The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a 2002 fantasy-drama film directed by Peter Jackson based on the second volume of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of The Rings.thumb|300px|right


The film begins with a flashback to the battle between the wizard Gandalf the grey and the Balrog on the Bridge to Khazad-Dum in the Mines of Moria, in an attempt to allow the Fellowship of the Ring to escape, but this time from Gandalf's perspective. Gandalf is pulled down to the chasm by the demon; the Fellowship believes he is dead, but he continues to fight it while falling down into a lake in the depths of the Earth. Weeks later, the hobbit Frodo Baggingscontinues his journey with his loyal friend Sam, as they attempt to reach Mordor by passing through the hills of Emyn Muil. One night, they are attacked by the creature Gollum wishing to retrieve "his Precius". The hobbits capture him, but Frodo understands the burden of the ring and takes pity on the creature. Realizing they are in need of a guide, Frodo persuades Gollum to lead them to the Black Gate of Mordor.

In Rohan, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are in pursuit of the Uruk-hai, who are on their journey back to Isengard with hobbits Merry and Pippin as captives. Meanwhile, King Theoden, the king of Rohan, is being put in a trance by his steward, Grima Wormtounge, who is secretly in the service of Saruman. Orcs and Wild Men of Dunland, incited by Saruman, are freely roaming the land, burning villages, massacring the people and destroying crops. (In an attack on one of the villages, a mother sends her two children on horseback to Edoras to warn the King.) Recently, the King's only son Theodred fell victim to them, left mortally wounded in an ambush. Théoden's nephew Eomer interrogates Gríma, labelling him a spy: however, Gríma banishes Éomer, "on pain of death", for undermining his authority, and Éomer sets forth to the countryside to gather the remaining loyal men of the Rohirim. That night, Éomer's army ambush and kill all of the Uruk-hai, thus allowing the two hobbits to flee into the forests of Fangorn. There, Merry and Pippin meet Treebeard, the oldest of the Ents of Middle Earth.

Frodo, Sam and Gollum traverse the Dead Marshes, evading an airborne Ringwaith riding on a Fell Beast. When they finally reach the Black Gate, they find it shut and heavily guarded by Orcs. However, as they watch, an Easterling contingent arrives and the gate opens for them to enter. Sensing a chance, Frodo and Sam make ready to move. However, they are held back by Gollum, who confirms their fears of capture and insists that any attempt to get in via the Black Gate will only end with the One Ring returning to Sauron. He then reveals that there is anathor way into Mordor, hidden and unguarded. Sam is immediately suspicious, but Frodo gives him the benefit of the doubt, pointing out that he has remained loyal thus far.

Éomer later encounters Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli in Rohan, who tells the group that there were no survivors of the battle the previous night, indicating that the hobbits were accidentally slain. Upon arriving at the battle site, Aragorn picks up the tracks of the hobbits and the trio follows them into Fangorn. There they are approached and temporarily subdued by a wizard masked with shining white light. Initially fearing it is Saruman, the group are amazed when he reveals himself to be Gandalf reborn (after defeating the Balrog in a battle that cost him his life), now known as Gandalf the White. The quartet proceed to Edoras, where they exorsise Saruman's hold on Théoden and banish Wormtongue. The now awakened Théoden has to come to terms with both his son's death and the threat of Saruman. Rather than risk open war and further harm to his people (especially after seeing the two exhausted children who finally arrived from the village), Théoden decides to flee to Helm's Deep, a large stronghold in the Mountains. Gandalf realises that Helm's Deep's defences will not survive the Uruk-hai onslaught that is surely to come. He leaves to find Éomer, promising to return within five days with the 2,000 banished riders. As they lead the people of Edoras to Helm's Deep, Aragorn and Eowyn, Éomer's sister, form a close relationship. Aragorn tells Éowyn that Arwen, whom he loves, is leaving Middle-earth to be with her people in the Undying Lands. In the meantime, Wormtongue has fled to Orthanc and informs Saruman of a weakness in the outer wall of Helm's Deep, which Saruman and his army of 10,000 Uruk-Hai plan to exploit. Saruman dispatches his army to Helm's Deep, ordering them to spare no one.

Having led the hobbits south from the Black Gate to the land of Ithilien, Gollum is in inner turmoil, torn between his loyalty to Frodo and his all-consuming need for the Ring. The three travellers then play witness to an ambush of Southrons by Rangers of Ithielien, who take Frodo and Sam prisoner. Meanwhile, on the journey to Helm's Deep, the Rohirrim are attacked by Saruman's Warg Riders. During the battle, Aragorn is thrown off a cliff into a fast-flowing river below: Théoden, Legolas, Gimli and the others believe him dead and journey on to Helm's Deep. In Rivendell,Elrond comes to his daughter Arwen and implores her to leave on the ships departing Middle-earth, escaping the troubles of these lands. When she refuses, Elrond, in a devastating speech, uses his powers of foresight and slowly tells her future if she chooses to remain in Middle-earth with Aragorn. As he is mortal, even if he succeeds in defeating Sauron and becomes King of Gondor, Aragorn will die eventually and Arwen will be left to fade away with her grief when he is gone. Once again Elrond pleads with her and she yields to him. As she leaves Rivendell, the words of Galadriel, concerning the plight of Men to defy Sauron, come to Elrond in that moment. She questions whether the Elves should wash their hands of Middle-earth and points out that the Ring has manoeuvred itself into the company of Men which it can easily corrupt. Galadriel asks if they should abandon Men to their fate, even if it condemns Middle-earth to fall under Sauron's rule for all time.

Surely enough, Frodo and Sam have been taken to Henneth Annuin, a stronghold for the Men of Ithilien, and brought before Faramir, the younger brother of Boromir. Gollum had eluded capture and, in order to save him from death at the hands of Faramir's hunters, Frodo accepts that he and Gollum are bound to each other. Faramir investigates further and learns of the One Ring that Frodo carries. Seeking to prove his worth to his father, Denethor, he decides the Ring shall go to Gondor. In Rohan, Aragorn washes up on the river bank and is nudged awake by the horse Brego, which formerly belonged to Théodred, and which Aragorn had set free before leaving Edoras. Injured, semiconscious, and on the verge of collapse, he wills the horse to take him to Helm's Deep, passing Saruman's army of Uruk-hai on the way. His arrival at Helm's Deep is met with relief, but is short lived as the news of the strength of the approaching horde casts doubt upon the likely survival of the defenders. As night falls, a battalion of Elves led by Haldir, arrives from Lorien, bearing word of alliance and aid from Elrond. In Fangorn forest, Merry, Pippin, Treebeard and other Ents hold a council to decide on the role of the Ents in the war with Saruman.

The battle of Helm's Deep begins with a flurry of arrows from the defending archers, cutting down dozens of Uruk-hai. Scaling ladders are thrown up against the Deeping Wall, and the Uruks swarm up to engage the defenders. At first the onslaught is stayed by the valour of the Rohirrim and of Aragorn and his companions. Suddenly, the gutter in the Deeping Wall is blown up by two crude explosive devices that Saruman created, allowing the Uruks entry into the outer defences. Despite Aragorn's and Gimli's best efforts, the Uruk-hai manage to penetrate the main gate and soon the stronghold is overrun. In the midst of battle, Haldir is slain and the few remaining Elves fall back. In the Hornburg however, the Uruks have scaled the walls and have breached the gate, forcing the defenders to retreat into the Keep. In Fangorn, Treebeard and the other Ents have decided to not have any involvement in the war, deciding rather to "weather such things as [they] have always done". Despite this, Pippin manages to cleverly take Treebeard to the section of Fangorn Saruman has recently decimated near Isengard. Treebeard is filled with rage at Saruman's betrayal and commands all the other Ents to seek vengeance. The Ents gather and embark upon 'the Last March of the Ents', straight into Isengard itself.

Meanwhile, as Théoden despairs in the besieged Keep, Aragorn refuses to give in and, remembering Gandalf's words before he left Edoras, he takes Théoden, Legolas and the remaining Rohirrim on one last gallant ride to attack the Uruk-hai army in a desperate bid to allow the Rohirrim's women and children to escape into the mountains. The riders storm out of the Keep and cut their way through to the fortress gate. As the riders emerge into the mass of Uruks, the first rays of dawn fall down into the valley and upon the eastern hill, Gandalf appears, accompanied by Éomer and his men. They rush down into the body of the stunned Uruks and rout them: the terrified Uruk-hai flee into Fangorn, where the Ents and their Huorn allies swiftly exact retribution. Meanwhile, at Isengard the Ents are taking control. They destroy the remaining Uruk-hai population and release the dam placed upon the river Isen, which gushes forth into the plains around Orthanc, drowning the surviving Orc defenders, quenching the fires of its industry and stranding Saruman in his tower.

Away in the East, Faramir has had the hobbits bound and taken to Osgiliath, a ruined city on the banks of the river Anduin between Mordor and Gondor. There a small battle ensues with the Orcs of Mordor, who are led by a Ringwrath again, on a Fell Beast. With the help of Sam and Faramir, Frodo narrowly escapes the Ringwraith's efforts to capture him and the Ring (it nearly cost Sam his life because the Ring tried to make Frodo kill him). In an inspired monologue as he watches the Ringwraith fly off, (and as victory scenes from the two battles are seen) Sam reflects on the state he and Frodo are in, on how their story may yet come to have a happy ending, even when so much bad had happened. Frodo is doubtful of this, (especially because he nearly killed Sam) but Sam insists that they must still hold on to what they are fighting for: each other and the fulfilment of their quest. Approaching them from the throes of battle, Faramir overhears them and realises these unassuming hobbits have a high doom before them which he can no longer hope to interrupt. He sets them free and helps them on their way. Gandalf and the others now know that things have been set in motion that cannot be undone or avoided. Sauron will surely seek retribution for the defeat of his puppet Saruman and strike at Men again, only stronger and with greater fury: as Gandalf puts it "The battle for Helm's Deep is over. The battle for Middle-earth is about to begin". He remarks that hope now rests with Frodo and Sam, who have resumed their journey to Mordor with Gollum. Feeling betrayed by Frodo when he delivered him into the hands of Faramir's men, Gollum's darker self re-emerges and he decides to reclaim the ring by secretly leading Frodo and Sam to a creature he refers to only as "her", which Gollum's lighter self reluctantly agrees to and leads the hobbits on through the woods as Mordor is seen in the distance.