The second instalment to the Lord of the Rings franchise, The Two Towers defies the middle movie slump as viewers are treated to an expanding universe, raised stakes, and one of the greatest battles in cinematic history. The Two Towers is an easy favourite in the franchise, as the scattered fellowship finds themselves at the heart of the conflict, and their journey becomes more perilous as they draw closer to enemy territory. Here are some of the best scenes from The Two Towers.
The Fate of Merry and Pippin
A friendly reminder that Viggo Mortensen actually broke two toes when filming this scene. This moment showcases Aragorn’s skills as a ranger as it reveals the fate of the captured Merry and Pippin. The way the scene cuts from Aragorn’s shrewd tracking skills to Merry and Pippin’s escape was brilliant in heightening the sense of anticipation in hearing the fates of these Hobbits.
The King of the Golden Hall
The Two Towers introduces us to the land of Rohan, a kingdom of men under threat from the arms of Saruman. We learn early on that Saruman has found a way to poison the mind of the king, weakening their position as those loyal to Rohan are exiles from the land. This scene is basically the first confrontation between the newly resurrected Gandalf and Saruman, as Gandalf seeks to get rid of Saruman’s hold on King Theoden. It’s a tense battle between these two powerful beings and the transformation of Theoden is a sight to behold and really provides a visual representation of the depth of Saruman’s hold over the king.
The Passage of the Marshes
There is something quite haunting about Frodo and Sam’s journey through the marshes. It’s almost as if they’re wandering through no man’s land, with the bodies of the fallen left to decay in the marshes. Gollum’s raspy voice in informing Frodo, Sam, and the viewers of the history of the marshes make it all the more haunting. It’s a powerful moment that remains to be one of the creepiest scenes in the entire trilogy.
Gollum and Smeagol
The presentation of this scene is phenomenal. We are aware that Gollum and Smeagol are one and the same, but this talk between the two firmly establishes them as two people trapped in one body. It’s also a moment that makes you pity Smeagol as we see glimmers of the person he use to be before the ring’s corruption, and in doing so reminds us of how tragic Smeagol’s arc really is.
Sons of the Steward
Included in the extended edition, Sons of the Steward provides further insight into Boromir’s character while establishing the dynamic between Boromir and his brother, Faramir, and their father Denethor. The beauty of this moment lies in the way it exposes Boromir for the man he is. He’s a warrior, a leader, an devoted to Gondor. It’s one example of how Gondor’s plight influenced Boromir’s corruption in the first film. It also establishes the deep bond between Boromir and Faramir, while simultaneously providing a base for the conflicted relationship between Denethor and his sons.
The Forbidden Pool
The contrast between the beauty of the pool and the eerieness of Smeagol’s presence in this serene pool is striking. The Forbidden Pool reveals to Faramir the true intentions of our Hobbits and Smeagol’s role in the tale. It’s a tense moment that sees Frodo choosing to side with Smeagol and spare his life. However, Faramir’s betrayal in using Smeagol to flush out the Hobbit’s journey proves to be a fatal mistake as the men’s brutality allows for Gollum to emerge once again, reminding us of his villainous nature. The forbidden pool is a haunting scene, one that sets in motion Gollum’s sinister plan.
The Host of the Eldar
The coordination of the elves is unparalleled and the march of the elves of Lothlorien paired with the marvel from men of Rohan upon their arrival sparked a sign of hope as they prepare to face the wrath of Saruman’s army. While their involvement in the battle diverges from the book, it does provide a poignant moment in reestablishing the alliance between these two races, even more so when Haldir, friend and ally to our fellowship, is seen leading this army.
The Battle of the Hornburg
By far the most impressive battle in cinematic history. The battle for Helms Deep is a visual feast. The odds are stacked against our heroes as Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli stand with the people of Rohan against Saruman’s army. Even with the assistance from the elves, they are vastly outnumbered. There is so much you can appreciate from this sequence, as the chaos of battle takes hold and hope falter. Peter Jackson perfectly captures the desperation of men as they face the continuous onslaught from the enemy. It’s a testament to the cast and crew that this battle simultaneously wows people with its visual impact without losing the story behind it. There are many high points for all our core characters, but this battle is really about exploring Theoden’s leadership. As the battle wages on, we see Theoden plunge further into his own despair. It is only when their situation becomes dire, that Theoden reclaims his leadership in riding out with Aragorn and his men in what may be their final stand. To follow, we get this epic moment with Gandalf and the exiled Rohirrim ride to their king and send a message to the enemy that men are not as weak as they hoped.
The Last March of the Ents
Who would have thought the roar of despair from an ancient tree would be so powerful. Treebeard’s cry is felt throughout the entire scene as the destruction of the forest leads to the Ents march on Isengard. The music used as the Ents of Fangorn Forest march towards their enemy has a chilling sense of anticipation. The Ents represent the fantastical elements of the film and visually the sight of these old creatures is a treat and equally as compelling in the grand scheme of the narrative.
The Tales That Really Mattered
Sean Astin owns this scene and reminds us of Sam’s strength in the face of all the horrors he’s seen on this journey. It’s a reminder of their will to fight for all the good in the world. It is easy to despair in the darkness, but there is always a light at the end. Yet another incredibly moving moment in the film, Sam takes this moment to remind us all of the strength of hope and compassion. It’s a beautiful scene, and Sam’s speech is one that can still be applied to the current state of the world.
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