You are reading a soon-to-be out-of-date DVD review.

This November the Special Extended DVD Edition of “The Lord of
the Rings: The Two Towers” will find its release. The DVD set
reviewed here, a more-than-adequate for most films two-disc
version, will be replaced, left to cohabitate that same cubby in
dorm rooms and entertainment units that already holds the original
“The Fellowship of the Ring” DVD set and one or two of the myriad
“Terminator 2” Ultimate/Special Edition DVDs that Warner Bros.
keeps tossing onto the New racks at Best Buy.

If you did not know this already, and there is basically no
excuse for anyone to be raising their hands, the “Lord of the
Rings” franchise is not like other movies. It is simply the largest
production in all of cinema history, with the whole trilogy being
shot back-to-back-to-back for a record-tying 274 days (not
including re-shoots). A two-disc version is merely the appetizer
for devoted “LOTR” fans. Last November’s four-disc for “Fellowship”
added over 30 minutes of additional footage, turning the best movie
of the year into one of the best films of all time, and included
every inside look and audio commentary possible. No DVD ever
released (not even anything the Criterion Collection has so
carefully crafted) can beat it.

However, none of this means that the two-disc “The Two Towers”
is unworthy of your collection. Not everyone wants to spend the
10-plus hours scouring four discs for every little featurette and
commentary from the art director’s second assistant’s daughter. The
mere fact that the theatrical version of “The Two Towers,” one of
the top three film’s of 2002 in its own right, is included is
enough reason for any purchase.

“TTT” seamlessly continues the momentum of “Fellowship”‘s
on-the-edge-of-your-seat conclusion and never lets up. This
gloriously makes for more epic set pieces and clashes, but also
creates a piece with less heart and depth than the original. Yet,
the superior craftsmanship of director Peter Jackson and his crew
still lives on in full display and the already wonderful cast of
characters only grows more wonderful, most evidently through the
additions of cautious leader King Theoden (Bernard Hill) and gothic
yes man Wormtongue (Brad Dourif) and the expansion of the film’s
greatest gift to the film world – CGI masterpiece Gollum (Oscar
snub Andy Serkis).

The four-disc will be specifically designed for the “LOTR”
insider. As the Disc 2 Features preview here, “LOTR” fans all over
the world still have another two months until the four-disc “TTT”
and three months until what everyone is really drooling over – the
mid-December release of Jackson’s final piece in what is fighting
for the crown of supreme film trilogy, “The Return of the King.” So
while this lull in between releases could include a re-reading of
all three books (as “LOTR”‘s Dark Wizard Saruman and legendary
British actor Christopher Lee does each year), a short DVD release
seems suitable for most.

Still, this two-disc “TTT” simultaneously whets the appetites of
cinephiles and rings Pavlov’s bell with the previews of what’s to
come. The ten-minute Behind-the-Scenes Preview of “The Return of
the King” gives equal amounts of interviews/insight into the
production and actual footage of this year’s way-too-early but
not-to-be-questioned frontrunner for Best Picture. Essentially,
what Jackson, Elijah Wood and others reveal to fans is that the
“Two Towers” battle at Helms Deep was the largest battle ever put
on screen … that is, until you see another certain battle in
December’s “ROTK.” Wood even has the nerve to label the third
installation “even better than I hoped it could be.” Star-made
hype? Possibly. But the several made-for-TV and made-for-Internet
behind-the-scenes documentaries included on Disc 2 only confirm the
passion and dedication of everyone involved with “The Lord of the
Rings.”

It’s that rare Hollywood blockbuster; one that finds equal love
in its fans and its cast and crew.

Film: 5 stars.

Picture/Sound: 5 stars.

Features: 3 stars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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