Set in a time of uncertainty in the land of Middle-earth, a tale which charts a heroic quest, which centers around an intrepid hobbit. The future of civilization rests in the fate of the One Ring, which has been lost for centuries. Powerful forces are unrelenting in their search for it. But fate has placed it in the hands of a young Hobbit named Frodo Baggins, who inherits the Ring and steps into legend. A daunting task lies ahead for Frodo when he becomes the Ringbearer as his assigned duty is to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom where it was forged. But he can't accomplish this task alone. A Fellowship bands together to lend Frodo all that he needs to carry out his mission: the wisdom of Gandalf; the loyalty of his friends Sam, Merry, and Pippin; the courage of Aragorn and Boromir; the precision of Legolas; and the strength of Gimli. They are aided in their quest by Arwen, Galadriel and Elrond, whose knowledge of the Ring brings to light the true danger and importance of their journey.
Peter Jackson's scrupulous devotion to the spirit of J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy manifests itself in a gripping, intense fashion in this second of the film adaptations. It may be the first sequel that does not bother to give a reprise of the major plot elements of its predecessor immediately; the plan is simply to drop us right into the action. This stratagem creates a few moments of apprehension, the same disconcerted quality that the hobbits Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) are experiencing on their journey. Their mission began in "The Fellowship of the Ring" when Frodo was entrusted with the ring that gives its bearer enormous powers and, incidentally, could begin the end of life on Middle Earth. The warrior Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) has been inflated into an even more assured, reflexive action hero. He helps a bewitched king (Bernard Hill) defend his castle. The action sequences are even more compelling than the first time around; we could be watching Orson Welles's "Chimes at Midnight" as directed by George A. Romero — Shakespearean-scale bloodshed and loss as an exploitation movie. There are flaws, particularly the family-oriented video-game aspects, which offer no emotional complications other than saving the day. — Elvis Mitchell
2002-12-18 | Elvis Mitchell | Read the New York Times Review of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers