The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Special Extended Edition, Special Edition
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Not seen in theaters, this unique version of the epic adventure features over 40 minutes of new and extended scenes integrated into the film by the director. DVD set consists of four discs with hours of original content including multiple documentaries, commentaries and design/photo galleries with thousands of images to give viewers an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at the film. 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.
DVD ROM Features
The extended edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was perhaps the most comprehensive DVD release to date, and its follow-up proves a similarly colossal achievement, with significant extra footage and a multitude of worthwhile bonus features. The extended version of The Two Towers adds 43 minutes to the theatrical version's 179-minute running time, and there are valuable additions to the film. Two new scenes might appease those who feel that the characterization of Faramir was the film's most egregious departure from the book, and fans will appreciate an appearance of the Huorns at Helm's Deep plus a nod to the absence of Tom Bombadil. Seeing a little more interplay between the gorgeous Eowyn and Aragorn is welcome, as is a grim introduction to Eomer and Theoden's son. And among the many other additions, there's an extended epilogue that might not have worked in the theater, but is more effective here in setting up The Return of the King. While the 30 minutes added to The Fellowship of the Ring felt just right in enriching the film, the extra footage in The Two Towers at times seems a bit extraneous--we see moments that in the theatrical version we had been told about, and some fleshed-out conversations and incidents are rather minor. But director Peter Jackson's vision of J.R.R. Tolkien's world is so marvelous that it's hard to complain about any extra time we can spend there.
While it may seem that there would be nothing left to say after the bevy of features on the extended Fellowship, the four commentary tracks and two discs of supplements on The Two Towers remain informative, fascinating, and funny, far surpassing the recycled materials on the two-disc theatrical version. Highlights of the 6.5 hours' worth of documentaries offer insight on the stunts, the design work, the locations, and the creation of Gollum, and--most intriguing for rabid fans--the film's writers (including Jackson) discuss why they created events that weren't in the book. Providing variety are animatics, rough footage, countless sketches, and a sound-mixing demonstration. Again, the most interesting commentary tracks are by Jackson and writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens and by 16 members of the cast (eight of whom didn't appear in the first film, and even including John Noble, whose Denethor character only appears in this extended cut). The first two installments of Peter Jackson's trilogy have established themselves as the best fantasy films of all time, and among the best film trilogies of all time, and their extended-edition DVD sets have set a new standard for expanding on the already-epic films and providing comprehensive bonus features. --David Horiuchi
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Yet I just had to comment on the technical marvels packed into this film.
The quality of video and sound on the two main feature discs blew my mind. Of all DVD's I've ever seen, this has had the most crisp and heart-pounding sound of anything I've ever watched. Mind, you, part of this is that I watched it on a PS3 and got the uncompressed Dolby Digital track, which was incredibly satisfying even with just 2 great stereo speakers and a bumping subwoofer. So really, if you have a PS3 or any other especially good sound system and a good TV you cannot get many better experiences than this DVD. The sound Oscars went to all 3 LOTR films for a reason - every sound is effect is appropriate and impactful.
The image is also particularly beautiful. The colors are warm and rich with color, making every frame a gorgeous picture. The battle scenes are appropriately dark and everything as they should be, but when all different colors are bright and distinct in other scenes, and in Fangorn Forest's verdant green vistas especially, the picture hypnotized me.
I guess I'm saying that we all know these are great movies. Get this release for the extras if that's your thing, but this release's best feature in my mind is the quality of the sound and picture - they're on a level I have never seen. And I'm not that picky with sound either, so it stood out even for me - you don't need to be a fan to appreciate this release, and the same goes for the other two Extended Edition releases. The Two Towers is just the one I happened to watch recently, so I have the freshest memory of it, but I own the other two releases as well and they are equally excellent all around. I don't think I can use enough superlatives to praise these 3 DVD releases, and I'll be watching the Return of the King tomorrow to finish off the trilogy. I know I sound like a fanboy, and so be it - a lot of other DVD's will sorely disappoint me after these Extended Editions, I have no doubt.
I am NOT a couch potato.
Well, at least it was time well spent. Finally...some movies that really make the grade. I've been hard-pressed to find a good 5-star movie that I haven't seen. And here I've had these two sets of films that have been out there all this time that that for whatever reason I've had an aversion to. Silly me.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy was movie making at its best. Especially considering that the movie had very high standards to live up to after more than 50 years of building such a loyal, cult following of the classic J.R.R. Tolkien book.
Hobbits, Elves, Men, Dwarves, Wizards, Orcs all co-surviving, albeit without much harmony, in Middle Earth. And all lust for the great Ring of Power made by the Dark Lord Sauron. But only little Frodo Baggins controls its Destiny. Thus is the 9-hour epic saga of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003).
There is a terrific list of A-list actors giving A-list performances. It's a long one: Therefore, most notably you have Elijah Wood as Frodo, Sean Astin as Sam, Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Andy Serkis as Gollum (what a performance!), Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn, Orlando Bloom as Legolas Greenleaf and John Rhys-Davies as Gimli. I know. I know....How could I not mention Christopher Lee, Liv Tyler and all the others??? Well, that's the point. The whole cast was awesome. Even the no-names that played Orcs.
Kudos to Director Peter Jackson for going beyond the Hollywood standard of 120 minutes to tell each chapter of the story. Jackson kept a lot of the character development that usually isn't transferred from novel to movie adaptation. And Jackson was a master not just at directing his cast, but at getting the special effects perfect. The Lord of the Rings movie adaptation will be as classic as the novel because of Jackson.
If you somehow missed these movies as I did until recently for whatever crazy reason, I hope that my little review has encouraged you to add them to your cart. As for Harry Potter...well that's another review entirely, of course.