Film: The Lord of the Rings: Part 2. The Two Towers

Cover image

The Lord of the Rings

Series: Part 2. The Two Towers
Director: Peter Jackson
Distributor: New Line Home Entertainment

Frodo Baggins and the Fellowship continue their quest to destroy the One Ring and stand against the evil of the dark lord Sauron. The Fellowship has divided and now find themselves taking different paths to defeating Sauron and his allies. Their destinies now lie at two towers—Orthanc Tower in Isengard, where the corrupted wizard Saruman waits and Sauron’s fortress at Baraddur, deep within the dark lands of Mordor.


The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a seamless continuation of Peter Jackson’s epic fantasy based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. After the breaking of the Fellowship, Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) journey to Mordor to destroy the One Ring of Power with the creature Gollum as their guide. Meanwhile, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) join in the defense of the people of Rohan, who are the first target in the eradication of the race of Men by the renegade wizard Saruman (Christopher Lee) and the dark lord Sauron. Fantastic creatures, astounding visual effects, and a climactic battle at the fortress of Helm’s Deep make The Two Towers a worthy successor to The Fellowship of the Ring, grander in scale but retaining the story’s emotional intimacy. These two films are perhaps the greatest fantasy films ever made, but they’re merely a prelude to the cataclysmic events of The Return of the King. —David Horiuchi

Barnes and Noble

The second part of this epic trilogy, based on the perennially bestselling fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, not only meets but surpasses the high standards set by the initial film, The Fellowship of the Ring. Director Peter Jackson, working from a masterfully adapted script by Frances Walsh, condenses the second book’s narrative in a way that captures all the highlights and eliminates the dragging spots. The result is a truly spectacular movie, crammed with action and darker in tone than its predecessor. The story initially focuses on the hobbits Frodo Baggins (played by Elijah Wood) and Sam Gamgee (Sean Astin), who press on toward Mordor and the ultimate disposition of the magical ring they reluctantly bear. Our attention is subsequently directed toward other members of the Fellowship—human Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), elf Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and dwarf Gimli (John Rhys-Davies)—who join forces with a group of humans besieged by demon warriors commanded by the malevolent Lord Saruman (Christopher Lee). Utilizing spectacular New Zealand locations, Jackson’s production has enormous scope and majesty, but the director never loses sight of his characters, whose personalities are fully crystallized here. The acting is of a uniformly high caliber, with octogenarian Lee and newly minted genre stalwart Ian McKellen (returning as the wizard Gandalf) edging out their younger costars for top honors. Computer-generated effects are employed generously, but rather than dominating, the action they complement it. A movie that is truly dazzling in every way, The Two Towers builds mammoth anticipation for the trilogy’s conclusion, The Return of the King. Ed Hulse

Related Works

Album:The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: Music from the Motion Picture

Howard Shore

Howard Shore’s music for the massively successful first film chapter of Tolkien’s Ring saga won him the Oscar® for Best Original Score, something of a surprise given the music’s ambitious scale and determinedly dark overtones, factors that handily blurred the line between typical film fantasy music and accomplished concert work. Its sequel takes the same, often Wagnerian-scaled dramatic tack, following the film’s story line into even more brooding and ominous dark corners. The previous film’s Hobbit-inspired pastoralism is supplanted here…

Book:The Two Towers

The Two Towers: Book 2 of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

J.R.R. Tolkien

Frodo and his Companions of the Ring have been beset by danger during their quest. They have lost the wizard Gandalf in a battle in the Mines of Moria. And Boromir, seduced by the power of the Ring, tried to seize it by force. Now Frodo and Sam continue the journey alone down the great river Anduin—alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.

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