The next adaptation in J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy could not possibly top what the first one did, right? Bzzt, wrong! The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers in fact introduced even more new visual effects techniques that left a permanent effect on blockbuster movies. More enormous set pieces were built on location, such as Rohan, Isengard, and Helm’s Deep, while many more sets were built completely from scratch inside a soundstage, such as the Dead Marshes. Plus, a massive portion of the third act’s runtime is taken up by a battle at Helm’s Deep, which fully utilized the tools at its disposal: the heavy rainfall, the special makeup effects, the complex camera movements in the air, the miniature sets, the practical fight choreography, it’s mesmerizing to imagine the production challenges posed within every single frame of this sequence.
Plus, Gollum is one of the first-ever instances of motion capture technology in film, and it could never have worked without Andy Serkis’ performance behind the mocap dots to bring so much humanity into the role. Furthermore, the CGI Ents move like no other digital creation had looked before, especially during the scene where they attack Isengard together. The computerized effects may have been the accomplishment most celebrated in this trilogy, but it’s ultimately more noteworthy how a massive project such as this could have possibly been completed in the first place.
PG-13 (V) Fantasy/Action 2 hr. 59 min.
Watch it for FUN. Watch it to feel HAPPY and AFRAID.