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on November 27, 2013
This second film in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy is full of many badass moments. The end fight scene is amazing. The build up to it and the actual pay off of the fight will not leave you disappointed. "Epic" is a far too overused word in today's society but the Battle of Helm's Deep truly is EPIC.
Viggo Mortensen kills it as Aragorn and he has to since this film is largely on his shoulders where the first movie was more on Frodo, Gandalf and the Hobbits. Mortensen just seems like a guy that you would want to follow and can range from sympathetic to straight up badass. The film is pretty much split into three tales. Frodo and Sam transporting the ring, Legolgas Aragorn and Gimli helping out Rohan, and Merry and Pippen with the Giant Trees which really may feel like the film is dragging when it switches to them but it really helps build to the ultimate pay off at the end battle.
The special effects and score in this movie, just like the rest of the series are amazing. The pace really picks up in this film and the stakes get raised for the final battle set to come in Return of the King.
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on January 31, 2011
After the Fellowship has been broken, Hobbit friends Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Samwise (Sean Astin) go on their quest to Mordor but during their journey, they encounter the sneaky and vile creature known as Gollum a.k.a. Smeagol (Voiced and played by Andy Serkis) who decides to act as a guide for the two wondering Hobbits into the dark lands. The Fellowship such as Aragon (Viggo Morgenstein), Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Gimli (Jonathan Rhys-Davis) go after the ones that kidnapped Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) as they find out that Saruman (Christopher Lee) who is the puppet of Sauron sends out many armies to join in the ultimate battle of good vs. evil while they must protect the kingdom of Isengard ruled by aging king Theodon (Bernard Hill) who was under a dark spell from Grima Wormtounge (Brad Douriff) as the battle will begin and the now recovered Gandolf (Ian Mckellen) joins them.

Co-starring Miranda Otto as female warrior Eowyn, Cate Blancett as Gladriel, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Liv Tyler as Arwen and Karl Urban as warrior Eomer this is a spectacular and brilliant adaptation of Tolkein's beloved second chapter in his amazing literary fantasy trilogy now told on the big screen in a glorious way. This is a sequel that surpasses the first one with more action, more epic and more scope thanks to the magic of Peter Jackson and company as they even made a new landmark in special effects on their creatures including Gollum who steals the show with a brilliant motion-capture CGI performance that earned Andy Serkis into stardom much like Zoe Salander was to Avatar. The score by Howard Shore is just as grand as ever and the battle scenes are just too good to be true including the complexity of the story that made this trilogy a public and critical fave.

This 2-Disc Blu-Ray DVD set contains brilliant flawless picture and sound that makes LOTR look just as great as ever and has the same extras as the DVD such as trailers, LOTR: Aragon's Quest game trailer, documentaries shown on TV, Short film by Sean Astin, featurettes shown on the net, music video of Gollum's Song by Emillana Torrini, preview of Return of the King, Extended Edition preview and TV Spots.
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on February 13, 2018
It is inescapable. Most of the actors and actresses must belong to some kind of ensemble group connected to the BBC. As I watch, I hear voices and see faces I recognize from "Masterpiece Theater" and even "Harry Potter". It is wonderful that this exceptional group of people has been "blessed" with the opportunity to bring great works of literature to life.
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on November 27, 2010
The three *The Lord of the Rings* films [all directed by Peter Jackson] have clearly made film history, chiefly due to their marked overall excellence. This film trilogy, shot entirely in New Zealand, is breathtaking at a minimum. Here, I'm reviewing the *Special Extended Edition* [as opposed to the much shorter Theatrical Version] of the second of these films on DVD, *The Two Towers*.

I'm sure that the story is familiar to most who would show an interest in this film but, for the unindoctrinated, the overall adult fantasy trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien chronicles a group of travelers which includes a wizard, two men, a dwarf, an elf, and four hobbits, ergo: "The Fellowship". They are traveling because two evil wizards have joined forces to eventually conquer and enslave all inhabitants of Middle Earth. At the behest of these dark and nefarious sorcerers are orcs, trolls, wargs, and other heinous minions.

One of the hobbits [Frodo Baggins] has inherited a magic ring from an aged relative [Bilbo Baggins, of *The Hobbit* fame, a fantasy written by Tolkien for young people] and it soon becomes clear that this is *The One Ring* which rules all other magic rings of power within Middle Earth. It was created by The Dark Lord [Sauron, the more powerful of the two evil wizards] but it was inadvertently lost for many years. As The Ring [which can render one invisible, with certain negative caveats] ultimately ends up in the hands of Frodo, it becomes his quest (along with the rest of The Fellowship) to destroy the ring at Mount Doom, a huge volcano which lies within Sauron's sinister and well-patrolled realm of Mordor.

In *The Two Towers* the viewer is brought back into the tale just after a partial dissolution of The Fellowship has occurred. This nuance is a deviation from the first film [*The Fellowship of the Ring*] which is a very linear tale. Here, the story diverges into three or more directions: the journey of Sam and Frodo to destroy The Ring; Aragorn's development as a warrior and as a prospective King, and; Gandalf the Wizard's plan for dealing with the Evil sorcerers, Saruman and Sauron.

One could rightly say that this film has no beginning and no end, being derived from the middle book of a trilogy; however, this movie stands on its own, especially in the Special Extended Edition version which is being reviewed here. One could watch this film with no knowledge of either Tolkien's trilogy of books or the other two films of the series and still enjoy it. If it doesn't actually have an ending, it does still feature a *conclusion* of a sort. I don't think viewers are left hanging.

Director Peter Jackson, the cast, and the crew got ever more proficient as they produced these three films. Jackson sort of viewed his task as making one long film, thus the scenes were not shot in sequence, quite typical of film-making, but noting also that most films are not nine hours in length. Naturally, many changes were adopted within the scripts of all three films as time rolled along... and thus each movie clearly became better than its predecessor.

I think that most of the *MAGIC* of this film trilogy came from Jackson's inclusion of multiple technologies and special effects techniques - he did not wholly depend upon Computer Generated Images but when he did they were effected in post-production with absolute perfection.

Additional film magic was manifested through Howard Shore's magnificent classical filmscore for the trilogy. There is little doubt from my view that the soundtrack from this second film of the series was the greatest of the three. One of the outstanding segments includes singing by Isabel Bayrakdarian, a terrific Canadian soprano who is currently my favorite of all. The *Rohan* score is equally inspiring.

Of course the Special Extended Editions contain much more original music than the theatrical versions and it's all a great joy to the ear, even including the gloom and doom facets of the three soundtracks. They are available as three individual sets: The Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring (The Complete Recordings),The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (The Complete Recordings), and, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (The Complete Recordings).

Perhaps the most important facet of my review is to encourage you to not bother with watching the theatrical versions of these films on DVD, and this is especially applicable if you've never read Tolkien's books. The theatrical versions are very good but they were meant more for theaters to collect from patrons for two showings per evening rather than to convey the details of Tolkien's complex story. The Special Extended Editions are perfectly edited to be both impressive and informative but they are never boring.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD! *The Two Towers* provides us with an exciting Battle at Helm's Deep between Saruman's minions and the men of both Rohan and Gondor [the elves help out too], as well as the Ents' assault on Isengard, the Tower of Sauron; the continuing flight of Frodo and Sam into Mordor itself in an effort to destroy The Ring, and; all the dangers and hazards which befall Aragorn, Legolis [the elf], two of the Hobbits, and Gimli [the Dwarf]. The story jumps around from place to place (and from story to story) but it's all quite well-done and coherent. Since Tolkien depicted several towers in Middle Earth we cannot precisely say this for certain but, it would appear that *The Two Towers* are those of Saruman and of Sauron -- or at least Christopher Lee thinks so and so do I.

Every facet of this film manifests the cutting edge of every aspect of film-making, from the technology, even extending to the acting [and motion capture] of Andy Serkis who plays the creature Gollum, who really develops in this second film of the trilogy. We get to experience a broad range of acting styles from Orlando Bloom (who was cast for the role of Legolis fairly fresh out of acting school) to the venerable Christopher Lee [Saruman] who has made more films than anyone else that I'm aware of. To a person, all were magnificent in their perfectly cast roles.

Fans of the trilogy should also be aware that even though the character Denithor [Steward of Gondor] does not appear in the theatrical version of *The Two Towers*, he does show up in this Special Extended Edition. It's also a chance to see Boromir [Denithor's eldest son] again and the segment is quite a good one.

This is probably a good juncture to detail what one gets in this boxed-set edition. There are two DVDs which make up the film and there are *multiple* sound tracks which can be brought up on each of these, depending upon whether you wish to watch the films themselves or listen to various available commentary tracks [for example, a track of cast member running remarks as the film progresses]. Two more DVDs make up the total of four: these two are the appendices which beautifully depict exactly how this film was made, cast and crew interviews, details of the musical score, and so on. All this lasts for at least as long as would the film itself and it's all quite fascinating and well-done. Finally, the set comes with a small pamphlet inside which is a sort of map of what to look for on the DVDs and where.

I can hardly convey an adequate number of positive comments about this film except to say that the final film [*The Return of the King*] is even better! I cannot state that this is the best film I've ever seen but I can honestly comment that I've never enjoyed any films *more* than those included in this Special Extended Edition trilogy.

Highly recommended.
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on March 22, 2011
I've read plenty on this website about the thoroughness of the two extras DVD's, and I can't help but second that. I was fascinated by all the background behind the making of this movie, and it kept me up a few nights just wanting to watch the next feature, even as someone who didn't care for the book as anything special (don't hate!).

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.
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on January 4, 2013
Having somehow misplaced my copy of the Two Towers sometime over the past couple of years, I finally felt that I should pick up a new one in anticipation of the release of the Hobbit. This being quite well-priced and delivery from amazon being so convenient, I ordered this, and found it to be as powerful a movie as ever. Among the three films in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I am tempted to say that this is my favorite; the first movie resorts to some queer film editing techniques towards the end (the combination of slow-motion capture and the lowered frame rate during several sequences accomplishes nothing and results in a strange feeling) and omits a large number of important scenes from the book, and the last film, while certainly one of the grandest of achievements, also omits some fairly important parts, notably the Scouring of the Shire. What this film accomplishes is a much more compelling tale and a powerful transcription of the second book. For all of those reasons I feel this is perhaps the best of an incredible trilogy.
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VINE VOICEon January 4, 2007
I spent the equivalent of a full day's waking-hours in front of my big screen TV this past winter break with just the 2 sets of the four Harry Potter movies and the three Lord of the Rings movies.

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.

Frodo Lives!
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on May 29, 2016
Why is the extended edition of The Two Towers such a great movie?

There are several distinct elements of high quality here which combine to create something rather marvelous. They Include:


J.R.R. Tolkien’s original books constitute an entertaining, whimsical fantasy tale when taken at face value, but they were also consciously written with the intention that they be firmly rooted in pre-Christian northern European mythology, history, and culture.

In other words, although this is a fictional story, it resonates deeply of something which is ancient, and real.


Even before the opening credits have finished rolling, you will come to understand that the musical soundtrack will do an excellent job throughout, anticipating, interpreting, and intuiting the events and emotional context of each scene.

It was no accident that composer and conductor Howard Shore won the Grammy Award for the ‘Best Score Soundtrack Album’ for The Two Towers.


The South Island of New Zealand presents a target rich environment for an outdoor camera crew.

The first images on the screen - a close-up aerial flyover of the spinal crest of a row of glaciated mountain peaks - demonstrates that the director understands this, and that he is going to take maximum photographic advantage of the high ridges, the boulder-strewn plains, and the wide, wild vistas upon which this story unfolds.


Gandolph’s summoning of Shadowfax.

Aowyn’s singing of the Old English funeral ceremony for Theodred.

Aragorn in the stables soothing the frightened horse.

Aragorn washing up on the riverbank, dreaming of Arwen as he is rescued by his horse.

Sam seeing the Oliphant.

The moment when Treebeard changes his mind and decides to go to war after all.

When the boys discover the provisions and the pipe weed after the battle, and decide to light up.


The casting for each of the main characters was quite strong.

Ian McKellen was a perfect fit for Gandolph. Likewise Brad Dourif was absolutely made for the role of Wormtongue.

In addition, there were three distinct groupings where the chemistry between the characters seemed just right - Frodo and Sam, Merry and Pippin, and the warrior band of brothers Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli.


Succinct dialogue where each character gets to express themselves in their sharply unique voices abound. A sampling of my favorites:

‘You shall not pass!’

‘They’re thieves, they’re thieves, they’re filthy little thieves!’

‘They’re taking the Hobbits to Isengard!’

‘The forest of Fangorn lies on our doorstep. Burn it!’

‘Why do you lay these troubles on an already troubled mind?’

‘Looks like meat’s back on the menu, boys!’

‘What business does an elf, a man, and a dwarf have in the Riddermark?
‘Give me your name, horse master, and I shall give you mine.’

‘Side? I am on nobody’s side, because nobody is on my side.’

‘Gandolph? Oh yes...that was what they used to call me.’

‘Your witchcraft would have had me crawling on all fours like a beast!’

‘There is nothing for you here. Only death.’

‘Captain Boromir, you have shown your character.’

...and best of all:

‘You’ve some skill with the blade.’
‘The women of this country learned long ago that those without swords can still die upon them. I fear neither death nor pain.’
‘What do you fear, my Lady?’
‘A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accepts them, and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire.’
‘You are a daughter of kings. A shield maiden of Rohan. I do not think that will be your fate.’

If you haven’t seen this yet, do so now. If you have seen it, go watch it again!
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on November 24, 2003
In 2002, one year following the release of "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring", Peter Jackson directed the next film in the series based upon J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy: "The Lord of the Ring: The Two Towers". As with the first, the cinematography and special effects used in the second are fantastic and even surpass the first as demonstrated by the computer-generated characters of Gollum (a.k.a., Sméagol, with the voice done by Andy Serkis) and Treebeard (voice done by John Rhys-Davies, who also plays Gimli son of Gloin in the film). Peter Jackson's direction of the film was equally brilliant in the second film and the performances by the many actors were realistic and engaging. As was the case when I first saw the extended DVD version of the first film, seeing the extended DVD version of the second film made the second film come to life far more than I had previously seen in its shorter theatrical release.
The continuation of the story in the second film is darker than the story's beginning in the first film. Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) and his companion Samwise 'Sam' Gamgee (Sean Astin) continue their journey to the land of Mordor. Climbing over seemingly endless rocks and cliffs, they realize that they have become lost, but also that they are not alone. Following them is the creature known as Gollum, who had once been named Sméagol. Frodo and Sam capture Gollum, who agrees to show them the way to the Black Gate of Mordor. The other two hobbits who left the Shire, Peregrin 'Pippin' Took (Billy Boyd) and Meriadoc 'Merry' Brandybuck (Dominic Monaghan), are the captives of a brutal band of orcs lead by one named Uglúk (Nathaniel Lees). He was previously given strict orders from Saruman (Christopher Lee) to bring back the Hobbits unharmed. Having let Frodo and Sam leave on their own, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas Greenleaf (Orlando Bloom) and Gimli son of Gloin (John Rhys-Davies) have vowed to rescue Pippin and Merry and pursue the orcs, who have entered the land of Rohan. Rohan is lead by King Théoden (Bernard Hill), but all is not well with him and he is under the guidance of a strange advisor, Grima Wormtongue (Brad Dourif), who does not appear to have Rohan's best interests at heart. Grima has his eye on the King's niece, Éowyn (Miranda Otto), who wants nothing to do with him; but he doesn't like her brother, Éomer (Karl Urban). A changed Gandalf (Ian McKellan) returns to join the fight against Sauron, and Frodo and Sam get to meet Faramir (David Wenham), who was the brother of Boromir (played by Sean Bean in the previous film and in the extended version this film only). Also returning to the second film are the characters Arwen (Liv Tyler), Elrond (Hugo Weaving) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), but with lesser roles than in the first.
Memorable scenes in "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" include Pippin & Merry's escape from the orcs, Pippin & Merry's meeting of Treebeard, Frodo and Sam capturing Gollum, the return of the changed Gandalf, Gandalf's first meeting with King Théoden, the battle with the riding orcs, the swamp, the arrival of the elves lead by Haldir (Craig Parker), the battle at Helm's Deep and battle of the trees. The extended DVD version better ties the various scenes in the film together and provides a deeper understanding of several of the characters, especially Faramir and the trees.
Overall, I rate both the regular and extended versions of "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" with a resounding 5 out of 5 stars. It is no wonder that the film won two Oscars for Best Sound Editing and Best Special Effects and was nominated for four more: Best Art Direction, Best Editing, Best Sound and Best Picture. I highly recommend purchase of the extended version DVD, which breaks the film between two DVD's and includes two extra DVD's that include multiple documentaries, design & photo galleries, an atlas of Middle Earth, etc. I also can't wait to see the third and final film installment, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King", and to purchase it on extended version DVD.
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on November 22, 2003
Although it is not really necessary to stick to the knitting of the script of Tolkein's book, what the extended version displays in dramatic form is how far from the environmental and anti-violence message Jackson's theatrical edition has strayed. Given the advance complaints from Christopher Lee about the hatcheting of the third film, it might just be best to wait until the extended DVD comes out next Christmas. We'll find out soon enough. A question for Jackson: why would you edit the third film anyway? There is no fourth. Do it right, for a change.
As to this film, as with the first, much of the extra footage fills in details or gives more substance that in the theatre release seemed to be passing nods to cognoscenti who may have brushed up on the book just before curtain. However, there are some critical passages that SHOULD have been in: most notably, "Sons of the Steward" segment, the initial capture of Frodo & Sam by Faramir, and most importantly, "Flotsam and Jetsam." In the case of the first, the essential dialectic between two sons of a father already unkowingly corrupted by the lure of the ring addresses everything from the literal implications to the endless psychological and family issues involved in the passing of one generation to another, be it business or early onset Alzheimers. But critically to the third film, this scene lays out what is a very key part of the conclusion of the story and why Middle Earth will be forever changed when it passes to men.
As to Frodo's initial capture by Faramir, they come across a fallen opponent and Faramir delivers an oratory that is right at the heart of the tragedy of war, and this is a story borne of a tragedy in Europe in which young men answered calls and found their death. On top of the contextual part, the actuial acting in these two scenes is among the best in the series thus far. Pity. Do we really need more of the "Guns of Navaronne" type of film-making? Essentially all war movies are the same: stress in anticpation, catharsis in battle, sacrifice in the aftermath. What changes is the quality of the toys used to display it. That is NOT what the story is about.
The Sons scene deleted also gives depth to Framir's confrontation with Frodo and Sam in the cave and establishes the ethical and the metaphysical reason why he, and not Boromir, should survive and have an important future in Middle Earth.
Many of the other characters are given much more detail as well: Eowyn's part makes sense in this film now. She isn't just Renaissance eye-candy. The Ents are less Disney-like cartoons and actually manage to reel off both Tolkien's interest in lyrical poetry and the Heideggerian question concerning technology and the environment in more than broad pastiche.
And that brings us to Flotsam: much has been made of Jackson's omission of the spider, which, honestly, is a mere dramatic device to advance the story (a more nefarious Tom Bombadill, if you will) that can be quickly addressed in #3. But at the fall of Isengaard, there is an essential confrontation between Gandalf and Saruman that defines the entire conflict that knowledge and power can produce among the knowing and the innocent. In the course of this confrontation, an orb is picked up that has enormous ontological consequences as the story unfolds. It ties in with the entire issue of knowledge, power, corruption and innocence. This is precisely how the movie should have ended, and more's the pity that Jackson took the Jerry Bruckheimer route.
That said, and as the rumours begin to fly about the editing of RETURN OF THE KING, the third film is in danger of going Hollywood. I wept at the end of the books, and I suspect I'll just be full of popcorn with Jackson's resolution of the human factors, the exitential confrontations, the mythological interpretation of death and loss.
This edition is truly what the second film should have been. If you love the story, pick this up.
As to the superfluous material scattered over the other 2 discs, it's mostly for the Mac graphically inclined, but the discussion about Tolkien, featuring notably Christopher Lee, and the New Zealand as Middle Earth segments are terrific. Regarding Tolkien, the various talking heads give you an historical context, but unless you're literate enough to understand the dynamics between Tolkien and C.C. Lewis and even Charles Williams for that matter, this might be lost on the casual viewer. Still, I'm glad it's here. Tends to validate Lee's criticism's of Jackson's editing as well. It would be well to keep in mind that when published, it was ridiculed at Oxford as "Bored of the Rings" and actually never really achieved its legendary status until the hippies re-discovered it in the sixties. What began as an academic way of comforting his son in the midst of WW2 inspired so many of us later to be concerned about the very life-stuff of this planet, human and otherwise.
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