The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers


2h 59m 2002
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Brief Synopsis

As Frodo and Sam infiltrate Mordor, their allies try to protect Rohan from the evil Sauron.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Action
Adventure
Fantasy
Adaptation
Sequel
Release Date
Dec 18, 2002
Premiere Information
World premiere in New York: 5 Dec 2002
Production Company
New Line Cinema; Wingnut Films
Distribution Company
New Line Cinema
Country
New Zealand and United States
Location
New Zealand; Tongariro, New Zealand; Queenstown, New Zealand; Wellington, New Zealand; Wellington, New Zealand; Te Anau, South Island, New Zealand; Wellington, North Island, New Zealand; Wellington--Camperdown Studios, North Island, New Zealand; South Island, New Zealand
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Two Towers: Being the Second Part of "The Lord of the Rings" by J. R. R. Tolkien (London, 1954).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 59m

Synopsis

In the mythical world of Middle-earth, many thousands of years ago, the seven remaining members of the Fellowship of the Ring have been forced to separate after the fall of the wizard, Gandalf the Grey, into the pit at Khazad-dum. Hobbits Merry and Pippin have been captured by the enemy Urak-Hai, and the Elf Legolas, the Dwarf Gimli and their noble-born Human leader Aragorn have vowed to rescue them. Threatening Middle-earth is the mounting danger of the disembodied Sauron, who, from his dark tower of Barad-dur in the land of Mordor, maintains control through his puppet, the corrupted wizard Saruman of Isengard, who resides in his own tower, Orthanc. The task of destroying the master ring of power forged by the evil lord Sauron has fallen to the Hobbit Frodo and his loyal friend Sam. Frodo and Sam must cast the ring into the fires of Mordor's Mount Doom before Sauron can use its power to take over the world. However, the Hobbits are lost in the hills and the ring's dark magic is wearing Frodo down, physically and mentally. Increasingly, Frodo relies on Sam's buoyant spirit, although Sam sometimes doubts if they should attempt the dangerous task. When they discover Gollum, a previous owner of the ring who lost it to Frodo's uncle, skulking nearby, Frodo feels pity, knowing that prolonged contact with the ring deformed the creature's mind and body. Despite Sam's suspicions about Gollum, who insanely refers to the ring as "my precious," Frodo asks Gollum to guide them to Mordor. Meanwhile, Pippin and Merry are being carried by Urak-Hais, the creatures bred for war from Goblins and the ancient war-mongering Orcs at Saruman's foundry, toward Isengard, where Saruman is forming a great army and communicates with Sauron via a seeing stone. Of strategic significance to Sauron's plans is the kingdom of Rohan, where Saruman has already planted his spy, Grima Wormtongue, as King Theoden's advisor. Saruman has cast a spell aging the king's body and destroying his mind, so that the king shows no comprehension when his niece Eowyn tells him that Theodred, his only son and heir, lies dying after battling with Orcs. When Wormtongue denies that the Orcs are enemies and banishes Eowyn's brother Eomer as a traitor, Eomer leaves with 2,000 men loyal to the king. In the countryside, they fight the many bands of Saruman's amassing army who are wreaking havoc in the kingdom. One night Eomer's men defeat the Uraks and Orcs holding Pippin and Merry. The next day Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas cross paths with the victorious Humans, and by inspecting the battle scene, conclude that the Hobbits escaped into the Fanghorn Forest of talking trees. Inside the forest, still pursued by a lone Orc intent on eating them, Pippin and Merry are saved by Treebeard, a creature belonging to the race of tree shepherds known as Ents. While searching for Pippin and Merry in the forest, Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas encounter a white wizard who they fear is Saruman. Instead, they learn that he is Gandalf, who, after falling through fire and water into darkness and timelessness, has been reborn as Gandalf the White. After explaining that he has been returned to Middle-earth to finish a task, Gandalf summons his horse Shadowfax and leads his companions to Rohan. Inside Theoden's Golden Hall, Gandalf breaks the spell over Theoden, after which the king banishes Wormtongue. While grieving for his dead son, Theoden is alerted of Saruman's approaching army by two children sent by a fallen village. The king, unwilling to engage in open warfare, orders his people to their fortress at Helm's Deep, confident that the structure will protect them. Gandalf, who has misgivings about the fortress, convinces Aragorn to stay with the king, but before leaving, tells Aragorn to look to the east at dawn on the fifth day. To reach Mordor, Gollum takes Frodo and Sam through the Dead Marshes, where the weakened, mentally imbalanced Frodo falls in with the trapped souls. After being pulled out by Gollum, Frodo is nearly discovered by a ringwraith sent by Saruman. As they near Mordor's gates, Sam and Frodo prepare to risk sneaking in behind an entering army. Gollum, afraid of losing his "precious" to Sauron, convinces them that he knows a secret way into Mordor. Sam still distrusts Gollum, but Frodo, who has realized that Gollum was once a being known as Smeagol who lived near his home, tells Sam that he wants to help him. Gollum, torn between loyalty to Frodo and his dark side that developed from exposure to the ring, battles with himself, but finally concludes that Frodo will take care of him. The next day, Sam and Frodo are captured by Humans from Gondor led by Faramir, the brother of former Fellowship member Boromir, who suspects they are spies. When Gollum is later found and threatened with death, Frodo, hoping to save him, admits that Gollum is his guide and lures the trusting creature to safety. After the guards capture the frightened Gollum, he thinks that Frodo betrayed him. Watching the disturbed Gollum argue with himself, Faramir learns about the ring Frodo bears and its power, and decides to take them back to Gondor. Although Sam suggests that Frodo escape by slipping on the ring, which will make him invisible, Frodo fears that Sauron, who can only sense him when he wears the ring, will find him. While preparing for the journey to Helm's Deep, Aragorn becomes intrigued by the skilled swordsmanship of the noble Eowyn, but remains haunted by thoughts of Arwen, the Elf woman whom he loves. When Eowyn, who becomes increasingly attracted to Aragorn during the journey, asks him about the jewel he wears around his neck, he explains that it was given to him by Arwen, who he believes has left Middle-earth with her kinfolk for the "undying lands" in the West. Lapsing into a reverie, he recalls to himself how Arwen's father Elrond told him that the time of the Elves in Middle-earth was over and that Arwen must leave with her people. Following Wormtongue's advice, Saruman sends Orcs riding vicious wolfbeasts called Wargs to attack Aragorn and his fellow travelers. Eowyn leads the women and children to Helm's Deep on another path, while the men stay behind to fight. Although the king's men are victorious, they suffer many casualties. Aragorn, who is dragged over a cliff into the churning waters of a river, is believed dead, but, unconscious and dreaming of Arwen, he floats to shore downriver and later reunites with the others at Helm's Deep. In the Elf kingdom, all are preparing to leave, except Arwen, who considers abandoning immortality and family to remain behind for Aragorn's return. By showing Arwen that by being immortal, she will eventually lose Aragorn, Elrond convinces her to join the Elves' procession to the boats that will take them on their journey. Galadriel, the oldest of all the elves, is aware that Saruman has amassed an army of 10,000 to conquer Helm's Deep and suggests to Elrond that they not abandon Middle-earth to Sauron's dominion. At Helm's Deep, shortly after Theoden, whose 300 men are mostly too young or too old for battle, confides to Aragorn that he feels alone and without alliances, an army of 200 Elf archers arrives to assist them. Meanwhile, Treebeard tells Pippin and Merry that the Ents have no interest in the affairs of men and wizards, but then, after finding more trees destroyed, calls a "gathering" of Ents to discuss whether to go to war. It is raining when Saruman's forces reach the base of Helm's Deep and the battle begins. Many of the enemy soldiers are killed by Elf arrows, but more scale the walls using ladders, and swords are drawn. At the same time, the Ents, who talk slowly, decide not to go to war. Treebeard offers to carry Merry and Pippin to the forest border nearest their Shire, but they ask instead to be taken toward Isengard where they hope to slip past the defenses, believing that the closer they are to danger, the farther they are from harm. Accepting their logic, Treebeard changes directions and upon seeing the destroyed trees near the Isengard border, calls out to the Ents, who gather from all over. Inside Helm's Deep, after being forced to retreat to the fortress' keep, Theoden feels defeated, until Aragorn suggests that they ride out to fight their enemy hand-to-hand. Defeat seems imminent until Aragorn recalls Gandalf's words and looks to the east, where Gandalf and the 2,000 banished men of Rohan arrive to surprise the enemy from behind. As the defenders of Helm's Deep win the battle, angry Ents at Isengard destroy Saruman's foundry and break down a dam, flooding the plains around the tower. In Gondor, Faramir is still planning to take the ring from Frodo, although Sam warns him that Boromir died trying. A ringwraith appears, to whom the weakened Frodo almost gives up the ring, but an arrow shot by Faramir sends it away. Although he is now safe, Frodo, still bewitched, turns on Sam and almost kills him. When his reason is restored, Frodo doubts that he has the strength to complete his mission. Inspired by the "great stories," Sam says that all heroes doubt themselves, but they hold on, knowing that the good in the world is worth fighting for. Sam's words are heeded by Faramir, who decides to release them. At Helm's Deep, surveying the aftermath of battle, Gandalf predicts war for Middle-earth. Meanwhile, Frodo, Sam and Gollum have resumed their journey. Sam predicts that Frodo's efforts will be put into songs and tales, and suggests that Frodo might become the most "famousist of hobbits." Amused, Frodo says that "Samwise the Brave" is important to that story. Still feeling betrayed, Gollum mutters mysteriously to himself that "she" will make sure the Hobbits are dead, and then he can have his "precious" again. In a saccharine-sweet voice, Gollum calls out to the Hobbits to follow him and they continue on to Mordor and the fires of Mount Doom.

Crew

Tim Abbot

Props maker

Gudrun Abbott

Armour weapons/standby, Weta Workshop

Jane Abbott

Riding double

Janine Abery

Assistant to Barrie M. Osborne

Michael Abott

Armour weapons/standby, Weta Workshop

Dan Abrams

TD, Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc.

Gino Acevedo

Prosthetics Supervisor, Weta Workshop

Holly Acton

Compositor, Weta Digital

Cathy Adams

Human resources Assistant, Weta Digital

Karen Adcock

Prosthetics makeup, Weta Workshop

Richard Addison-wood

Software dev Supervisor, Weta Digital

Narelle Ahrens

Foley artist

Daniel Aird

Sculptor

Malcolm Aitchison

Tech support, Weta Digital

Jonathon Aitken

Unit

Matt Aitken

Digital models Supervisor, Weta Digital

Robin Akin

Motion Editor, Weta Digital

Stephen Allanson

Clapper loader, Miniatures unit

Jacqui Allen

Assistant art Director

Ruben Allen

Prod Assistant/Runner

Judy Alley

Set Dresser

Tristan 'stan' Alley

Standby Assistant

Greg Allison

Armour weapons/standby, Weta Workshop

Jon Allitt

Massive crowd Supervisor, Weta Digital

Colin Alway

2D seq lead, Weta Digital

Svend Andersen

System coder, Weta Digital

Bob Anderson

Swordmaster

Dave Anderson

Lighting tech

Erica Anderson

Armour weapons/standby, Weta Workshop

Grant Anderson

TD, Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc.

Lauren Anderson

Prod Assistant/Runner

Catherine Anderton

Wardrobe on-set

Malcolm Angell

Camera TD/On-set tech, Weta Digital

Karl Anton

Carpenter

Matt Appleton

Armour weapons/standby, Weta Workshop

Elisabeth Arko

Anim, Weta Digital

Kayne Asher

Grip

Kyle Ashley

3D Previz artist, Weta Workshop

Marc Ashton

2d Assistant Director

Mia Askew

Prod runner, Weta Digital

Mike Asquith

Designer/sculptor, Weta Workshop

Rebecca Asquith

Miniature builder, Weta Workshop

Margaret Aston

Makeup & hair

Andrew Ayrton

Lighting tech

Elena Azuola

Financial controller

Rick Baer

Accountant

Andrew Baguley

Sculptor

Julian Baier

Lighting storeman

Alan Baird-smith

Gene op

Martine Bairstow

Wardrobe manufacturing

Michael Baker

Hammerhand

Sala Baker

Stunt performer

Felix Balbas

Creature facial lead, Weta Digital

Ollivier Ballister

Lighting tech

Richard Baneham

Anim Supervisor, Weta Digital

Jay Banks

Match mover, Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc.

Brian Bansgrove

Supervisor chief lighting tech

Jeff Barber

Stunt performer

Keith Barclay

Armour weapons/standby, Weta Workshop

Richard Barker

1st Assistant Director, 2d unit

Joe Barltrop

Lighting tech

Ann Barnard

Music prep

James Barr

Lighting tech, Miniatures unit

Jeremy Barr

Armour weapons/standby, Weta Workshop

Gordon Barrell

Mechanist/eng, Weta Workshop

Daniel W. Barringer

Assistant stunt Coordinator

Dave Barson

Armour weapons/standby, Weta Workshop

Bruce Bartley

Driver

John Baster

Miniature builder, Weta Workshop

Mike Hg Bates

Creatures/prosthetics, Weta Workshop

Trevor Bau

Stunt performer

Peter Baustaedter

Texture painter, Weta Digital

Steve Bayliss

Production accountant, Weta Digital

Len Baynes

Riding double

Isabel Bayrakdarian

Featured soloist

Clare Beaton

Armour weapons/standby, Weta Workshop

Warren Beaton

Mechanist/eng, Weta Workshop

Andrew Beattie

Prosthetics makeup, Weta Workshop

Brett Beattie

Stunt performer

Kelly Bechtle-woods

3D TD/Lighter, Weta Digital

Ferenc Bechtold

Programmer

Cory Bedwell

3D seq lead TD, Weta Digital

Darren Bedwell

Texture painter, Weta Digital

Ben Beemsterboer

Props maker

Ray Beentjes

Dial Editor

Niccola Sanderson Belcher

Prod Coordinator

Paula Bell

Paint & roto artist, Weta Digital

James Bellamy

Addl Music team

Stephen Belsten

Sculptor

Laurent Ben-mimoun

Matte painter, Weta Digital

Kyla Bendall

Digital modeller, Weta Digital

Emma Bendell

Accountant

Gary Bennett

Paint FX, Weta Workshop

Jeremy Bennett

Visual Effects art Director, Weta Workshop

Jarl Benzon

Double & stand-in

Jill Berger

3D TD/Lighter, Weta Digital

Patrick Bergeron

2D seq lead, Weta Digital

Tama Berkeljon

Mechanist/eng, Weta Workshop

Jim Berney

VFX Supervisor, Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc.

Jamie Beswarick

Designer/sculptor, Weta Workshop

Hannah Bianchini

Prod Manager, Weta Workshop

George Binnersley

Focus puller

Megan Bint

Hair, Weta Workshop

Liza Bishop

Wardrobe on-set

Andrew Black

Optometrist

Kelly Black

Riding double

Freya Blackwood

Creatures/prosthetics, Weta Workshop

'peter' Joe Bleakley

Art Director

Brett Blenkin

Const foreman

Jan Blenkin

Assistant to Peter Jackson & Fran Walsh

Jessica Bluck

Lighting trainee

Nigel Bluck

Director of Photographer, 2d unit

Richard Bluck

Director of Photographer, 2d unit

Morgan Boehringer

Armour weapons/standby, Weta Workshop

Alun Bollinger

Director of Photographer, 2d unit

Shaun Bolton

Designer/sculptor, Weta Workshop

Michael Bonnar

Rock & foam

Brad Booker

Senior anim, Weta Digital

Dave Booth

Physical Effects tech

Melissa Booth

Assistant Publicist

Nick Booth

Scan & record Supervisor, Weta Digital

Tim Borrell

Unit

Anna Bosley

Wardrobe on-set

Jacob Botting

Prod runner, Weta Digital

Bridget Bourke

Prod Manager, 2d unit

Lesley Bourkes-harding

Armour weapons/standby, Weta Workshop

Naomi Bowden

Prod seq Coordinator, Weta Digital

Jonathan Bowen

Senior compositor, Weta Digital

Lucy Bowey

Video Assistant

Chantelle Bowkett

Wardrobe on-set

Philippa Boyens

Screenwriter

Christopher Boyes

Re-rec mixer

Andy Bradfield

Addl Music team

Kevin Bradshaw

Props maker

Lee Bramwell

Senior Camera TD, Weta Digital

Matt Brebner

Armour weapons/standby, Weta Workshop

Harald Brendel

Imaging technology Supervisor

Kristie Breslin

Prod Coordinator

Jacob Bridge

Lighting tech

John Brien

Carpenter

Simon Bright

Standby props

Ben Britton

System coder, Weta Digital

Carola Brockoff

Creatures/prosthetics, Weta Workshop

Loren Brookes

Render wrangler, Weta Digital

Mark Brooks

Music prep

Jed Brophy

Riding double

Paul Broucek

Executive in charge of Music

Jonathon Brough

Paint FX, Weta Workshop

Angela Brown

Armour weapons/standby, Weta Workshop

David Brown

Chief lighting tech

Duncan Brown

Armour weapons/standby, Weta Workshop

Hamish Brown

Armour weapons/standby, Weta Workshop

Rob Brown

Props maker

Sam Brown

Hammerhand

Samantha Brown

Wardrobe manufacturing

Jason Browning

Carpenter

Max Bruce

TD, Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc.

Jim Bruening

Eventone Editorial, Tuxedo, NY

David Brunette

Senior paint & roto artist, Weta Digital

Craig Bryant

Rigging

Julian Bryant

2D seq lead, Weta Digital

Michele Bryant

Armour weapons/standby, Weta Workshop

Tanya Buchanan

Assistant to Barrie M. Osborne

Bob Buck

Extras Coordinator

Andy Buckley R.n.

Safety/Medic

Stephen A. Buckley

Senior anim, Weta Digital

Sam Bui

Digital modeller, Weta Digital

Jonny Bundellu

Video Assistant

Delphine Buratti

Motion Editor, Weta Digital

Lyndon Burford

Armour weapons/standby, Weta Workshop

Brent Burge

Sound Effects Editor

Chris Burn

Compositor, Weta Digital

Rob Burns

Creatures/prosthetics, Weta Workshop

Jacq Burrell

Prod Assistant, Weta Workshop

Victoria Burrows

U.S. casting

Elaine Burt

Prod Coordinator

Nigel Burton

Clapper loader, Miniatures unit

Greg Butler

3D seq lead TD, Weta Digital

Hans Butler

Paint & roto artist, Weta Digital

Julian Butler

Creature TD, Weta Digital

Ross Butler

Rigging

Steve Butler

Safety/Medic

Pete Butters

Props maker

Anton Buys

Leading hand

Tom Caddy

Wardrobe manufacturing

Andrew Calder

Senior anim, Weta Digital

John Caldwell

Armour weapons/standby, Weta Workshop

Laura Callaghan

Prod runner, Weta Digital

Sonia Calvert

Senior compositor, Weta Digital

Andrew Camenisch

Digital modeller, Weta Digital

Brian Campbell

Painter

Grady Campbell

TD, Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc.

Guy Campbell

Key 2d Assistant Director

Marie Campbell

Paint & roto artist, Weta Digital

Paul Campion

Texture painter, Weta Digital

Kiki Candela

3D Lead TD, Weta Digital

Jason Canovas

Dial Editor

Philip Capil

Set prod Assistant/Runner

Alice Capper-starr

Coordinator

Dave Cardwell

Digital modeller, Weta Digital

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Action
Adventure
Fantasy
Adaptation
Sequel
Release Date
Dec 18, 2002
Premiere Information
World premiere in New York: 5 Dec 2002
Production Company
New Line Cinema; Wingnut Films
Distribution Company
New Line Cinema
Country
New Zealand and United States
Location
New Zealand; Tongariro, New Zealand; Queenstown, New Zealand; Wellington, New Zealand; Wellington, New Zealand; Te Anau, South Island, New Zealand; Wellington, North Island, New Zealand; Wellington--Camperdown Studios, North Island, New Zealand; South Island, New Zealand
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Two Towers: Being the Second Part of "The Lord of the Rings" by J. R. R. Tolkien (London, 1954).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 59m

Award Wins

Best Sound Editing

2002

Best Visual Effects

2002

Best Visual Effects

2003
Randall William Cook

Best Visual Effects

2003
Joe Letteri

Best Visual Effects

2003
Jim Rygiel

Best Visual Effects

2003
Alex Funke

Award Nominations

Set Decoration

2002

Best Editing

2002

Best Picture

2002

Best Sound

2002

Articles

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers


Part one of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Rings, was released worldwide in time for the 2001 Christmas holidays, barely three months after the terrorist attacks of 9-11 and the subsequent uptake in global fear and paranoia. Though Jackson's expansive and expensive adaptation - filmed in one fell swoop in the filmmaker's native New Zealand between October 1999 and October 2000 (with pick-up footage added over the course of the next two years) -- would likely have been a hit in its own right, moviegoers throughout the western world were able in one sitting to lose themselves in an extravaganza of epic high fantasy while channeling their anger and fears into a compelling, vengeance-fueled adventure pitting absolute good against unalloyed evil. The Fellowship of the Ring was an instant hit, grossing better than $300 million in the United States and nearly $900 million worldwide. Rather than success driving the franchise, the parceling out of parts two and three came down to clockwork. With the first installment remaining in movie theaters for eight solid months, Jackson, his producers, and New Line Cinema had the benefit of nearly a year of post-production time before offering up the second. The Two Towers, had its premiere early in December 2002. (To speed post-production, Jackson hired different editors for each film; while John Gilbert had cut Fellowship, Jackson relied on Mike Horton for The Two Towers, leaving the third film, The Return of the King, to Jabez Olssen.) The Two Towers was another instant success, reaping a worldwide gross of $926 million.

Thanks to source novelist J. R. R. Tolkein, The Two Towers did not suffer the sophomore doldrums of many a sequel spun from a desire for profit but enjoyed equally high production values and benefited from unprecedented feats of film production - not the least of which was the first cinematic use of many area of rural New Zealand, which substituted persuasively for Tolkein's Middle Earth. During production of the trilogy, Jackson and his crew ran through 1,100 miles of film (the Battle of Helms Deep alone was edited down from 20 hours of footage), 19,000 costumes (created by 40 seamstresses), 2,000 weapons, 1,000 suits of armor, 10,000 facial prosthetics, and 1,800 hobbit feet. (Feeding a veritable army of actors, extras, and crew, craft services went big, serving up nearly 1,500 eggs for breakfast each day.) As The Fellowship of the Ring yielded to The Two Towers, Jackson's cast had bonded into a veritable band of brothers. As in war, injury only solidified the ranks, with actors Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Orlando Bloom, Bernard Hill, Billy Boyd, Liv Tyler, and others pushing through the pain for the greater good. A number of these incidents made it to the finished film, as when Mortensen broke two toes when his character was required to kick an empty enemy helmet in a moment of rage. Practical joking also fed the bonhomie. Having lost the tip of one finger in his youth, actor John Rhys-Davies was fitted with a prosthetic digit to play the dwarf warrior Gimli but convinced Jackson (with the addition of cosmetic blood cadged from the crew) that he had severed the end of that finger while shooting a scene.

Contracted originally to provide only a voice for the character of Gollum (whom Jackson had intended to create whole cloth out of CGI), actor Andy Serkis wound up acting the role physically, with his movements overlaid in postproduction by computer generated "motion capture," which fleshed out the unpalatable corporeality of the slimy, devolved hobbit. A prominent character in Tolkein's original novel The Hobbit and there on the page in The Fellowship of the Ring, Gollum had reduced screen time in Jackson's first film, emerging as a true player in The Two Towers. (In interviews conducted during post-production, Serkis claimed to have patterned Gollum's distinctive throat sounds after the noises made by his own cat while dislodging a hairball.) Serkis' performance was an instant audience favorite, earning the actor a place on Empire magazine's list of "100 Greatest Movie Villains of All Time." With The Two Towers, Serkis established himself as the premiere motion capture performer, providing the physical (and aural) foundations for the simian protagonists of Jackson's 2005 King Kong remake and the Planet of the Apes reboots Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2013). Taking the enterprise a step further, Serkis co-founded in 2011 the Ealing-based Imaginarium Studios, a digital production facility with an aim towards a state-of-the-art adaptation of George Orwell's Animal Farm.

Scoring The Lord of the Rings trilogy was Canadian composer Howard Shore, best known for his many collaborations with countryman David Cronenberg. (The Two Towers star Viggo Mortensen would himself collaborate with Cronenberg on several films over the course of the next few years, among them A History of Violence and Eastern Promises.) Shore was one of four Academy Award recipients out of The Fellowship of the Ring's thirteen nominated categories; he would win a second Oscar for his work on the trilogy's final leg, The Return of the King (2004), yet his compositions on The Two Towers went unrecognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In fact, Shore's score, which repeated themes heard in the first film, was at first adjudged as ineligible for competition due to the semi-recycled nature of the cues - a judgment that was swiftly reversed due to pressure from within the industry. The Two Towers was nominated for six Academy Awards (among them, Best Picture), of which it won two technical Oscars, for editing and visual effects. The international success of The Two Towers proved that The Fellowship of the Ring was no fluke, ensuring good business for the concluding chapter and enshrining The Lord of the Rings trilogy in the rarified mythological air of the George Lucas Star Wars films. As filming of The Lord of the Rings progressed in New Zealand, Lucas was shooting Attack of the Clones, the second installment of his second Star Wars trilogy, at Fox Studios in Sydney, Australia; making villainous appearances in both films is former movie Dracula Christopher Lee, the only member of Peter Jackson's production team who had ever met J. R. R. Tolkein.

By Richard Harland Smith

Sources:

Peter Jackson: A Filmmaker's Journey by Brian Sibley (Harper Collins, 2006)
The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy by Brian Sibley (Houghton-Mifflin, Harcourt, 2002)
The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Part one of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Rings, was released worldwide in time for the 2001 Christmas holidays, barely three months after the terrorist attacks of 9-11 and the subsequent uptake in global fear and paranoia. Though Jackson's expansive and expensive adaptation - filmed in one fell swoop in the filmmaker's native New Zealand between October 1999 and October 2000 (with pick-up footage added over the course of the next two years) -- would likely have been a hit in its own right, moviegoers throughout the western world were able in one sitting to lose themselves in an extravaganza of epic high fantasy while channeling their anger and fears into a compelling, vengeance-fueled adventure pitting absolute good against unalloyed evil. The Fellowship of the Ring was an instant hit, grossing better than $300 million in the United States and nearly $900 million worldwide. Rather than success driving the franchise, the parceling out of parts two and three came down to clockwork. With the first installment remaining in movie theaters for eight solid months, Jackson, his producers, and New Line Cinema had the benefit of nearly a year of post-production time before offering up the second. The Two Towers, had its premiere early in December 2002. (To speed post-production, Jackson hired different editors for each film; while John Gilbert had cut Fellowship, Jackson relied on Mike Horton for The Two Towers, leaving the third film, The Return of the King, to Jabez Olssen.) The Two Towers was another instant success, reaping a worldwide gross of $926 million. Thanks to source novelist J. R. R. Tolkein, The Two Towers did not suffer the sophomore doldrums of many a sequel spun from a desire for profit but enjoyed equally high production values and benefited from unprecedented feats of film production - not the least of which was the first cinematic use of many area of rural New Zealand, which substituted persuasively for Tolkein's Middle Earth. During production of the trilogy, Jackson and his crew ran through 1,100 miles of film (the Battle of Helms Deep alone was edited down from 20 hours of footage), 19,000 costumes (created by 40 seamstresses), 2,000 weapons, 1,000 suits of armor, 10,000 facial prosthetics, and 1,800 hobbit feet. (Feeding a veritable army of actors, extras, and crew, craft services went big, serving up nearly 1,500 eggs for breakfast each day.) As The Fellowship of the Ring yielded to The Two Towers, Jackson's cast had bonded into a veritable band of brothers. As in war, injury only solidified the ranks, with actors Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Orlando Bloom, Bernard Hill, Billy Boyd, Liv Tyler, and others pushing through the pain for the greater good. A number of these incidents made it to the finished film, as when Mortensen broke two toes when his character was required to kick an empty enemy helmet in a moment of rage. Practical joking also fed the bonhomie. Having lost the tip of one finger in his youth, actor John Rhys-Davies was fitted with a prosthetic digit to play the dwarf warrior Gimli but convinced Jackson (with the addition of cosmetic blood cadged from the crew) that he had severed the end of that finger while shooting a scene. Contracted originally to provide only a voice for the character of Gollum (whom Jackson had intended to create whole cloth out of CGI), actor Andy Serkis wound up acting the role physically, with his movements overlaid in postproduction by computer generated "motion capture," which fleshed out the unpalatable corporeality of the slimy, devolved hobbit. A prominent character in Tolkein's original novel The Hobbit and there on the page in The Fellowship of the Ring, Gollum had reduced screen time in Jackson's first film, emerging as a true player in The Two Towers. (In interviews conducted during post-production, Serkis claimed to have patterned Gollum's distinctive throat sounds after the noises made by his own cat while dislodging a hairball.) Serkis' performance was an instant audience favorite, earning the actor a place on Empire magazine's list of "100 Greatest Movie Villains of All Time." With The Two Towers, Serkis established himself as the premiere motion capture performer, providing the physical (and aural) foundations for the simian protagonists of Jackson's 2005 King Kong remake and the Planet of the Apes reboots Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2013). Taking the enterprise a step further, Serkis co-founded in 2011 the Ealing-based Imaginarium Studios, a digital production facility with an aim towards a state-of-the-art adaptation of George Orwell's Animal Farm. Scoring The Lord of the Rings trilogy was Canadian composer Howard Shore, best known for his many collaborations with countryman David Cronenberg. (The Two Towers star Viggo Mortensen would himself collaborate with Cronenberg on several films over the course of the next few years, among them A History of Violence and Eastern Promises.) Shore was one of four Academy Award recipients out of The Fellowship of the Ring's thirteen nominated categories; he would win a second Oscar for his work on the trilogy's final leg, The Return of the King (2004), yet his compositions on The Two Towers went unrecognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In fact, Shore's score, which repeated themes heard in the first film, was at first adjudged as ineligible for competition due to the semi-recycled nature of the cues - a judgment that was swiftly reversed due to pressure from within the industry. The Two Towers was nominated for six Academy Awards (among them, Best Picture), of which it won two technical Oscars, for editing and visual effects. The international success of The Two Towers proved that The Fellowship of the Ring was no fluke, ensuring good business for the concluding chapter and enshrining The Lord of the Rings trilogy in the rarified mythological air of the George Lucas Star Wars films. As filming of The Lord of the Rings progressed in New Zealand, Lucas was shooting Attack of the Clones, the second installment of his second Star Wars trilogy, at Fox Studios in Sydney, Australia; making villainous appearances in both films is former movie Dracula Christopher Lee, the only member of Peter Jackson's production team who had ever met J. R. R. Tolkein. By Richard Harland Smith Sources: Peter Jackson: A Filmmaker's Journey by Brian Sibley (Harper Collins, 2006) The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy by Brian Sibley (Houghton-Mifflin, Harcourt, 2002)

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The Two Towers is the second episode in the film trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, based on J. R. R. Tolkien's classic trilogy of novels of the same name. The three film episodes were shot simultaneously in 1999-2000 and were released in consecutive Decembers, from 2001 through 2003. The second episode of director-producer-writer Peter Jackson's adventurous production is darker than the first, reflecting the mood of the original novel. For further information about the film trilogy, its first episode and background of the source book and its creator, J. R. R. Tolkien, please see entry above for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
       There are no opening cast or crew credits in The Two Towers. Some of the cast is credited twice in the ending credits. In the first appearance, most of the lead performers are credited in individual title cards without a character name. The one exception appears in the middle of these credits and reads: "featuring Andy Serkis as Gollum." The film editors' credits read: "D. Michael Horton with Jabez Olssen." Later, John Rhys-Davies, who also appears as dwarf "Gimli," is credited as "Voice of Treebeard," followed by all featured players in alphabetical order. The children of Jackson and writer Fran Walsh appear in the film and are credited onscreen as: "Cute Rohan Refugee Children Billy Jackson and Katie Jackson." Their credit and those of "Hero Orcs" are presented later in the production crew, just before the list of doubles and stand-ins.
       Ending credits include a "personal thanks" from the "Filmmakers" to several people and organizations "for their contribution to the making of this movie," among them, E-Film and various New Zealand governmental agencies. Following is a "special thanks to Peter Nelson & Ken Kamins and to the thousands of others who helped make this film a reality." The film is dedicated to "Carla Fry, Brian Bansgrove and Brent Robb, People we loved." After the dedication, the following inscription in the Maori language appears: "He maungärongo kit e whenua, He whakaaro pai ki ngä tängata katoa." Although many of the character and place names in Tolkien's novels, such as "Barad-dûr," "Théoden" and "Sméagol," appear with diacritical marks, the film's onscreen credits list them without the diacritics. Whenever characters speak in the Elvish language invented by Tolkien, subtitles are used.
       The film begins with a reprisal of "Gandalf's" fight with the Balrog and his plunge into the pit at Khazad-dum, this time shown as "Frodo's" nightmare. Gandalf's recounting of his experience after the battle with the Balrog appears as a montage with Ian McKellen's voice-over narration. "Aragorn's" conversation with "Elrond" is shown as a flashback with dialogue. Later in the film, as Elrond counsels "Arwen" about her short-lived future with Aragorn, he speaks in a voice-over as she is shown mourning at the crypt of an older, gray Aragorn, who has been laid out for his funeral. The scene quickly changes to winter many years later, showing Arwen, still in mourning at the crypt, which now has a metal sculpture of the dead Aragorn lying atop it.
       The romance between Aragorn and Arwen, depicted in the film as flashbacks and dreams, did not appear as shown in Tolkien's trilogy. According to a December 2002 Time article, Hollywood Reporter review and other sources, the screenwriters based these scenes on information given in an appendix that Tolkien wrote after The Two Towers. The article reported that these scenes were filmed in the summer of 2002, after the principal filming of the trilogy had been completed. Also added in September 2002, according to the Time article, was Sam's "there's good in the world worth fighting for" monologue urging Frodo not to give up, which the screenwriters felt was needed to tie all of the story lines in the film together.
       In addition to the Aragorn-Arwen romance sequences, the screenwriters took other liberties that were not in the book, but were true to the spirit of Tolkien's oeuvre. In Tolkien's novel, the battle of Helm's Deep, which is central to the film, was only a brief episode. "Shelob," a spider creature introduced in the second novel, is only mentioned by Gollum in the film, but will make her appearance in the third film. In the Time article, Jackson admitted that The Two Towers departed from Tolkien's novels more than the other two films in the trilogy.
       As noted in the film's website and a December 2002 Los Angeles Times article, the character Gollum was computer-generated, using Shakespearean actor Serkis' voice and his own movements as a model. The Los Angeles Times article reported that each scene containing Gollum was shot three times, the first time with Serkis, wearing a lycra suit fitted with motion-capture equipment, acting with the cast. The final digital character was added later to the second take of the scene, which was filmed without Serkis. Other CGI characters in the film were "Treebeard" and his fellow Ents.
       The film was shot entirely in New Zealand. According to the film's website, the battle at Helm's Deep was filmed over four months in night shoots. A December 2002 American Cinematographer article reported that "life-size" sets of the city of Edoras were built and filmed on a hill in New Zealand's South Island. A castle and a wall of the Helm's Deep fortress were built in a quarry in Wellington. Although Jackson considered filming the Dead Marshes sequence in an actual marsh at Te Anau, South Island, only a brief aerial shot was used, as the area was dangerous and difficult to tread. Instead, three sets were built at the Wellington studios. The shooting locations of the film trilogy have been prominently featured in Tourism New Zealand's website and television commercials to entice vacationers to the area.
       According to a December 2001 article found on Zap2it.com, there was some question over whether the film would retain Tolkien's title The Two Towers for the film, after the terrorist attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001. According to a December 2002, Hollywood Reporter article, executives of the film's distributor, New Line Cinema, noting the lack of Whoppers in Middle-earth and the inappropriateness of the dark film for younger school children, dropped Burger King as the film's promotional tie-in. Instead, New Line negotiated a two-year contract with Verizon Wireless, which plans to target a young, male audience. Within five days after The Two Towers was released, it broke box-office records by grossing $101.5 million, according to a December 2002 Los Angeles Daily News article. A few weeks later, a January 2003 CNN.com article reported that Tolkien fans were celebrating the author's "eleventy-first" birthday, which is the Hobbit age that the character Bilbo Baggins celebrates at the beginning of the Rings trilogy.
       The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was selected as one of AFI's top ten films of 2002 and was nominated for Golden Globe awards for Best Picture-Drama and Best Direction. The film won Academy Awards fo Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects, and was nominated in the following categories: Best Picture, Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction and Best Sound. SAG nominated the film's cast for the Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Award. In addition, the film was nominated by the PGA for its Darryl Zanuck Producer of the Year Award, and Jackson was nominated by the DGA for its Outstanding Achievement in Feature Film award. The film received BAFTAs for Achievement in Costume Design and Special Visual Effects.

Miscellaneous Notes

Nominated for the 2002 award for Best Director by the London Film Critics Circle.

Nominated for the 2002 award for Best Picture by the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

Nominated for the 2002 Best Director award by the Director's Guild of America (DGA).

Voted one of the 10 best films of 2002 by the American Film Institute (AFI).

Winner of eight 2002 awards including Best Visual Effects in an Effects Driven Motion Picture, Best Character Animation in a Live Action Motion Picture, Best Special Effects in a Motion Picture, Best Models and Miniatures in a Motion Picture, Best Visual Effects Photography in a Motion Picture, Best Effects Art Direction in a Motion Picture, Best Compositing in a Motion Picture and Best Performance by an Actor in an Effects Film (Andy Serkis, Elijah Wood and Sean Astin) by the Visual Effects Society (VES).

Winner of the 2002 award for Best Director (Peter Jackson) by the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association.

Winner of the 2002 award for Best Director by the Las Vegas Film Critics.

Winner of the 2002 award for Excellence in Production Design for a Period or Fantasy Film by the Art Directors Guild (ADG).

Winner of two 2002 awards by the Online Film Critics Society, including Best Picture and Best Director (Peter Jackson).

Released in United States Winter December 18, 2002

Released in United States on Video August 26, 2003

Sequel to "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (New Zealand, USA/2001), directed by Peter Jackson and starring Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortenson, Sean Astin, Liv Tyler, Orlando Bloom, and Cate Blanchett.

J.R.R. Tolkien's novel was previously adapted as an animated feature in 1978, directed by Ralph Bakshi.

The original film and sequels were shot simultaneously.

The combined budget for the trilogy is reportedly $270,000,000, making the estimated individual budget for each film $90,000,000.

Weta Digital is Peter Jackson's New Zealand special effects company.

Second instalment of J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy "The Lord of the Rings" which includes: "The Fellowship of the Ring", "The Two Towers", and "Return of the King". All three films are being shot simultaneously.

Released in United States Winter December 18, 2002

Released in United States on Video August 26, 2003

Nominated for a 2002 Screen Actor's Guild (SAG) award for Best Ensemble Cast.