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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers [WS] [2 Discs] [DVD] [2002]

New Line Cinema and Peter Jackson continue their string of excellence in the first release of the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers on DVD. Presented here in its theatrical cut, the focus isn't quite heaped on the extras as much as it's presenting the film audiences saw and loved in the theaters in the most spectacular presentation possible for home viewing. Visually, The Two Towers has never looked better, with its 2.35:1 widescreen picture working as a perfect vehicle to show off cinematographer Andrew Lesnie's skillful eye and the amazing digital color-correction done in post-production. The audio as well is powerful and full, thanks to the 5.1 Dolby Digital EX Surround Sound and 2.0 tracks supplied -- for proof, look no further than the Battle of Helm's Deep, whose layers of rain, thunder, and carnage are mixed perfectly with Howard Shore's driving score, creating bombastic booms that will no doubt rock whatever sound system you're running. The rest of the two-disc edition follows the same groundwork laid by the original Fellowship DVD in which the extras are mostly just but a taste of what's to come. Even though audiences are licking their lips for the later, more beefed-up Special Extended Edition (featuring a longer cut of the film along with an unbelievable amount of extras), this edition still holds its own with bonus materials that won't make it onto its sister disc -- most notably, the ten-minute preview of The Return of the King, which finds Peter Jackson in the editing lab teasing the audience with snippets of footage that will no doubt leave fans on the floor ready for more. With equal time split between behind-the-scenes and actual film footage, for most, this is the main draw of this release and not surprisingly, it doesn't disappoint. For more sneak peeks into the third film's goodness, simply head to the preview of Electronic Arts' The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King video game, which showcases more choice footage from the upcoming film along with interviews from the cast and creators of the game. For those that just can't wait for The Two Towers: Extended Edition, there's also a preview of the four-disc set, which highlights Boromir's (Sean Bean) cut flashback scenes, along with many other large and small plot lines that are now added back into the film (which should lay rest to any of the hardcore Tolkien fans' initial complaints). There are two full specials that make an appearance on the disc, both filmed especially for the Starz/Encore and WB cable channels. Each provide the same levels of insight into the production of the second film, which are in turn, built upon in the lordoftherings.net featurettes -- eight small behind-the-scene video bits that were available on the web before the release of the film. The teaser and theatrical trailer are also supplied, along with a whopping 16 TV spots ready for you to jump into. Throwaway to most, though probably important to the remaining few, there's also Emiliana Torrini's music video to "Gollum's Song," which basically comes off as a classy, but still throw-together compilation of footage from the film and her in the studio (a duet with Gollum would have been better). Finally, one of the best things about the disc is the inclusion of Sean Astin's terribly sweet short film The Long and Short of It, filmed in the town of Wellington on an off-day from the production utilizing everything from extra cameras to various cast and crew alike, followed by a behind-the-scenes clip with some hilarious interviews with Andy Serkis and company. Far too easily written off as the lesser of the two initial releases of the film, this disc is an assurance that the original version of the film will live on for years to come.
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    Overview

    Ratings & Reviews


    Overall Customer Rating:
    97% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (173 out of 179)

    Special Features


    • Behind-the-scenes featurettes: "On the Set - The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," "Return to Middle-earth"
    • Short film directed by Sean Astin, "The Long and Short of It," and the making of "The Long and Short of It"
    • Featurettes created for lordoftherings.net: "Forces of Darkness," "Designing the Sounds of Middle-earth," "Edoras: The Rohan Capital," "Creatures of Middle-earth," "Gandalf the White," "Arms and Armor," "The Battle of Helm's Deep," "Bringing Gollum to Life"
    • Exclusive 10-minute behind-the-scenes preview of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
    • Original theatrical trailers and TV spots
    • "Gollum's Song" music video by Emiliana Torrini
    • Preview of Electronic Arts' video game The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
    • Inside look at the Special Extended DVD Edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
    • DVD-ROM content: Exclusive online content
    • Closed Captioned

    Synopsis


    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
    The second film in Peter Jackson's series of screen adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's internationally popular Lord of The Rings trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers literally begins where The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring ended, with the Fellowship splitting into three groups as they seek to return the Ring to Mordor, the forbidding land where the powerful talisman must be taken to be destroyed. Frodo (Elijah Wood), who carries the Ring, and his fellow Hobbit Sam (Sean Astin) are lost in the hills of Emyn Muil when they encounter Gollum (Andy Serkis), a strange creature who once carried the Ring and was twisted by its power. Gollum volunteers to guide the pair to Mordor; Frodo agrees, but Sam does not trust their new acquaintance. Elsewhere, Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) are attempting to navigate Fangorn Forrest where they discover a most unusual nemesis -- Treebeard (voice of John Rhys-Davies), a walking and talking tree-shepherd who doesn't much care for Hobbits. Finally, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), and Legolas (Orlando Bloom) arrive in Rohan to discover that the evil powers of Saruman (Christopher Lee) have robbed King Theoden (Bernard Hill) of his rule. The King's niece Éowyn (Miranda Otto) believes Aragorn and his men have the strength to defeat Saruman, his henchman Wormtongue (Brad Dourif), and their minions. Éowyn soon becomes infatuated with Aragorn, while he struggles to stay faithful to the pledge of love he made to Arwen (Liv Tyler). Gandalf (Ian McKellen) offers his help and encouragement as the Rohans, under Aragorn's leadership, attempt to face down Saruman's armies, but they soon discover how great the task before them truly is when they learn that his troops consist of 10,000 bloodthirsty creatures specially bred to fight to the death. Most of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was shot in tandem with The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King during a marathon 18-month shooting schedule, overseen by Peter Jackson. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

    Cast & Crew


    • Elijah Wood
      Elijah Wood - Frodo Baggins
    • Ian McKellen
      Ian McKellen - Gandalf
    • Liv Tyler
      Liv Tyler - Arwen
    • Viggo Mortensen
      Viggo Mortensen - Aragorn
    • Sean Astin
      Sean Astin - Samwise Gamgee



    Customer rating

    Rating 4.7 out of 5 stars with 179 reviews

    97%
    would recommend to a friend
    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

      Too Many Elves!

      Posted
      Galadrielle

      As in Fellowship of the Ring, Peter Jackson once again, illustrates one of the greatest classics ever written in English. While some scholars consider Tolkien, rather than Shakespeare, to be the greatest writer in the English language, we must also be aware that Tolkien was also a magnificent artist of the art deco period. The cinematography in this movie mirrors Tolkien's actual drawings of the places in his vast imagination, and to get even more out of t he movie, I strongly recommend Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull's splendid coffee table book "Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator," where you will see Tolkien's Isengard and Mordor! Once again, without exception to the rule, the actors are magnificent. Most powerful of all scenes is the Resurrection of Gandalf (McKellen), where we see triumph tempered with realistic logical thinking in the risen lord, and also the quick reflex reaction of Orlando Bloom as the skeptical Legolas and the awe on the face of Viggo Mortensen as the unwaveringly faithful Aragorn. Not only is this scene completely true to Tolkien's original text, but it, and Tolkien's words, remind me of the Easter story in the Bible! Legolas' reaction reminds me of St. Thomas' and Aragorn's reminds me of Mary Magdalene's in the Bible when they encounter the resurrected Jesus for the first time. I am completely aware that Tolkien did not care much for Christian allegory, but I also see reading and watching theatre as a two-way street between the writer and audience, and if the Resurrection of Gandalf enables me to better understand and appreciate the Resurrection of Jesus, then more power to Tolkien, Jackson, McKellen, Mortensen, and Bloom! We have seen Bernard Hill before as Egeus in Midsummer Night's Dream and the Captain in Titanic. In Two Towers, he is a very realistic and convincing troubled King Theoden of Rohan, whom Gandalf rescues from Saruman's deadly spell. Again, the scene in which the hideously deformed and demented King is transfigured, by Gandalf, back into his handsome, strong, clear-thinking, and wise old self, is very true to Tolkien's text, right down to his dialect. Likewise, Miranda Otto shines as Theoden's niece, strong Princess Eowyn who yearns to get out and fight alongside her uncle and brother. Furthermore, David Wenham does an outstanding job of playing the compassionate and sensitive Prince Faramir of Gondor in a way that would probably make Tolkien very proud of him. I must admit I was disappointed by the way the plot veered from the original text at times. At one point during the writing of the story, Tolkien read excerpts to his literary colleagues. It is reported that, during such a reading, one friend named Hugo Dyson lay on a couch and complained about too many elves. (It is ironic that the Elf King Elrond is played by an excellent actor named Hugo! ) While I think the elf quota in the book trilogy is just right, I echo Dyson's sentiments when, in the film, Helm's Deep is suddenly overrun by elves. To set the record straight, you and I can actually count and name all the elves originally written into the book: 1: Legolas. That's it. I also did not like the way in which a whole family of elves that is not in the book magically appears in the movie, namely Elrond (Hugo Weaving) and his daughter Arwen (Liv Tyler) and mother-in-law Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), although I can see why they are there, for purposes of continuity in the story. Equally disappointing is the way in which poor Faramir seems seduced by the power of the Ring, even to the point of playing with it with is sword as it hangs around Frodo's neck, whereas Tolkien makes it perfectly plain that he alone would not want it even if he saw it lying on the road. As in Aragorn's case, Faramir's healing skills are downplayed - in fact, in the movie, they are nonexistent, which is a pity. In the book, Tolkien shows how Faramir, through his mystical gift of healing, calms Frodo's shattered nerves through the simple laying on of hands, causing Frodo to drift off at once into a pleasant and much-needed sleep. On a happier note, we are treated to Mortensen's excellent horsemanship as he and his beloved steed gallop across the beautiful New Zealand landscape as Aragorn is on an urgent errand. Mortensen is clearly a star athlete, and this famous ride is one of the most pleasant moments in all of cinematic history, at least from my perspective. Despite the discrepancies between film and book, I still consider The Two Towers to be a masterpiece that belongs on the shelves of all of those who truly love great theatre.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Compared With Theatrical Release

      Posted
      AandJ091108
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      • My Best Buy® MemberMember
      • Top 500 ContributorTop 500 Contributor

      The extended version of The Two Towers is richer, flows more smoothly, makes more sense, fills in the blanks on missing motives of a number of characters, most notably Faramir and Eowyn, adds some important details about Aragorn. It provides more depth, background information, humor, and overall character development. Though many of the changes are small, they affected the way I interpreted scenes from the theatrical release, put a slightly different spin on things, making for a fuller experience. Which is not to say the theatrical release didn't hold together well - but the extended version is just a better film. I'd like to add that I notice a number of people have commented on the disappointing editing done in the theatrical release - to be fair to Jackson, et al, I would say: Just remember the theatres make their money by having multiple shows. They probably limited the length of the film to get more showings in per day. It would take planning for an intermission and a greater commitment by theatres to fit in what is essentially a four-hour movie. I don't think that's intentional "dumbing down" for the audience, it is just a business decision a lot of us would rather they didn't have to make.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      well done!!!

      Posted
      meggasaurus
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      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      Nothing in movie form can quite equal the grandeur of J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy, given the depth and scope of his writing.....but the movie trilogy comes close! I admit to having hesitated -- nay, deliberately avoided -- seeing any of these movies, fearing dismal disappointment. After all, who would want this beloved fantasia reviled by hack acting and poor creation? But I learned this, THIS, was no listless, mediocre attempt to recreate brilliance. And The Two Towers is not just some trailer for the climactic third installment, or some slacker filler film short. It's not easy for a second installment to match the excitement of its predecessor or the dramatic "no holds barred" action of the finale, but this is truly well-balanced and a superb continuation of Fellowship, and the right prepatory to The Return.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Great sequel to a classic!

      Posted
      Thaddeus
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      After seeing the first movie at home on DVD I knew I had to go see this one in theaters. Me and my sister went to go see this and both really love this movie. It picks up right where the first ended continuing the adventure of Frodo and Sam. This time around we are introduced to Gollum who is brilliantly voiced and motion captured by the talented Andy Serkis. A role that people will remember and mimic for a long time to come. Again Jackson does a great job of balancing the book with film and succeeds again. Great acting, awesome action and well written story. One of the best sequels ever made!

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

      Only Recommended If You Don't Have the 4-Disc

      Posted
      kevman79

      This extended version dvd set, part of of J.R.R. Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy, is quite good, though I cannot recommend it if you already own the 4-disc extended version. There are some new bonus features on this most recent version, but unfortunately almost all the previous bonus features from the past dvd releases have been dropped, as has the DTS audio. Fanatic fans may want to purchase anyway, but it's an unnecessary and costly investment in my opinion.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

      Least Interesting of Trilogy, Best Dvd Version

      Posted
      kevman79

      This extended version dvd set of the second installment of J.R.R. Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy is great, though the movie itself is just ok. Perfect box set here for fans, loaded with so many bonus features it may take half a lifetime to get through! This dvd version adds a bunch of must-see extra footage into the film, which was cut out theatrically for time reasons. But fans will love it!

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

      Least Interesting of Trilogy, Best Dvd Version

      Posted
      kevman79

      This extended version dvd set of the second installment of J.R.R. Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy is great, though the movie itself is just ok. Perfect box set here for fans, loaded with so many bonus features it may take half a lifetime to get through! This dvd version adds a bunch of must-see extra footage into the film, which was cut out theatrically for time reasons. But fans will love it!

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

      A wonderful movie worth watching

      Posted
      BMF1972
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      • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

      The Two Towers is not as good as the first and third movies in this trilogy, but you need to watch this overly long installment for the third movie to make any sense. The actors and special effects are still amazing, but this one could have been shorter. Whatever you do, don't watch the extended version of The Two Towers--I fast-forwarded through that painfully long version.

      I would recommend this to a friend



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