I’m kind of with everyone else on this one, that it is the low point of the LOTR trilogy. But, man, that description is whatever the opposite of “damning with faint praise” is. It’s like talking about the least hot Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. Or the least doughy Baldwin brother. The movie is still awesome, is what I’m saying.
There’s so much to love. The way the movie spends two minutes getting us up to speed on the “death” of Gandalf, and diving (pun intended) into an insane action sequence that is only hinted at in the text, when Gandalf takes out the Balrog. That’s only the first of a few time cheats the film uses quite well to maintain tension in a complex mid-trilogy installment which is mostly about setting the pieces on the board for the finale.
What’s even more brilliant is the way Jackson and company compress and dilate the parts of the story in it’s original form to make this a living breathing film. They jettison the death of Boromir (witnessed at the end of Fellowship) and Sam’s run in with Shelob (seen in Return) and spend a good half of the film setting up and following through with the Battle of Helm’s Deep. What was only one chapter in the book becomes the reason to watch this movie.
The other smart choice was deepening the character of Faramir. In the book, he’s a plot convenience, a way of moving information from Point A to Point B. Here, he gets his own parallel arc with his doomed brother, and it doesn’t even pay off until the final film.
And I haven’t even discussed the introduction of Theoden, Eomer, Eowyn and Grima Wormtongue, who deserve their own trilogy, or the epic sequences between Sam, Frodo and Gollum. (I could write a whole series of posts just about Gollum, for heaven’s sake.)
In fact, the only thing wrong with this film is that it doesn’t have the Council of Elrond or the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in it. Otherwise, it would be perfect.
Miranda Otto was in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers with Orlando Bloom. Orlando Bloom was in…