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moquist

The Two Towers - Extended Edition (split from ROTK)

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The extended Two Towers is wonderful. I'm sure its faults will become apparent to me with time, but for now I am quite pleased.

Several plot changes and logistics are better explained and more dramatically important, interesting, and consistent.

SPOILERS

There are a handful of great little details from the books, such as the drinking of the Ent draughts, and the finding of Saruman's storeroom with the pipe-weed. Ah - delicious little scenes.

And - and - AND - the Huorns at Helm's Deep! Magnificent! This was the scene which I most missed in the theatrical release, and while I could imagine something a little more amazing, I'm willing to be content with what the extended version offers. I'm sure I looked like the biggest idiot, sitting there with a huge grin, while I watched that scene.

One continuing disappointment - the films never refer to the box of enchanted soil that Galadriel gives to Sam. There is a moment in the extended TT when I thought we were going to find out about it - but I was disappointed. Then again, if the films (even the extended ROTK??!?) are leaving out the scouring and replanting of the Shire, then Sam's box of dirt wouldn't serve much purpose to the story. I would that they were both included...but I guess the filmmakers have to do what they can with the time that is given to them.

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So, who else has found Gollum's profanity-laden MTV Awards acceptance speech? It's an easter egg on the first disc -- go to chapter search, click down to chapter 30, then click down again, and a ring will appear next to the words "new scene". First Jack Black, now this. Oy!

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It's an easter egg on the first disc -- go to chapter search, click down to chapter 30, then click down again, and a ring will appear next to the words "new scene".

Not very tricksy, are they? I thought about trying this, but assumed they wouldn't use the same hiding place a second time.

Also, I'd noticed the contrast between Saruman's (and Sauron's) unhindered Industrialism and the naturalism of the good guys, but I'd never before followed that thought all the way through to the fact that Isengard is destroyed almost entirely by natural forces. The Ents overrun and demolish it, and the un-dammed river floods it. Finally, the Huorns crush what's left of Saruman's army at the Battle of Helm's Deep.

Also, I have a hypothesis about the addition of Aragorn's fall into the river. Maybe everybody else already figured this out, but I think this change in the plot is designed to link Aragorn to Gandalf, who also "fell" and "returned". The comments characters make about them while they're gone are very similar; in both cases they just say "he fell", and other characters act like that means he's dead. (book-related-general-SPOILER...) So I explained this to my wife, and she said "like Frodo at the beginning of ROTK?"

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Also, I have a hypothesis about the addition of Aragorn's fall into the river. Maybe everybody else already figured this out, but I think this change in the plot is designed to link Aragorn to Gandalf, who also "fell" and "returned".

Nah. Aragorn fell so that he could return to Helms Deep and the girls would swoon when he pushes open the big doors with all his sexy hair hanging in his manly face.

-s.

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Saw it last night. LOVED IT. Treebeard's story is much improved. So is Faramir's, even if it does continue to stray from the book. Surprised at how much more Gollum-stuff we get.

Best of all, though, are the additional lines given to Gandalf upon his reunion with the three hunters. Some of my favorite lines in the book are restored to the film there.

Oh oh oh!!! The burial of Theodred is a beautiful addition as well. I hadn't expected the sequence to be so enhanced. It's one of the emotional highs of the film.

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Andrew wrote:

: Is there a ROTK trailer easter egg on this one?

I doubt it. The TTT trailer on the FotR disc was originally tacked onto the end of FotR during its theatrical run sometime around Oscar season, and I don't believe a similar trailer for RoTK was ever tacked onto the end of TTT.

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stef wrote:

Also, I have a hypothesis about the addition of Aragorn's fall into the river. Maybe everybody else already figured this out, but I think this change in the plot is designed to link Aragorn to Gandalf, who also "fell" and "returned".

Nah. Aragorn fell so that he could return to Helms Deep and the girls would swoon when he pushes open the big doors with all his sexy hair hanging in his manly face.

No, Matt is obviously right. It gives Aragorn a death-and-resurrection storyline paralleling those of Gandalf and Frodo (I mean, more so than the one he already had, namely daring the Paths of the Dead.)

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Oh oh oh!!! The burial of Theodred is a beautiful addition as well. I hadn't expected the sequence to be so enhanced. It's one of the emotional highs of the film.

Yes - and the fact that we now know it is Theodred's horse that "rescues" Aragorn

1) makes more sense than that some random horse just happened to find and nuzzle Aragorn (who apparently thought the horse was Liv Tyler biggrin.gif) and

2) provides important and meaningful ties to the rest of the story, in that Aragorn, the up-and-coming king, is rescued by a prince's horse.

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AlanW wrote:

: I was stunned that they decided to put the previous MTV bit (with Jack Black)

: on the movie discs for FOTR rather than the bonus discs. That requires

: parents to control the movie discs rather than just reserving the bonus discs.

Well, true, but then, are these discs supposed to be for children in the first place? Remember the rumour that the extended cut of FotR might be rated R because of the increased violence?

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My rambling thoughts on the extended Two Towers (hey, I'm no critic and don't claim to be, but here goes):

SPOILERS

Of course, I loved it. I didn't have major problems with the theatrical release, so this one's like icing on the cake (with just a few exceptions

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I applaud all of you who love these books and films to the point where you can actually keep straight the names of the different characters. smile.gif I'm still learning.

Anyway, I'm just now getting around to watching the extended "Fellowship" DVD that I received last Christmas. "TTT" is on this year's Christmas list, but I need to have something clarified.

Last year's extended "Fellowship" included a pass to see "TTT." I used the pass on Dec. 31, the day before it expired. I had planned to hold off on seeing "ROTK" until after receiving the "TTT" extended-edition DVD, but looking over the packaging yesterday at Borders, I see no mention of a movie pass for "ROTK."

If there's no "ROTK" pass in the extended "TTT," that frees me to go see the third film in the series closer to its release date (Dec. 18, right? I haven't been keeping track. That's just a week's difference, but I'd like to see the film before the inevitable spoilers leak out). Can somebody please confirm that there is no pass in the extended "TTT" set? Thanks. And if you've heard WHY there's no pass, do tell. I can't imagine the passes to see the theatrical "TTT" harmed the film at the box office. What'd it make -- like, $335 million?

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Christian, there was no pass in mine. There was a mail-in rebate for $5 for people who bought both the theatrical and the extended versions of TTT. *sigh* As far as I know, they are not including the movie pass. Has anyone heard anything different?

Diane

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DRose wrote:

: So sad that the RotK trailer wasn't on there.

I can't say I'm saddened by this -- the TTT trailer was never put onto the extended FotR, so why would the RotK trailer be put on the extended TTT? (Ordinarily, trailers go on the discs for the films in question; the TTT preview that appeared as an easter egg on the extended FotR was put there only because it had been tacked onto the end of FotR near the end of its theatrical run, and was thus a legitimate FotR 'extra', just like the MTV Awards sequence which made use of footage from FotR.)

: Sad also that the MTV bit is on there. I found it easily enough but haven't

: watched it yet. Not sure I even want to.

As a collector, I have to say I'm glad it's on the disc SOMEwhere. I just think it might have been better to put it on one of the appendices discs. (BTW, while we're getting all concerned about exposing these films to kids, what do people make of the appendices? There's one bit where the Uruk-Hai stuntmen talk about how the guys on set were egging them on by calling them "pussies", and Elijah Wood introduces the fourth disc by saying, "Doesn't this kick ass?" The f-words are bleeped at least, though. Hmmm. Was the MTV Awards bit bleeped when it was first broadcast, or did they bleep it just for the DVD?)

: The documentary on Tolkien, including bits about his friendship with

: Lewis, was quite nice.

It was, though if I recall correctly, they mentioned that Lewis was an atheist (when he first met Tolkien) but never explicitly mentioned that he became a Christian (and precisely because of his relationship with Tolkien!).

: There was a mail-in rebate for $5 for people who bought both the

: theatrical and the extended versions of TTT.

Not in the Canadian edition, though.

BTW, what do people make of Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens' defense of their changes to Faramir? It sounds like they're a bit defensive, when they talk about it on the third disc, and David Wenham also says he had reservations about what they had done to the character.

Basically, their defense boils down like this:

First, the Shelob sequence had to go. To cross-cut between the battles against Saruamn's forces (at Helm's Deep and Isengard) and the spider sequence would have made no dramatic cinematic sense; what's more, apparently Tolkien says in the book's Shelob sequence that Frodo and Sam could see Minas Tirith under siege, which doesn't happen until the THIRD film, so you could argue that it makes more sense, in terms of Tolkien's own timeline, to move the Shelob sequence to the next film.

Second, once the Shelob sequence was postponed, the Frodo/Sam/Gollum story needed something dramatic, otherwise it would just get lost while we followed all the various wars that Aragorn and the Ents were involved in.

Third, and perhaps most contentiously, Philippa Boyens argues that, if Faramir had NOT been tempted by the Ring, then the film would have robbed the Ring of its power -- such a big, big deal has been made of the Ring for, like, six hours of movie time, and now suddenly the audience is going to accept that a guy can just brush it aside like that?

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No, Matt is obviously right. It gives Aragorn a death-and-resurrection storyline paralleling those of Gandalf and Frodo (I mean, more so than the one he already had, namely daring the Paths of the Dead.)

Well, somebody better tell all the little teenage girls in my youth group, because i clearly remember their reaction to that scene in the theater last year:

(GASP!)

(OH!!)

(sigh.)

-s.

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DRose wrote:

: The documentary on Tolkien, including bits about his friendship with

: Lewis, was quite nice.

It was, though if I recall correctly, they mentioned that Lewis was an atheist (when he first met Tolkien) but never explicitly mentioned that he became a Christian (and precisely because of his relationship with Tolkien!).

I noticed this and started to mention it here. Yeah, I think all they state is something along the lines of Lewis and Tolkien sharing a similar spiritual belief. Guess they figure Lewis' Christianity is common knowledge, but it certainly would have been nice if they had given more of the conversion story.

BTW, what do people make of Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens' defense of their changes to Faramir?  It sounds like they're a bit defensive, when they talk about it on the third disc, and David Wenham also says he had reservations about what they had done to the character.

Haven't watched enough of the third and fourth discs to say, and I've only seen bits and pieces of the commentaries. I recall comments from someone (cast member? writer?) about how it really makes his story more powerful, and his personal journey greater, if he is first tempted, then overcomes the temptation. In the cast commentary, David Wenham, speaking about (tiny SPOILER) the extended scene where Faramir stands by while his men beat Gollum, says that he's glad Faramir didn't take part in the beating because "then the purists would have really been up in arms."

Third, and perhaps most contentiously, Philippa Boyens argues that, if Faramir had NOT been tempted by the Ring, then the film would have robbed the Ring of its power -- such a big, big deal has been made of the Ring for, like, six hours of movie time, and now suddenly the audience is going to accept that a guy can just brush it aside like that?

Then how are readers supposed to accept that in Tolkien's book?

Peter, I wasn't around the boards when the theatrical version first appeared last year. You were displeased with it, weren't you? How do you think the extended version measures up?

Diane

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DRose wrote:

: Haven't watched enough of the third and fourth discs to say, and I've

: only seen bits and pieces of the commentaries.

FWIW, I won't be watching the extended cut, with or without commentaries, until tomorrow night. But I've seen all of disc three and have just begun to watch disc four.

: Then how are readers supposed to accept that in Tolkien's book?

I dunno, it might be one of those things that they figure is easier to accept on the page than on screen -- literature and drama having different conventions, etc.

: Peter, I wasn't around the boards when the theatrical version first

: appeared last year. You were displeased with it, weren't you?

I liked it, but not as much as Fellowship.

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The ring of the book and the ring of the films are different in very subtle ways. The ring of the films is an all powerful temptation. It is an almost undeniable temptation. The ring of the book is a little more subtle than that. For instance, Gandalf holds the ring early on in the story. That is something that could never have happened in the films. Frodo uses the ring more often in the book, where as in the film, he is warned that using it is almost sure suicide and the end of the quest. I believe the filmmakers set up the ring in a very black and white way to add tension to the story. That is why Faramir cannot simply walk away without being severely tempted.

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Scott, your comments make sense. That is why I always cringe a little during that scene in TTT where Sam tells Frodo, "Use the Ring just this once..." Huh? After stopping Frodo from putting it on so many times?

RotK SPOILER

Sam might do this in the book (indeed, he himself uses it when he needs to), but Sam in the movie shouldn't, not after it's always been presented as such a danger. Of course, if the third film follows the book, Sam will put it on and use it. There's a correlation between an individual's power and the effect the Ring will have on him, so Sam can manage to overcome it. Those familiar with the novels should get this, but what about those who have only seen the films? I wonder how that scene will play.

Diane

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No, Faramir is not \"fixed,\" but he truly has my sympathy now. I was struck by his lines after killing the Haradrim; they seem to fly in the face of the infamous \"us vs. them\" or \"send them to an early grave\" remarks. The new scene showing Faramir's family (Boromir! Yay!) was wonderful. John Noble makes quite a Denethor. Can't wait to see more of him. And, wow, doesn't the resemblance between Sean Bean and David Wenham border on scary?

Yes, yes, yes... These were some of my fave scenes in the EE. That scene with the Haradrim really jumped out at me. As much as I love the obvious "good vs. evil" elements of the film (in that, for the most part, we know who is good and who is evil), Faramir's doubt and regret adds a dose of realism.

BTW, what did you all think of the featurette about adapting "The Two Towers"? There's a fairly large portion devoted to the changes made to Faramir's character.

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Scott, you make great points. I am reminded that, in the book version of FotR, Frodo actually wears the Ring while getting in the boat to escape Boromir, whereas of course, in the film, he doesn't. It has been a couple decades since I last read the books, so I cannot recall how often he wears the Ring apart from that, but you're right, the filmmakers have made the Ring more powerful and the wearing of it more dangerous than it was, apparently, in the books. So the changes to Faramir make some sense, in that light.

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Here's a problem.

In "Fellowship" (the movie), Boromir seems to have come to Rivendell to ask for help. He seems surprised and moved by the announcement about the Ring.

But now, in TT:EE, we are told that he specifically went to Rivendell to get the ring and take it back to Denethor.

This seems like a blatant inter-film contradiction.

I am highly disappointed by the introduction of Denethor. He's a flat, two-dimensional bad guy, brutish and annoying.

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