Directed by Peter Jackson
My reaction to seeing The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Extended Edition) is almost completely different than the one I had to the extended version of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
While I liked the first (The Fellowship of the Ring), I didn’t see that the extended version added much to the theatrical version. Certainly it was a longer film, but the story wasn’t really enhanced by this, at least not for me. I didn’t feel the shorter, theatrical release lost a great deal by not having the additional footage.
With the extended version of The Two Towers, I think the movie benefits a great deal by the added scenes and it’s an overall better movie.
I didn’t go to the bother of trying to identify what scenes were new. My response is an entirely visceral one, but my sense is the theatrical cut of the film dropped character elements in order to favour action.
The scenes that felt new were almost all related to seemingly inconsequential moments that actually were important to maintaining the characters and their relationships.
Most of the scenes I felt I’d not seen before were short. They involved dialogue between characters that generally provided information about how they were feeling, who they were and placed them better within the overall story.
In particular, there were scenes with Aragorn, or about him, which in a number of places conveyed information I think was quite important, especially for someone who had not read the book or who had read it so long ago they had forgotten a great deal (such as me).
For example, we find out Aragorn’s age is 87 – a remarkable age for a young looking man but explained by the kind of man he is (the term used escapes me at the moment).
We also find out he is not any man – he has a particular role in the story and Sauron is not yet aware that he lives. He is like Frodo in the sense his role is key to the fate of Middle-Earth.
We also get more background on Boromir and Faramir, and their father Denethor. (I gather this is somewhat changed from what is in Tolkien’s book.)
We also get much more of Merry and Pippin, as well as other characters. The overall effect is to draw us more deeply into the film and make the action more meaningful since we have a greater investment in the fate of the characters.
While a considerably long movie (208 minutes), The Two Towers (Extended Edition) is easy to watch and doesn’t feel long. It’s an improvement on the theatrical version because it gives us more character information and interaction and this supports the tremendous action scenes.
I do have one complaint though, and it is one that really angered me. The packaging sucks. The glue used to put the highlight sheet on the back completely ruined the box and the fold out insert looks and feels as if it was run off a cheap photocopier.
Where the extended edition of The Fellowship of the Ring was an impressive package, this one looks like a cheap knock-off thrown together by a fly-by-night operation. Because it’s so shoddy, I recommend renting the discs if you can rather than buying it.
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (theatrical version) (2001)
- The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (theatrical version) (2002)
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