nothing else except what was on screen. The film became a multi-award winner and I had no doubts about the reasons why.

I therefore chose this particular Battle from the series to deconstruct, while the other Battles are amazing as well, they all have a different ‘feel’ to them, and it was this one that I connected with the most! Jackson projected on screen the vastness of the 10,000 strong foe that Rohan’s 300 was forced to face and I found myself half wanting to jump on onscreen wielding a sword myself!

Deconstructing Cinema: LOTR The Two Towers

The sight of the enemy against mere farmers, men unused to war, had my heart crying out for the underdog and desperately hoping Gandalf completed his quest for Eomer before the people of Rohan fell to Saruman’s Army. You begin to believe that Gandalf was right in thinking that King Theoden had only led his people into a ‘massacre.’ He had instructed Aragorn (quite a few scenes before, mind you) to:

‘Look to my coming on the first light of the fifth day, at dawn look to the East’

as he would return with reinforcements, leaving Aragorn to ensure Rohan can hold Saruman’s Army off until Gandalf can bring help to them at the Deep.

Legolas complains at one point to Aragorn about the hopelessness of the Battle and their inevitable deaths, but full of conviction Aragorn shouts back that he would die as ‘one of them.’

Deconstructing Cinema: LOTR The Two Towers

The Two Towers and especially the scenes involving the Battle of Helm’s Deep, develops the character of Aragorn in preparation for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King. We see his sense of responsibility deepen, for people that aren’t his own but are instead merely allies, to a point that he is willing to face death. He has, up to now, led the fellowship for a time and even though Gandalf is alive, still takes over as interim leader while the White Wizard is off on his self appointed task.

The Battle from start to finish is action packed and emotive, with humorous inserts from a variety of sources, on top of being entirely fascinating. We watch the drama mount as the elves of Lothlorien arrive to aid Mankind in their battle, led by Haldir, just before the Battle begins. Haldir falls to a vicious Uruk-Hai within Aragorn’s sight, which pushes him to seek vengeance against this stronger opponent, and I was vastly reminded of Boromir’s last stand, where again Aragorn sought justice for a friend.

Deconstructing Cinema: LOTR The Two Towers

On a mad rush to clear the gates from an onslaught of foes a moment of humour precedes the mad melee and war cries, as Gimli and Aragorn have a moment to discuss tactics. This is one of my favourite parts as Gimli is constricted by his height and does not want to admit to anything that could induce more teasing from his Elven friend and rival Legolas;

GIMLI: Oh come on, we can take ‘em.
ARAGON: It’s a long way.
GIMLI: Toss me.
GIMLI: I cannot jump the distance, you’ll have to toss me.
[pauses, looks up at Aragorn]
GIMLI: Don’t tell the elf.
ARAGON: Not a word.

Deconstructing Cinema: LOTR The Two Towers

The Battle of Helm’s Deep is the main focus of The Two Towers and at its climax it has the most impact visually and emotionally on us. Awesome visual effects brought life to this story and allowed us to experience the beauty of J.R.R. Tolkien’s imagination. It will continue to do so for a long time as this film is officially a classic!

Gandalf coming to the rescue with Eomer and charging down the Eastern hill at dawn on the fifth day will always be a scene that takes my breath away. It was such a vision of hope and inspired new fight into the people, as well as a bone-deep fear into the Uruks, that I remember cheering aloud, and I was not alone! I know this film, as well as the other two adaptations of Tolkien’s work, will continue to awe and tug the heartstrings of those that feel like jumping through the television screen every now and again and joining in!

Tolkien, J.R.R. (2002) LOTR: The Two Towers, Harper Collins

About Christina Samuel

Christina Samuel

Christina is a 21 year old film lover with very particular tastes, which range from Fantasy and ‘some’ Science Fiction to Martial Arts but do not extend to anything to do with “space.” A devotee of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter on an epic scale – but still able to appreciate the classics in the form of anything James Dean related.

Christina happens to be a closet feminist with an appreciation for most marvel movies, and believes Adrian Brody’s nose should be admired and have a starring role one day. An acquired taste to many, but eventually loved by the masses.