The Adventure Continues...
Running Time: 179 minutes
UK Certificate: 12a
Country: United States
Three words: spectacular, lavish, sumptuous. Those are about the only words you need to hear. Armed with sumptuous special effects, costumes and a breathtaking musical score, this is an epic movie of considerable substance.
Ardent Tolkein fans might be distressed at some (almost unforgivable) deviations from the book, but generally director Jackson has remained faithful to the works of Tolkein. He has certainly carried the flavour of Middle Earth and created a believable fantasy saga.
Things continue exactly where the first movie left off, with Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli hot in pursuit of the orcs carrying Merry and Pippin to Isengard, while Sam and Frodo journey alone to Mordor in an attempt to destroy the One Ring.
The atmosphere is compounded ten fold from the first movie with the evil of the ring weighing heavily upon Frodo's will and the mounting sense of the hobbits' doom as they journey through deadly terrain is considerable.
Enter Gollum (Serkis), the creature that was twisted by the ring for a thousand years. Setting the standard for computer generated characters, Gollum is funny and loathsome and there are many places where you forget he is not real and are utterly drawn into his schizophrenic character. Gollum becomes Frodo and Sam's guide to Mordor and leads them safely though countless dangers. Jackson has done a formidable job of making Gollum a character you really care about.
The other half of the movie focuses on the battle of Helm's Deep. The evil wizard Saruman intends to use his army of evil Uruk-Hai to destroy the world of men. Enter Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas to save the day. Finding themselves defending Helm's Deep against the 10,000 strong evil of Saruman's hordes, the trio face their greatest threat: a battle that they cannot hope to win…
It's Got: Ents. And bucket loads of them. Gollum: upping the ante in computer generated characters
It Needs: To release the third movie, now, Now, NOW!
Alternatives:The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring
Breathtaking. Gorgeous locations, good (if not great) dialogue and some fantastic battle scenes. As always Gandalf (McKellan) is outstanding, as are the performances generally enhanced from the first movie. The ents dont fail to disappoint, although I would have liked to have seen a lot more time devoted to them.