Poppa’s Got a Brand New Baggins

Isengard and Barad-Dûr, that's 2 all rightBed was looking mighty good when I hauled out of the cave yesterday and grumbled off to the morning showing of the newly-lengthened rooty-tooty extra-long (Improved! And with Extra Length!) limited theatrical re-release of The Two Towers, the refaced 2002 installment of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy (formerly known as J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy).

How sweetly the next 3 hours and 42 minutes might be spent consorting with Mattress and Pillow, tilting after buxom blonde stage managers in warm blonde dreams! Last week’s three-hour tour with the extended version of The Fellowship of the Ring, a watery bloaty experience perked up occasionally when joyously impure thoughts about Liv Tyler sailed into harbor, didn’t bode well for The Two Towers. I loved Fellowship when it came out (not so the second time), and didn’t much care for this movie the first time through – frankly, who did? But I’m this kind of person: I generally finish books I don’t much like, I saw Alien3, you know. I’m a dope.

So it’s 11:00 a.m. and I don’t even bother trying for coffee this time around. Here I am, here we are, and if worst comes to worst, I figure, it’ll make a funny story for you Pepper People. The thing starts right on time, which is sort of unfair for a 222-minute flick at 11:00 a.m. when every other picture in town runs a 20-minute floor show for Coke, guns, tits and mayhem before the feature. I miss the first 30 seconds or so, and arrive in the recap as the Balrog faces off with Gandalf. Doom, doom, drums in the deep.

Fellowship was a terrific movie when it first came out, and stretching it by a pointless half hour made it damp and floppy. If it ain’t broke, fix it ’til it is. Towers, though, was a shallow skipping skim that raced to join its rivers in time for the closing credits. A picture, in other words, that might be wanting more of itself.

With its spine hewn back in, this movie is the best commercial film I have seen in years. Glorious in scope and thrilling with narrative that has become rushing and relentless instead of 2 fast and 2 furious, The Two Towers works on so many levels that I forgive it its small trespasses (can someone please explain why it was necessary for us to see Gandalf the White’s shoes, which look suspiciously like they came from Capezio? No, I didn’t think so).

This is the version you’ll find on DVD, and it’s the one you should watch. J.R.R. would be proud, after he finished yelling about the plot (elves at Helm’s Deep, hoom hoom, hmmph).

Lord of the Links: Nothing quite so fun as poking fun. Lords of the Rhymes do irreverent hobbit hip-hop, which fills a niche I guess; Molly J. Ringwraith wrote this brilliant Ten-Minute Two Towers script, which will make you howl if you’ve seen the film, and howl even more if you’ve read the book (if that link dies, it’s also available on the Live Journal site); and our blog buddy PZ Myers of Pharyngula posted a slightly-premature list of Things To Do While Watching Return of the King, via Father Dan and his friends from New Zealand, which should be kept in mind next week at the theatre. Especially these two favorite ones:

  • Finish off every one of Elrond’s lines with “Mr. Anderson.”
  • Stand up halfway through the movie and yell loudly, “Wait … where the hell is Harry Potter?”

About Linus

The man behind the curtain. But couldn't we get a nicer curtain?
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