"Who Dares Now to Stand Against the Union of the Two Towers?"
"The Two Towers" is a great action movie. You've got the battle of Helm's Deep, you've got the skirmish at Osgiliath, you've got the sacking of Isengard...in contrast to the "Fellowship", a lot of things are happening. But these big important things don't connect directly to the main plot, which is the journey to DESTROY the RING. The film suffers from splitting its time between Aragorn's quest with the Riders of Rohan, and Frodo and Sam's continuing march towards Mount Doom. The less that's said about Merry, Pippin and the Ents the better.
I still love "The Two Towers". Its only flaw is that it's not as good as the other two films. But Seb and I have seen this movie a lot, and after five beers each we were already paying less attention. So now I get to not only write about the films, I get to write about the GAME.
"The Beer-Can Towers": The Rules
1. Title drops: The full title, "The Two Towers" OR "The Lord of the Rings"
2. Drink when they drink.
3. Drink for Daddy Issues
4. Drink when Frodo and Sam say each other's names.
5. Drink when you see a marching army.
All the above rules apply. Also...
1. Drink when someone or something is called by a name that is NOT their given name or title. For the purposes of our game, the ring is called "The One Ring" or "The Ring of Power". The proper title for the Black Riders is "Nazgul". And hobbits are properly called "Hobbits".
Anything other than that gets a sip.
2. Drink when we cut from an important scene to something less important. I think we can all agree that nobody cares about the Entmoot.
All the above rules apply. Also...
1. Drink whenever someone puts on the ring, or is tempted by the ring's power.
In the books, Gollum is a fine character, but more obviously painted as a metaphor, a cautionary example of what will happen to Frodo if he fails. Much of Frodo and Sam's storyline in the text boils down to Frodo complaining that the journey is hard and Sam compelling him to carry on while Gollum plots silently in the corner. Jackson gives Gollum a well-defined arc, and Serkis gives Gollum a soul. Between the two of them, Gollum's story is elevated to the level of a Shakespearean tragedy.
The point is, we're still waiting for the Academy to admit they were wrong and give Andy Serkis his Oscar nomination. And then the Oscar.
And Here We Go
Cold be Heart and Hand and Bone
Cold be Travelers Far From Home
They Do Not See What Lies Ahead
When Sun Has Failed and Moon is Dead
Guess who has control over the Barrow-Wights? Tom Bombadil.
"Seb," I volunteered, "Gollum is secretly Tom Bombadil."
Six beers in.
When I was younger, you couldn't really call me a Legolas Fangirl, but I definitely thought that Orlando Bloom was one of the hotter guys in the cast. He's tall, he's a little fey, he's got that hair, it all comes together to make a very pretty man. Most of my friends growing up agreed. Except Seb, apparently.
Anyway, the Legolas-Gimli ship is a tale as old as time, but the Legolas-Aragorn pairing is both way hotter and makes more sense in the context of the story. Legolas is always the one to verbally defend Aragorn against criticism. Legolas is always running beside Aragorn when they're trudging through wilderness together (with Gimli bringing up the rear). They're both trackers and they're both kinda royalty so they have a lot in common.
And you know, Aragorn's lonely because he's been away from Arwen for so long, and under the moonlight Legolas looks a little bit like her, maybe. The Fellowship is broken, so it's just the three of them and Gimli is a sound sleeper. One night, he sleepily grabs hold of Legolas' hand and Legolas responds in kind, shifting his body ever so slightly to move closer to the man he's always admired, the man he...
I'll be right back, I have some fanfiction to write.
Something for the Little Girls
That is to say, there's a whole 'nother plotline going on in Middle Earth where Shadowfax is the main character and he's leading his people through their side of the war.
I would watch those movies. Seb even pointed out that all you needed to do was substitute the operative word in each film title with the word "horse". Just think, millions of people lining up to see "The Fellowship of the Horse." "The Two Horses." "The Return of the Horse."
Peter Jackson, just consider this for your next trilogy. You could make billions. BILLIONS.
A whole slew of characters get introduced in The Two Towers, but there are two that really stand out, at least in this film: King Theoden and Faramir.
Seb and I had never really paid much attention to Theoden's place in the story before, but for some reason we took a shine to the old man this time around. Theoden is the Lord of Rohan, sort of the Sparta to Gondor's Athens. It's a smaller, sturdier township than we've seen thus far, one with a half-way decent, if small, military. Theoden seems to have been raised as a Warlord in a time of peace and has never needed to put his skills to practice. What we see in The Two Towers is a man who is suddenly asked to prove himself worthy to lead his people and struggles with the fact that he might not know how.
The first time we see Theoden he looks like this.
On their way to Helm's Deep, Theoden and the people of Rohan are beset by Wargs. His subjects, few of which are trained warriors, scatter and Theoden tries in vain to get them to fight back, shouting for them to "stand in a column". They don't listen. Theoden never set himself up as a capable leader, his latest blunder has only made things worse, and now he has to rely on outsiders to save his kingdom for him.
And to top it all off, his son is dead. Theoden is the biggest sad sack of Middle Earth, disguised as a capable leader. You can't help but feel for the guy.
Oh Hey, Daddy Issues
Faramir's role in the films is once again, expanded, but his motivations are fuzzy unless you've seen the extended editions. Faramir is immediately presented as smarter, more thoughtful and more self-possessed than his brother, but their father prefers Boromir because A) He's the firstborn son and B) Faramir's screw-ups have been larger and had farther-reaching consequences. Boromir and Faramir never quite figured out that Denethor is a crazy person, so they do whatever he says and constantly strive to get his approval. Boromir is dead because he tried to make daddy proud, and Faramir blames himself for not trying harder to take his place on Elrond's Council.
Without all this information, Faramir just seems like an asshole. He captures Frodo and Sam and immediately falls under the ring's spell and hikes them back to Osgiliath, thereby setting back Frodo's quest by DAYS. In the end, he lets them go and continue on with their quest which means, yes, the whole plot point was completely POINTLESS.
"Do you wonder what these scenes would be like if they all had boners?"
"Well, now I do," Seb replied.
Once you have a thought like that, you can't really turn it off. Instances of "bonerface" happen far too often in these films. Even with the women. They all have giant boners, no getting around it. At least until the booze wears off.
Oh yeah, Eowyn also gets introduced in this movie. But we're not going to talk about her yet, because she still doesn't do anything. Except get distracted by Aragorn's dick.
To Be Continued
Remember the year that Lord of the Rings: Return of the King won all of the awards? That amazing Oscar night? People say that those wins symbolized the entire trilogy winning, but I don't think that's true. "The Fellowship" is a great beginning but thematically it feels scattered. "The Two Towers" is a great middle, but it doesn't stand on its own.
"Return of the King", however, is a damn good film. One that I'd like to think you could watch by itself and still feel everything it wants you to feel. Next time, we're examining the trilogy ender, and the end of our drinking game.