Thursday, December 19, 2002

I saw The Two Towers. My response: I really enjoyed it, much more than I did The Fellowship of the Ring , to be truthful. Roger Ebert has criticised the movies for removing the hobbits from the centre of action, and instead concentrating on the more action oriented storylines, as well as for the fact that the characterisation gets a little lost in all the swashbuckling. Certainly these are fair criticisms. The central focus of the movie is on Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, rather than Frodo and Sam. But that said: the second book was quite tricky from a narrative point of view: the principal characters have been split into three groups, who meet up at no point in the story. It was always likely that one story would be in front and the other two would feel like digressions from the action, and that is what we have.

Visually, the movie is just stunning. My admiration for what Peter Jackson has been able to pull off in New Zealand is enormous. If evidence was ever needed that anything can be pulled off anywhere in todays technological, connected world, this is it. It used to be the case that George Lucas was considered eccentric for basing his movie empire in Marin County in northern California, but now the rules have changed again. Everything has been done in house in New Zealand, including all the special effects. And quite simply, wow. (The film deserves an award for its score, too, which is perfect without being too intrusive.

And, following up on what I said yesterday, Miranda Otto is absolutely luminous as Eowyn, in what is by far the largest female part in the films so far. Somewhat sadly, we lose track of her character a bit as the film gets swallowed by action scenes towards the end, but Peter Jackson may have just turned her into an international star.

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