The Two Towers

I caught the latest installment in Peter Jackson’s film versions of Tolkiens masterworks last Thursday. Though this second film took more liberties with the books than the first one did (and more than I would have expected from interviews with Jackson earlier on), the deviations work very well for all but the Tolkien purist.

Gollum merits special mention. The voicing and animation combine to create a wonderfully realized, painfully conflicted creature. The dialogues that externalize the tension between his desires to get the ring back and to treat the hobbits decently are little roller coaster rides, careening back and forth in a way that’s both sad and funny simultaneously.

Equally impressive is the computer generated “cast of thousands” that comes into play at the battle of Helm’s Deep. It’s just amazing to watch these massive armies clash so dramatically, and leaves me eager to see what Jackson’s going to be able to pull off in the last film. (And makes me wonder if everything else is going to be an anticlimax for him once the trilogy is complete.)