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3.00- TWO TOWERS EXTEND EDITION DVD
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DVD review: LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS SPECIAL EXTENDED EDITION

by David Blackwell

Mostly everyone has seen THE TWO TOWERS in the theater and you will probably had seen it in theater or on DVD months ago if you're reading this review. If not, you can always read my earlier review on the theater cut:

http://enterline2.tripod.com/enterline/id60.html

This review of the special extended edition DVD will focus on the things I found the most interesting. The extended cut adds 43 minutes into the movie and consists of new scenes and some extended scens. There are six hours of bonus material in total on discs 3 and 4 (three hours per disc). For the movie itself, you have three commentary tracks: one from Director Peter Jackson and the writers that helped write the movies including his wife Fran Walsh, a cast commentary track, and a commentary track from some fo the crew who help realize Peter Jackson's vision of THE LORD OF THE RINGS. They said the middle part of the trilogy, THE TWO TOWERS, was the hardest movie to make, but it is miles ahead of the first movie- THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING.

DISC ONE- From disc one, the movie is more fleshed out with several new scenes of Rohan including a short funeral scene of Theodred and Aragorn being introduced to his new horse Brego (the horse that actor Viggo Mortensen now owns the horse his character rode on). The Elvish rope is funny. The Ring of Barahir is a new and interesting scene with Saruman and Wormtongue. Don't miss the Gollum easter egg (go to the scene slection and highlight the final scene on disc 1, then go down one more and a ring will apear- click on the ring and an MTV Movie Awards acceptance speech from Gollum will play).

DISC TWO- Disc two's best new scenes are the Boromir flashback scene, the final tally scene between Gimli and Legolas, and where Faramir show Frodo, Same, and Gollum the way out of Osgiliath (and Faramir threatens Gollum). the second disc fleshes out the Ent plotline with lots of new scenes with Treebeard (and Merry and Pippin).

The director and writer's commentary track mentions a scene between youn Aragorn when he first met Arwen (that was cut during editing of the three movies- Peter Jackson talks about the scene and he may include the scene in some future edition of the LOTR movies, but can we take him serious about that one?!).

DISCS THREE/FOUR- The highlights of this disc 3 are the documentaries THE TAMING OF SMEAGOL and FROM BOOK TO SCRIPT: FINDING THE STORY. All the documentaries on the disc are great to watch. THE TAMING OF SMEAGOL shows how the motion crapture team and animation teams were fighting over how Gollum should move. Also we see some behind-the-scenes footage of Andy Serkis filming a flashback scene of Smeagol (the Hobbit) finding the ring. We see test animation footage of Gollum and how Gollum evolved to incorporate some of the features of Andy Serkis. You learn they had to use the footage shot with Serkis and erase him from the frames to put in the CGI Gollum because the footage shot where the actors were acting with nothing didn't work as well as compared to the same scene where the actors were interacting with Serkis.

During some of the documenatries on disc 3 and 4, you get brief glimpse of a couple things cut out of THE TWO TOWERS while it was being filmed- Arwen fighting at Helm's Deep and Elrond visiting Galadriel. FROM BOOK TO SCRIPT: FINDING THE STORY mentions they would have rewritten the scripts 2-3 times more if they had the time, and they didn't have time to do different things with Faramir due to the tight schedule on these movies to meeet release dates and such.

The stills galleries of sketches, set photos, and model shot photos have audio commentary on selected stills. It was interesting watching the docus on WETA Digital and EDITORIAL: REFINING THE STORY. There are brief glimpses at scenes from RETURN OF THE KING in many of the docus on discs 3 and 4. The soundscape feature show how they recorded and came up with the various sounds you hear in the movie including Peter Jackson getting Cricket fans to stomp and chant to sound guys recording sound effects at a cemetary at night. One of the docus on disc 4 mention the story of how one guy had to outrun some British criminals because he had all of the movie's visual effects (stored on an iPod) in his pocket.

The disc set is great, but I do wish they did include some deleted scenes on disc 3 or 4 (instead of brief behind-the-scenes footage). They filmed Arwen fighting at Helm's Deep (but dropped the scene)and Elrond visiting Galadriel, but I wish they were included on disc 3 or 4 (instead of maybe popping up as an extra on some future special edition of the Lord of The Rings movies). The other minor problem with the special extended edition DVD set is they didn't bother to include a trailer for RETURN OF THE KING. The extra 43 minutes edited back into THE TWO TOWERS flesh out the movie and it is a huge improvement over the theater cut.

 

this review is (c)2003 David Blackwell. this review may not be reprinted or copied without my permission. No Orcs, Elves, Humans, Ents, Wizards, Hobbits, or Gollum were hurt in the writing of this review. send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com

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