The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers ★★★★

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a good movie. It's a good movie, but it has non-trivial flaws.

One of the worst things about The Two Towers was the acting. I know that's weird because it has all the same actors as The Fellowship of the Ring, and that movie was almost perfectly acted. But in this movie it seemed like everyone was playing a Shakespearean drama. If Aragorn had dropped to his knees at the burned pile of Uruk-Hai and screamed "NOOOOO!" with his arms outstretched to the sky it wouldn't have felt out of place. Over and over it felt like the acting was over the top. Maybe I'm mis-assigning blame here because it could have been a directorial choice but... like... Peter Jackson directed all three of the Lord of the Rings movies, so what changed? On the other hand, all of these actors are the same, so... like... what changed?

Here's a theory - and it's also the second worst thing about this movie: This is the second act of one single movie. Just like Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings as a single story with three acts, this is just the second act of a single story. Like all second acts, it suffers from a lack of stuff happening. Sure, there's the Battle of Helm's Deep, but that's basically it.

I know, I know. Ents, Osgiliath, the Rohirrim, Edoras & Wormtongue, flying Nazgûl, etc. The movie is full of set pieces that fill time. We're seeing the inevitable results of things set in motion in the first act of this story, and rather than causing things to happen, things are happening. It's less interesting, but not uninteresting.

So my theory is that because the movie is passive (things are happening, not being done, mostly) Jackson and the cast decided to amp it up a little with other stuff. Overacting. A shitty romance sub-plot that I don't remember from the book but is shitty whether it's true to the source or not.

The Two Towers is a good movie, but - since my measure is "feeling things" - I have to knock it a bit. The overacting took me out of the movie a bit, and taking me out of the movie is a great way to keep me from feeling things. The passiveness of the movie kept me from engaging with the characters.

I think the script (sans overacting lines??) was great. The sound and cinematography were very good. I think the editing was maybe... not quite so good? Maybe a B+ or an A- for the editing. Not bad, just could have been better, I think. As usual the sets and locations are phenomenal. The costumes and makeup are impeccable.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie and the story, but it could have been significantly better.