Stunning, gorgeous, and impossible to look away from -- and I'm not just talking about Viggo Mortensen
23 December 2002
There is nothing I can add that hasn't been said by many others, but I'll just say that this movie blew me away like the first one did, yet in a different way. The first movie introduced the sweeping scenery, the grandeur and majesty that will be the tone of the entire trilogy, but this movie introduced the brutal and desperate fight to save Middle Earth -- the raw emotions of the players to defend what is theirs and insure their survival. I can only imagine what the final movie is going to be like as the tension is only going to get greater as Mount Doom gets closer and the final battle for Middle Earth takes place. Wow. It takes the breath away.

I was most awestruck by Gollum and the realism of this little creature, as well as the way in which he wrapped you up with his struggle to split away from his evil side. The whole Smeagol/Gollum scene made me cry like a baby even though I was trying to block out the laughs of the ignoramuses around me who thought he was some kind of comedic spastic muppet. However, *I* had *my* laugh when the oodles of fangirls gasped and squealed over Orlando's (face it, Legolas doesn't enter into it at all) two shining moments of derring-do. Which were cool, I won't deny, but there's more to the movies than a butt like granite, however delectable it might be.

Viggo Mortensen was amazing as Aragorn and his character is unfolding more and more. I loved the scene where he screamed in frustration at the pile of burnt orcs. I imagine he was wondering what type of king he would be if he couldn't even save 2 hobbits. And the subsequent intercutting between Merry and Pip's escape and him tracing their steps was very thrilling.

I was pleased that Arwen wasn't in it more than she was. There was just enough, but not too much. The scenes with her and Elrond was very poignant and I'm glad that they were put in rather than just have her pop in and out to suck face with Aragorn.

I've heard complaints about the abundance of Gimli humor, but I didn't think it demeaning in the least. It was great and the banter between Legolas and Gimli was great. I was so psyched to see their number competition at Helm's Deep retained. The Elf-Dwarf friendship is one of the most beautiful things in the books.

Finally, I was really taken with Brad Dourif's performance as Grima. I've only seen him in a Babylon 5 episode (where he was awesome) and in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, so this was completely different from anything else I'd seen and I was amazed that he imbued so many facets in a character that we sadly saw so little of. I've read an interview with him saying that Grima won't be in the third movie and I hope that is wrong! It would be a bummer to not have my second favorite character make his rightful appearance at the end!

10/10 and the rating for the extended DVD will go through the roof
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