Tuesday, December 31, 2002
choose your style: neoclassical | blue | modern | nouveau

New Zealand's Towers

Adrian Miles makes several interesting observations about The Two Towers. First, that it's essentially a New Zealand film, and second, that it's Gollum's film.

"so gollum, the heart of the film. the rest is smoke and mirrors."

It's fascinating to read Miles on Tolkien, because he knows film and doesn't know The Lord Of The Rings backwards and forwards. I've read and reread Tolkien many times over the years, I used to be able to quote long passages by heart. For me, the first view of the film is inevitably exegesis; every speech that's moved to a new scene, every set detail that doesn't match the text, clamors for attention. (Remarkably, almost all the changes do work. I have no idea why Jackson added the elven archers at Helm's Deep, but the detour to the Fall of Osgiliath gives the art department a wonderful opportunity)

Edoras in the movie is beautifully, brilliantly done, and the equation of Wormtongue and Richard III is perfect shorthand. One thing that's missing, I think, is the shock readers should feel as they enter Meduseld, for here alone in the entire Trilogy we leave the realm of fantasy and touch upon the field we know: none of us knows what became of Gondor or Mirkwood or Buckland, but someday in the distant future another visitor will come to Edoras, a fellow named Beowulf.