Thursday, January 23, 2003

"You could have picked a better spot" - Gimli to Legolas regarding their position on the battlements at Helm's Deep.
After the agonisingly long wait, after hundreds of false tries and failed dates, after avoiding all the spoilers yet dithering over fansites on the net, after watching all the interviews and promos, after everyone else has seen it, I finally managed to go to the cinema and watch The Two Towers.

I thought...

I forgot to breathe in the whole run-up to the battle at Helm's Deep, when both sides are lined up, facing each other and the rain starts to fall on all the assembled troops.

The Elf Army made a *very* impressive entry to the battle as did Gandalf the White. I got a lump in my throat when he suddenly appeared with the Rohirrim(?) at the bleakest point in the fight.

The trees were cool for what they were - a bunch of nicely done CGIs, but had nothing on what I got from the books. They looked far too human and moved with much more fluidity than I imiagined for them. I wanted to see great big, scratchy, creaky things lumbering through the story, threatening the other side with their wisdom and patience and age, not these leafy human shapes that looked like extras from Sesame Street.

Gollum was amazing - unexpectedly poignant as an example of what Frodo could become as ring-bearer, and wonderfully creepy, pathetic and evil.

Gimli was excellent ballast to the otherwise incredibly slashy (for those with no knowledge of fanfiction, I mean gay), humourless and intense relationship between Aragorn and Legolas. Yah, they are extremely beautiful together and are ripe for slashing in this film, especially as they spend most of the time communicating in Elvish over the heads of everyone else, and that most telling of moments when Aragorn finally makes it to Helm's Deep after being presumed dead and all Legolas can say to him is: "You're late" and "you look terrible."

The Dead Marshes scenes with all the sleeping faces under the water were extremely well done. Tolkien apparently meant the Marshes to depict the legacy of WW1 over which the ravages of WW2 played out, and there was such a sadness in the scene, such a ghostly, remorseful feel, I felt genuinely moved by it.

The cuts between the different stoylines were as good as they could be, though some juxtapositions were clunky and oddly inappropriate.

The film didn't have enough dwarf-tossing. The scene where Gimli grudgingly asks Aragorn to chuck him onto the bridge was perfectly placed in the midst of fighting, a good point to be made about the ridiculous, the necessary and the fearlessness in battle. Also, the line "you'll have to toss me...please don't tell the Elf" is a total winner.

There's so much more I want to talk about, but I was so utterly and completely swept away by the film, I'm not actually able to discuss it fully.

Let's just say that I was enjoying the film so much, the twat two rows behind who rustled a plastic bag throughout the entire film couldn't distract me, and the teenage boy who kept stroking my leg for the first two hours until I turned around and whispered "I can feel that, you know," was only a bonus to the whole experience.

I am oddly delighted by this latter experience. I've been smiling all day just recalling those tentative teenage fingers on my thigh, in that darkened room, last night. The educated, independent, 22 year-old arts professional with her own bank account, own place to live and tough opinions on feminism exterior is currently aghast but the 14 year old wearing too much make-up, unsuitable high street shoes and without my own doorkey interior is still giggling and reading too much into it. A lot.

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