Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Two Towers extended version

To all you LOTR junkies out there, I recommend watching the extended DVD version of the Two Towers, now in stores. The movie version was good but choppy. The extra 45 minutes of scenes added make the plot easier to follow and more believable. For one thing, the extended version makes Faramir a lot more sympathetic and understandable than the weasel he is in the movie. Also, in the theater version, at the end of the battle for Helm’s Deep, you were left with the impression that the Rohirrim had scattered the forces of Isengard but not eliminated them. It would be totally unbelievable for the Rohirrim to ride to Gondor in the third movie if they had left several thousand well-armed and organized uruk-hai to threaten their homes, children, and wives back in Rohan. Not to give anything away, but the extended version adds scenes taking care of this discrepancy, and in a very satisfying way.

More important, the extended version adds scenes that flesh out the moral tension in the movie. Steve Hayward has expressed some good pet peeves about the movies, but I have one too. Mine is that the movies have eliminated dialogue from the books showing how evil corrupts judgment. Sauron, the most powerful being in Middle Earth, is so consumed by the lust for domination that he cannot possibly imagine that his adversaries might wish to destroy the Ring, the one object they might use to dominate him. In the books, the wisest leaders of the free peoples show they understand that Sauron’s corruption gives them an advantage over an otherwise overpowering enemy. I’ve grumbled through the 2 movies because this dialogue never made it on to screen, but it has now in the extended version. Worth my $30.

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