The plot of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings novels has already proven itself over time - in this trilogy of movies by director Peter Jackson it just needed to be brought successfully to the screen. The second installment of the series, `The Two Towers', at least equals and perhaps even surpasses `The Fellowship of the Ring.' The two highlights in my view were firstly the incredible portrayal of Gollum, both his internal turmoil as well as his wretched creature-like body (with the brilliant help of CGI technology); and secondly the epic battle of Helm's Deep that concluded the movie with a cast of thousands. Unlike the first movie, overall the tone is darker and there is significantly more violence and action, but not with a focus on gory instead of glory. Thankfully it does not degenerate to the distasteful gore and gratuitous bloody violence that marks much contemporary action movies. Other memorable aspects were the majestic New Zealand scenery, and the portrayal of an overwhelming sense of evil in connection with the forces of Sauron and Saruman.
It is only to be expected that some changes need to be made to the plot in order to condense an epic story into just three hours. However I was disappointed that unlike the first movie, Jackson appears to have made some adjustments to Tolkien's original that were simply unnecessary and unjustifiable, particularly the antagonism of Faramir, the portrayal of the Ents, as well as the incorporation of some extra drama involving Aragorn at the end of a battle, and the infusion of too much romance not present in the original. You don't need to be a Tolkien purist to find these kind of unnecessary changes somewhat annoying.
But once one gets over the initial shock of the adjustments to Tolkien, this is still a brilliant movie. The setting of Middle Earth, along with its characters and epic war really comes alive. This may be fantasy, but the choices and struggles are very human and very real. Perhaps this is most obvious with Sam's wise words at the end: "There's some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for." This is as true for real life as it is for Tolkien's world. It's also true of the movie itself: in a world of cinematic garbage, Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings show that there is still some good left in this world, and these are movies worth fighting for. -GODLY GADFLY