The Riddle of the Raving Geeks

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

I just don’t get how normal, smart adults get turned into raving geeks by Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the second part of which was just released (for the first and not the last time) on DVD.

I liked The Fellowship of the Ring just fine, but The Two Towers pissed me off. The rest of the world adored it, even movie critics.

Personally, I’m frustrated with the Peter Jackson Bladder-Control Contest. The Two Towers has no beginning (unless you count The Fellowship of the Ring) and puts us no closer to resolution than we were at the end of the first movie. This is laziness gussied up as being true to the source material, and I can’t help but think that people are simply bowled over by the audacity of a person essentially making a nine- (or 10- or 11-) hour movie.

Beyond that, there’s very little character development (and I don’t care any more about the protagonists than I do the Orcs), the dialogue is generally flat, the performances are strained, and many of the effects (particularly involving the trees) show their seams. Yeah, it’s great to look at and I was never bored, but ... I just don’t see what the big deal is. If it weren’t for Gollum, I would have been bored.

I’m willing to give The Lord of the Rings a fair shot, but I’m reserving final judgment until after I see The Return of the King. In my mind, I’ve watched two-thirds of a single, very long film. I will say that the conclusion has a long way to go to redeem the time I’ve invested so far.

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