The Lord Of The Rings The Two Towers
The details of the story--who is who, and why, and what their histories and attributes are--still remains somewhat murky to me. I know the general outlines and I boned up by rewatching the first film on DVD the night before seeing the second, and yet I am in awe of the true students of the Ring. For the amateur viewer, which is to say for most of us, the appeal of the movies is in the visuals. Here there be vast caverns and mighty towers, dwarves and elves and Orcs and the aforementioned Uruk-Hai (who look like distant cousins of the aliens in "Battlefield Earth"). And all are set within Jackson's ambitious canvas and backdropped by spectacular New Zealand scenery.
The Lord of The Rings The Two Towers
In the final sequence, Gollum leads Frodo and Sam further into the forest. His split personalities secretly devise a plan to reclaim the Ring by taking the hobbits to a mysterious "Her," the venomous spider Shelob at Cirith Ungol. The camera pans up from the thorny forest, rolling upwards past a black, rocky mountainside to twin towers of evil: Barad-dûr, where Sauron's flaming, watchful eye looms, and Mount Doom, where menacing smoke and flames fill the sky with its amber colors. Nazgul fly in circles, hunting for their prey. The apocalyptic image is chilling and hints toward the enormous battles and foes that still lie ahead. The arduous challenges of Helm's Deep and defeating Saruman were just the beginning.
The second film in New Line Cinema’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Two Towers, takes the members of the now-sundered Fellowship into darker, more perilous terrain. Against the backdrops of Rohan and Gondor, our heroes must confront the vast armies of Mordor and Isengard as the final war with the evil lord Sauron becomes increasingly inevitable. Hobbits Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin), now accompanied by Gollum (Andy Serkis), continue their arduous journey to Mount Doom, while the other Hobbits, Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd), escape from their Uruk captors and meet the Ents of Fangorn Forest. Meanwhile, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) pursue the Hobbit’s captors, and then make a stand against the forces of Saruman (Christopher Lee) at Helm’s Deep.
When you listen to Gandalf speak, you just think nothing of it. While it is a very grand voice that Ian McKellan brings to the part, most people just presume that was the talented actor putting on a voice to make the wizard seme as powerful as possible.
D through I Death Glare: The crowning one has to be the one Theoden gives Grima after being freed from Saruman. You can almost hear Grima piss himself.
Death Wail: Aragorn lets out one when he finds Merry and Pippin's elven belts on the Orc funeral pyre. In Real Life, it was because Viggo Mortensen had just broken his toe on the helmet he kicked, but he went on with the scene.
Devoured by the Horde: The orc pack who take Merry and Pippin to Isengard are starving, and one of them attempts to eat the hobbits. Under strict orders to bring any hobbit back in one piece, the leader of the orc pack kills this orc instead, who is then devoured by his hungry comrades.
Didn't Think This Through: During the siege of Helm's Deep, the Uruk-Hai use Saruman's newly-created explosives to blow up the wall in order to make a breach. However, they were caught off-guard by the blast almost as much as the defenders were. The Uruks near the grate are blown up along with the ones already on the wall and countless more are crushed beneath massive chunks of falling rubble that were blown sky-high by the blast. After the dust settles, instead of immediately storming through the breach, they stand there staring at it, clearly not realizing that Saruman's new weapons would be that powerful. Of course, it's probably likely that Saruman just didn't bother to inform them of its destructive power because he didn't care, given that We Have Reserves was in full effect for the Uruks.
Dies Differently in Adaptation: Théodred was killed in battle in the book, while in the movie he was only seriously wounded and brought back to Meduseld alive before succumbing to his wounds, possibly with assistance from Gríma.
Disney Death: Alongside Frodo's examples from the book that made it into the film, we also have Aragorn's plunge off of the cliff.
Dramatic Drop: Frodo drops Sting in horror after realizing he almost killed Sam in a Ring-fit.
Dream Intro: At the beginning, Frodo has a dream that reminds us what happened to Gandalf at the end of Part 1, although in this case, it continues into a sequence which he couldn't possibly have seen.
Early-Bird Cameo: The extended version has a flashback to Boromir and Faramir's past, which serves to introduce Denethor before he becomes a major character in Return of the King.
Enemy Civil War: The orcs of Mordor and Isengard do not play nicely together. In fact, Saruman is only allied with Mordor out of convenience; he plans to betray Sauron once he gets the Ring and overthrow him.
Establishing Character Moment: Faramir is introduced after his men attack a troop of Haradrim, and he shows empathy for one of the enemies that they killed. Unlike the War Is Glorious mindset of most other characters, he then says "War will make corpses of us all."
Wormtongue's introduction in Edoras shows that he is manipulative, creepy, and nevertheless a little pathetic.
"Everybody Laughs" Ending: In the Extended Edition, Merry and Pippin's part of the story ends with them finding and smoking Saruman's stash of pipeweed and laughing uproariously all the while.
Evil Gloating: See Fate Worse Than Death.Saruman: Who now has the strength to stand against the armies of Isengard and Mordor? To stand against the might of Sauron and Saruman ... and the union of the two towers? Together, my Lord Sauron ... we shall rule this Middle-Earth!
Evil Laugh: Gandalf's attempt to free Theoden from Saruman's influence is met by sinister laughter from Theoden himself, showing how far gone he is.
Evil Sounds Raspy: A side effect of corruption by rings of power. Gollum speaks this way after possessing the One Ring for centuries.
Evil Tower of Ominousness: The (original) Dark Tower, Barad-dûr revealed in the film.
Extended Disarming: Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli are asked to hand over their weapons before being allowed in to see Théoden. Gandalf plays up the "weak old man" angle to keep his staff, which is the one thing Gríma wanted taken away from them. It's strongly implied Háma knew what he was doing and let Gandalf keep it so he could free Théoden from Gríma's control.
Failed a Spot Check: Grima fails to see that Gandalf is holding his staff until it's pointed directly at his face, even though all his attention is directed toward the wizard for the whole scene and he outright ordered his men to confiscate it. In order to make this believable, Gandalf held the staff in a way that wouldn't draw attention to it, by tucking it under his arm so that most of it would functionally stay hidden behind him.
Fake Shemp: In Gandalf's final scene where he says that the battle of Helm's Deep is over and the battle of Middle-Earth is about to begin, an unknown Rohan rider is seen on the far left. This was originally meant to be Éomer, but since Karl Urban was not on set that day, his stand-in replaced him. On the DVD commentary, Peter Jackson admits that they planned to digitally replace the head of the stand-in with Urban's, but they simply forgot to do that during post-production.
Fanfare: The Rohan theme at points.
Flash Forward: Elrond warns Arwen what will happen if she stays in Middle-Earth and marries Aragorn, and there is a scene of Aragorn's funeral, after he has become king and has died of old age, while Arwen lives on in grief and loneliness.
Foe-Tossing Charge: Theoden and Aragorn do this at the climax of the Battle of the Hornburg, riding out of the gates and scattering the orcs on the bridge.
Foreshadowing: Gollum's Song, sung by Emiliana Torrini and played over the credits ends with 'You are lost, you can never go home.' While it's ambiguous who exactly this is directed towards, by the end of the quest Frodo at least suffers a tragic case of You Can't Go Home Again.
There are scenes all throughout the Extended Edition that hint of something ominous going on with the trees of Fangorn Forest. Merry, Pippin, and the Three Hunters hear their angry groanings on different occasions, and the Hobbits nearly fall prey to one that tries crushing them to death. It's all a buildup to the finale of the Battle of Helm's Deep, where the trees kill the rest of the retreating Orcs, and definitively destroy Saruman's army down to the last soldier.
Forgot About His Powers: Saruman shows the ability to levitate an enemy and toss him through the air, and to call down storms and avalanches from dozens if not hundreds of miles away, and Treebeard predicts that the Ents are probably doomed fighting against him. But during the actual battle, the Ents win easily and Saruman just watches angrily without using any magic. In the books he actually kills one of the Ents with a jet of fire, making this an inversion of the usual Adaptation Deviation tendency to add much more blatant magic use than was in the source material.
Free-Fall Fight: Gandalf fights the Balrog while falling into the chasms of Moria. In both this and the book, they hit a lake on the bottom, but they are both too powerful to be killed by the impact.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: During the approach to Osgiliath, Minas Tirith can be spotted in the distance.
After Saruman's hold over Theoden is broken, he can be seen with a mark on his forehead from where Gandalf hit Theoden with his staff.
Friendlessness Insult: The film has a character do this to himself while trying to manipulate himself.Gollum: Master, Yes, Precious. False! They will cheat you. Hurt you. Lie!Smeagol: Master's my friend.Gollum: You don't have any friends! Nobody likes you!
Funny Background Event: During the Entish assault on Isengard, one of them catches fire. The Ent running around and then dousing himself in the overflowing Isen is hilarious if you notice it.
As the Ents break the dam overlooking Isengard, there is an Ent in the foreground holding a struggling orc in his hand. When the Ent sees the dam breaking in the background, he casually throws the orc in the path of the torrent and walks away.
During the Battle of Helm's Deep, when Aragorn alerts the defenders that the Uruk-Hai are bringing up siege ladders, an Elvish archer gets hit in the face by the quiver of the man standing in front of him, his gauntlet coming off after it catches on one of the arrows.
Gaia's Vengeance: The Ents overrun and flood Isengard in retribution for the damage Saruman did to their forest.
Giant Wall of Watery Doom: The Ents when...The Ents: Break the dam; release the river!
Near Isengard at the end, flooding all foulness out of it.
Godzilla Threshold: The reason Theoden recruits young boys as Child Soldiers for the Battle of Helm's Deep; the Uruks plan to kill everyone and they need to up the soldier count. To be fair, everyone involved in-universe (Theoden, the soldiers taking the children to the armoury) was thoroughly unhappy with the situation.
Gollum Made Me Do It: More pronounced in the film than the book, where we're asked to take Gollum as more of a whole person.
Green Aesop: The conflict between Isengard and the Ents.Saruman: "The old world will burn in the fires of industry. The forests will fall!"
Grievous Harm with a Body: It's easy to miss and hard to see, but at one point when the Ents are fighting the forces of Isengard, one Ent is swinging an orc around and whacking other orcs with it.
Groin Attack: Happens a couple of times to orcs during battles, particularly to an Uruk-Hai at Helm's Deep. Gimli hits him with an axe.
He Didn't Make It: It has a strange example because that scene was filmed before the script was totally ironed out: the director wasn't sure what actually did happen to Aragorn, so decided to keep the dialogue vague to save time.Éowyn: Where is Lord Aragorn? Gimli: He fell.
Hollywood Darkness: The night battles at Helm's Deep and Osgiliath are shown in a blue tint. Helms Deep occurs with rain during the bulk of the battle, meaning that the only light would have been lightning and scattered torches, but this isn't cited as nor provides any obvious difficulty. Osgiliath is a retreating battle in which both sides tried to ambush the other, no one has torches lit, but the orcs in the boats stay low, and the Gondorians took cover in the broken urban landscape.
Hollywood Tactics: The Rohirrim defenders of Helm's Deep let the Orcs neatly form up outside the fortress without shooting - until one bowman prematurely does, which (only then) provokes the Orcs to charge.
The Rohirrim cavalry charge at the conclusion of Helm's Deep - downhill, towards thousands of Uruk-Hai armed with pikes and spears pointed right at them is a textbook example. In real life, this would have skewered the horses and their riders like shish-kebab. But the Orcs, blinded by the sunlight (and perhaps Gandalf's magic) ridiculously start to raise their weapons when they could've just stuck their spears into the ground and pointed them straight forward at their attackers, and the Rohirrim cut them down.
They have to buy time for the women and children to escape and rather than hold a well-defended position they choose to charge out and be instantly surrounded and overwhelmed.
This series does an excellent job of analyzing the military tactics being utilized and described in both the book and the film. It's probably of very little surprise that the books are much more accurate to historical warfare than what is shown in the film. Warning: Very, very long, and goes into elaborate and fascinating detail.
Homage Shot: The shot of Frodo, Sam, and Gollum looking down at the Black Gate mirrors a similar shot in The Wizard of Oz, featuring the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion. Both sets of heroes find their destination heavily guarded, with new armies arriving. Later in both stories, one of the characters (Dorothy, Frodo) is captured, and in order to move around in the enemy's territory, all the heroes must dress in enemy uniforms.
Hope Springs Eternal: What Sam's speech amounts to. There will be times of great suffering and fear, but those times must pass on, and the light at the end of the tunnel will be even brighter than before.
Horns of Villainy: The Balrog wasn't clearly described in the novels, but it's given large ram-like horns, giving it a beast-like appearance.
I Am Not Left-Handed: When Gandalf confronts Saruman while the latter is speaking through the possessed King Théoden, Saruman mocks him with the declaration "You have no power here, Gandalf the Grey!". At this, Gandalf casts off his grey outer cloak, revealing himself (to possessed!Théoden's shock) as Gandalf the White before successfully casting Saruman out of the king's mind.
"I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Sam manages to talk Frodo down when the other hobbit (under heavy influence from the Ring) has a sword to his throat.Samwise: It's me. It's your Sam. Don't you know your Sam?
Iconic Sequel Song: While the motif for Rohan is one of the most recognizable parts of the series' score, it first appears in this film.
I'm a Humanitarian: "You will taste man-flesh!"
"Looks like meat's back on the menu, boys!"
I Meant to Do That: Gimli, when he falls off his horse.Gimli: Nobody panic! It was deliberate. It was deliberate.
Inertial Impalement: Subverted: The Rohirrim cavalry charges down a steep incline where orc pikemen are massing. However, the sun rises just in time for them to be dazzled, and the charge completely breaks the line apart.
Info Dump: A scene in which Gandalf brings Aragorn (and the audience as well) up to speed on everything that is happening at this point in the story, was shot late in production in the event they needed it (or the studio requested it). It is included in the Extended Edition.
Insane Troll Logic: Deliberately invoked by Pippin, with the aim of getting Treebeard to see first-hand the damage Saruman has caused to Fangorn.Pippin: If we go south, we can slip past Saruman unnoticed. The closer we are to danger, the further we are from harm. It's the last thing he'll expect.Treebeard: That doesn't make sense to me, but then you are very small. Perhaps you're right.
Instantly Proven Wrong: When Saruman says that taking Helm's Deep would require tens of thousands of soldiers, Wormtongue replies, "But my lord, there is no such force." Cue him seeing Saruman's huge Uruk-hai army two seconds later.