Transcript: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

Transcript of 70mm’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) Episode.

SLIM Hey, it’s your old pal Slim. And this is 70mm, a podcast for film lovers. Every Monday I sit down and record with dear friend and artist Danny Haas.

DANNY I mean, it could be one of the best! [Danny laughs]

SLIM And our own spiritual advisor, Protolexus.

PROTO How about Gandalf, you know, his wife get up here. And he’s calling his horse Shadowfax. His drip is unbelievable. That hair!

SLIM And together as friends forever, we discuss recently watched movies. Later in this episode, we’re going to be talking about the extended edish of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Is this the one extended version of the trilogy that needed to be trimmed down a bit? Find out… now.

[70mm theme song ramps up, plays alone, fades out]

SLIM Can we talk about a movie that Danny watched this week?

DANNY Which one?

SLIM I need to talk about it. I don’t know if this is a date night movie. What fired this up in the Haas house? While You Were Sleeping.

DANNY Listen, it’s Christmas time. This is a this is a holiday tradish to watch this movie.

SLIM Really?

DANNY Yeah! Do you not watch While You Were Sleeping at Christmas time?

SLIM No. I’ve never seen it.

PROTO Interesting.

SLIM Is it Bill Pullman?

DANNY Yeah, and his hair.

SLIM Bill Paxton?

DANNY No, it’s not Paxton. [Danny laughs]

SLIM It’s the other white guy that probably gets confused with those three. Who’s the one that was in a baseball movie. Dennis Quaid?

PROTO Dennis Quaid. [Slim & Danny & Proto laugh] They’re the same guy! How many times do we have to go over this?

SLIM The trifecta. Yes, Marcie says it.

DANNY While You Were Sleeping is so good. The plot…

SLIM Somebody goes into a coma at Christmas?

DANNY Well, yes. Sandra Bullock is a token taker at a train in Chicago. I don’t know what they’re called. Tellers? Not a teller. Whatever. She takes people’s tokens to get on a train. And she kind of falls in love with a guy that gives her tokens all the time. She’s never met him. One day he gets mugged on the train track and gets thrown onto the tracks and she saves his life but he goes into a coma. And so when she goes to check on him in the hospital, she’s mistaken to be his fiancee. And it gets too far in, she continues to let the family believe that she’s the fiancee, etc. etc. Enter Bill Pullman, the brother of the coma guy and love blossoms.

SLIM Oh, wait. I though Pullman was the guy that gets in a coma?

DANNY No, his brother does.

SLIM Ohhhh, god.

PROTO The guy in the coma doesn’t do anything. He’s in a coma. [Slim laughs]

DANNY Yeah, Matt, please.

SLIM I thought the plot was Bill Pullman is in a coma and she takes care of him and he wakes up or they start dating.

DANNY No, Peter is in a coma. Also played by Peter Gallagher. I love this movie. Five stars.

PROTO So cute. How about the Italian dads or whatever?

DANNY The Italian dads? The fathers?

PROTO Yeah, yeah.

DANNY Ray Romano’s dad. And the old dad from Christmas vacation, I think.

PROTO They really kill it.

DANNY So yeah, they’re great.

SLIM I was about to try to do a Ray Romano impression but I don’t even know if I have one.

DANNY I think you should try. I bet it’s going to sound like Seinfeld. [Danny laughs]

PROTO Where do you even begin?

SLIM I don’t know! I was about to do it, just wing it. But I don’t even know if I can wing it.

DANNY Say something about spaghetti.

SLIM No, I don’t want to get kicked off Discord for doing an offensive Italian spaghetti joke or something. Not gonna get kicked off this Discord tonight. So what’s the Christmas aspect of it?

DANNY It’s at Christmas time.

SLIM Do they like go get a tree and they like go ice skating or something?

DANNY It’s at Christmas time.

PROTO It’s also very feel good. It’s a feel good movie. There’s like no, you know, sadness. Just the joy. I’ve seen it a couple times. Kind of reminds me of Two Towers in that way.

SLIM First of all, there’s only one tower in this in Two Towers, that’s in my talking points. I only saw one tower. [Danny laughs] So we’ll get into later in the in our discussion which is right around the corner. We’ll dig it. Just a reminder, Two Towers, if you want to skip to the Two Towers segment, use the chapters in your pod catcher app, podcast app. We’ll get there real quick. Chat is doing the woman fainting gift right out my comment about one tower, so we’ll get into it. Proto, did you want to provide an update on your house situation? You know, you have two broken TVs, your son is rebelling. Your young son is rebelling against you. He’s broken two televisions. But somehow you watched a movie this past week. Can you explain this?

PROTO Yeah, I may have lost those battles, but I refuse to lose the war to my son in his reign of terror in this household. So we watched a movie as a family. We watched the new movie on — was this HBO Max? I watched 8 Bit Christmas. Yeah, HBO Max. It’s a new HBO Max original. It’s a nice little family movie. Taking place at Christmas, a little bit of a like a Princess Bride vibe where you get a Neil Patrick Harris giving you a narration of a story when he lived in Chicago as a kid in the 80s. He’s trying to get a Nintendo. He’s telling the story to his daughter. And it’s just about him being a kid. You know, figuring out a way, he needs to have it. Everyone you know all these kids knew this. Who grew up through this phase. You needed the Nintendo. How are you going to get it for Christmas? And that’s the journey. So I watched half of it, okay? I slept through most of it. [Danny laughs] But what I saw I enjoyed. I award you a heart, go in peace.

DANNY Big night. Big night.

SLIM How do you feel — you made a comment — I don’t know if this is, I don’t want to reveal a DM. I don’t know where this comment was, but it was about the fact that you don’t have a TV. So without revealing that comment, just in case it was a DM, do you want to elaborate on that for me?

PROTO All I said is that — paraphrasing myself — having a television in your house increases the desire to watch a movie. Not having that may lessen someone’s desire to watch movies. That’s the gist of what I was saying. So that’s where I’m at right now. It’s dark times but we’ll get through this.

SLIM Well, we’re all praying for you, you’re in our thoughts and prayers. So something will happen because of that. I really, I believe it.

PROTO Well I did get, I received a message this this week actually. Or tonight. I was somewhere and I was given something. I was given a gift. I’ll just reveal it to you guys on the camera here. I was given a gift — do you recognize what this is?

SLIM What is that? Is that Ran?

PROTO Ran 4K.

SLIM Ohhhhh. Whaaaat?

DANNY What!

PROTO This was me as my guest tonight. This is a steel case. That’s what I’m holding.

SLIM Excuse me!

DANNY Oh my gosh.

PROTO Can you hear that? Can you hear that steel?

DANNY Listen to that.

PROTO So I think that this is a sign —

DANNY That your TV’s coming? [Slim laughs]

SLIM You can’t even watch it!

PROTO Yeah, this is the message. This was a message that I received today about the future.

SLIM The thoughts and prayers have already worked and it’s in the form of a steel 4K for Ran. [Proto & Danny laugh]

DANNY Everybody mail Proto a 4K disc right now.

PROTO Believe! You must believe! [Danny & Slim laugh]

SLIM Can you get a photo of that steelbook into the live chat? They’re losing their minds. They still haven’t recovered from my ‘one tower’ comment, so let’s please throw ’em a bone. We should say hello to some new patrons that joined us. New friends, joined us this week. Daniel and Jamie joined our patreon. You can sign up for four bucks a month. Get access to the exclusive VHS village Discord. Listen Live every week. Chat movies. 70mmpod.com. Photo has just been posted in live chat. And now there’s a meetups channel, believe it or not. Believe it.

DANNY Meeting up.

SLIM Believe it. There’s people getting together, watching movies together within, you know, six feet of each other obviously. And we just posted the Darjeeling Limited to the 70mm vault just for supporters. So you can sign up for a patreon to listen to exclusive episodes or become a supporter on Apple Podcasts and Spotify if you so choose. Casey’s asking in chat to hear about me watching Tick, tick… Boom! That’s a real thing that happened. Danny laid himself bear in front of us last week to talk about Tick, tick… Boom! so I felt like I had to support my dear friend.

DANNY Thank you.

SLIM And I watched it and I really enjoyed it. I liked it a lot. I gave it four and a half stars on Letterboxd.

DANNY That’s incredible actually. What did you like about it?

SLIM Loved the music. Andrew Garfield’s hair.

DANNY Right?

SLIM Andrew Garfield was — I don’t want to — nobody’s talking about this. I haven’t seen this written anywhere. Andrew Garfield’s an amazing actor. [Danny laughs] He’s a real talent.

PROTO In this movie?

SLIM In this movie, he is a talent. Ian in chat says I thought the four and a half star was a troll at first. He’s been conditioned to think that way. Yeah, I had a great time. I thought the music was great. I love the way the story played out because it was based on a off Broadway show that he did. And it kind of weaves in with the story. And you know, this is before Rent. So he has like this big failure. I had a lot of fun. I liked it a lot.

DANNY Thank you.

SLIM Good direction.

DANNY I’m happy you liked it. I was hoping for a minimum three stars from you. So four and half feels like a victory. Major victory.

SLIM Singing was great.

PROTO Danny is declaring victory at four and a half. [Slim & Danny laugh]

DANNY I have to. I have to know my limits.

SLIM I mean, can you imagine just being a rich, wealthy actor and you want to roll, you have to learn piano and you’re going to be taking singing lessons. Proto, can you imagine if you had the wear with all, the time. I gotta learn piano. I gotta learn to sing. I’m going to be in a movie.

PROTO I don’t know if I could do it. I don’t know if I could do it. These actors. How do they do it? How do they find the strength?

DANNY Our heroes.

SLIM Proto is on one tonight. He wrote that synopsis for Two Towers. He is on one.

DANNY He’s just ready to give it.

PROTO I’m free! I’m done for the night. [Slim & Danny laugh]

SLIM He’s off the clock. So I highly — it’s on Netflix. Everything Danny said last week was real. Every week we give out a free year of Letterboxd Pro. Gets rid of ads, you can see your stats at the end of the year. I mean, everyday you can see your stats. You can see where movies are streaming, you can find out where Tick, tick… Boom! was streaming, you wouldn’t have to Google it like some schlub. This week’s winner is Heston_4905 on Instagram. You did it.

DANNY Congrats.

PROTO Congrats!

SLIM Free year of Letterboxd Pro. They posted their Spotify wrapped this week on IG and we were their number one listened to podcast.

DANNY Wow!

SLIM 7000 minutes of our podcast has been consumed.

DANNY Wait how many minutes have we done?!

SLIM 70 episodes they listened to. Do you believe?

DANNY Holy cow.

SLIM Heston, why aren’t you in our Discord right now? Heston?

DANNY Heston, come home. [Slim laughs]

SLIM Doubble in chat, ‘You didn’t care when it was mine last year.’ Can we ban doubble? [Danny & Slim laughs] Ian in chat, ‘Heston, I will sponsor a month of Discord for you.’

DANNY The sponsorships are out.

SLIM What time we got here? 18 minutes. We got some VMs to get to. Maybe we just jump into Two Towers.

DANNY Was there something else you wanted to talk about? You look like there was something else.

SLIM Uh, no, I talk too much. I try to avoid me talking too much in this podcast. I have to hear myself while I edit, trying to cut myself. Imagine having to listen to your own voice three times, three to four times any given week in two hour edits, you know? Get tired of hearing yourself think!

PROTO You spend most of your day listening to yourself.

SLIM What does that do to a man’s psyche? Honestly! The Two Towers. This is Lord of the Rings Month. It’s time to get to the second one. The extended edish is streaming on HBO Max right now. Four hours long. We had a big hit last week. Danny was reviewing the number crunching machine, you know, the ticker tape. It’s printing out numbers. Big week last week for this. It’s all been leading to the second one now. Proto, we heard tell that this is a big synop that you have prepared.

PROTO Yeah, I spent some time researching, looking into, you know, Middle Earth and the history that it has. As I was doing it, I got sucked in, because I do this every now and then. I think whenever I watch one of these movies, I think oh, you know what, let me read read about the wizards again. But then you start clicking around, you’re like let me just read the Sauron synopsis one more time. Oh, what about this? Oh, he was lieutenant first, Morgoth, let’s read about that. Then you just find yourself wandering around. So I did a little bit of that. So I want to share a little bit of what I read about. And mostly dealing about with the race of men. In the First Age, Men awoke in the East of middle-earth and heard rumor of a great sea and a light in the west. They left Hildórien for the west, splitting apart, with some going north to the Forrest of Mirkwood, and others continuing west, settling in Beleriand, far west of the shire, passed the blue mountains. For their part in defeating Morgoth in the War of Wrath these men of the west were given the island of Numenor as a gift. The Numenoreans were a great people for a time, but over the second age they were corrupted by shadow and the deceit of Sauron. In their madness they attacked the Valar to their ruin and their island was swallowed by the sea. Seeking refuge in the east, Isildur and Anárion founded the realm of Gondor. They befriended the Northmen who were shared descendants of the Edain from the east. These men were known as the Rohirrim, the horse lords and a great ally to Gondor.

In time of the Ring, the world of men is covered in shadow. Theoden king of rohan is inveiled by the wiles of Saruman, his land overrun by orcs. Gondor is shrinking as the Dark Lord’s grip tightens, ready to crush the last bastion of race of men. Frodo and Samwise are seeking passage to Mordor, but many dangers lay in their way, including the greed of men. The fellowship has broken, but there is hope. Aragorn, rightful king of Gondor, stands with King Theoden. As 10,000 Orcs come from Isengard to lay waste to the Rohirrim, old alliances prove faithful, and the men of middle-earth seek to prove that they are not as weak as once thought.

[music from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers plays]

SLIM Proto just sat back, like his life’s work was complete in his throne. I was seeing some buzz in our Discord and on Letterboxd that this was like the favorite. You know, people were calling this their favorite of the trilogy. Is that the buzz that’s floating around Danny in your experience?

DANNY Yeah, I remember, I have a dear friend who watched a lot of the Lord of the Rings with me. And he’s like, probably the one person that got me into it as well. He kept saying how much Two Towers was his favorite. And I feel like it’s like The Empire Strikes Back of the trilogy. Like for sure, it’s great. I don’t know why it’s not my favorite, but I do enjoy it quite a bit.

SLIM On IG, we posted what version people prefer, you know, the extended, or the non-extended. 87% for the extended cut.

DANNY People are smart, we have smart people following us.

SLIM Proto, what’s your experience of The Two Towers? Do you hear those whispers that this is the one?

PROTO I was hearing those whispers this week. For me, I’ve never really felt that way though. I’ve always been a Fellowship guy. And then honestly, Two Towers is where I get stuck and I never make it to Return to the King. I usually get — I would always get bogged down watching this one. So like for me, in my head, this has always been number three of the trilogy in terms of which ones I like the most. But that’s without having seen Return of the King in so long. It’s just for whatever reason, that’s how I remember this movie.

DANNY The bogging down to me is the ent segments with Treebeard. They are mind numbingly boring.

SLIM There’s like two and a half hours of that tree. [Proto laughs]

DANNY Get me out of those scenes ASAP and they take the longest to get out of.

SLIM My first note — James was doing homework when I put this on right at dinnertime. I was running up against the clock last night to get this in.

DANNY My gosh.

SLIM And Gollum appeared on screen. And James said to me ‘’Is that Dobby?’’ [Danny laughs]

PROTO It’s Dobby all grown up!

SLIM This is just one of those things when I rewatch this, I have like this memory of me rewatching this movie a lot when I was younger. Like every one of these scenes, I was like, oh yeah, here’s that scene or here’s that moment. But I don’t know what happened in my life that like blocked out this timeframe. I don’t know if it was like overdone, or I just like forgot that I watched these a ton. I don’t know. Yeah, I remember like every scene I mean the big battle scene. Gandalf coming down the hill. But Proto, do you remember the first time you saw this movie?

PROTO I don’t remember the first time. I really don’t. I know, I mean it was in the theater. It was, you know, midnight showing. That’s how I saw all of these movies. But yeah, I don’t remember that night at all really. Yeah, I just remember like subsequent viewings. And I don’t really have like a clear memory of when I watched the extended. And I actually don’t even know which ones I watched the most, now that I think about it. Like some of this it felt, and maybe because it’s it’s been a while since I watched the whole thing, but it just felt so fresh seeing this again, even though I probably tried. I think I tried to watch it like three years ago. But you know, didn’t watch the whole thing.

SLIM Forrest is saying in chat, wasn’t there a ton of hype about the visual effects of the Battle of Helm’s Deep. I also remember that, when this movie came out, like the Helm’s Deep was The Matrix highway of this movie. And they’re like, Oh my God, how do they do so many characters? How is this done? And then you know, there’s like the making of previews and stuff.

PROTO I watched that one about the — what was that called? Like the warriors or something. It was one of the bonus features and it talks about Helm’s Deep a lot. But it’s mostly about the people doing the stunts in all those scenes. And it like follows them around. And just the relationship that they had with Vigo and Orlando. And it was actually really cool just seeing, like the little world. They had, like a barracks that they all lived in. And there’s like, I don’t know, like, probably like 50 of these, you know, stuntman doing these different scenes. So they were just like a family like, you know, recording all this. It was really cool to see.

SLIM Danny, what’s your background with Two Towers?

DANNY I’m in the same boat. I don’t remember the first time I watched this. I don’t remember getting into the extended either. But I know the attendants are all I watch. So yeah, my that’s really my background. And I also don’t watch this one as much as the others. Because Fellowship is my fave and Return of the King is so good. I don’t know why I don’t ever just throw on Two Towers, maybe because it’s four hours. But also it’s just not this is not a choice of mine to pick this one all the time. And it’s really weird. Because Helm’s Deep is pretty incredible. But also it takes like three hours to get to it with a lot of tree walking.

SLIM It’s nine hours of those hobbits and the tree in this movie. I still am blown away that they filmed all three movies together. Like the the length of these films, I just can’t understand the logistics of it. My little pea brain cannot wrap around the idea of them planning to film all of this in one shot. It’s just so bonkers to me.

PROTO Yeah, totally, totally. Especially when you see the work that went into the scenes. I also watched that one about like the the forced perspective. I have seen that one before. But watching that, again, just the amount of effort that it’s it’s not even like you’re shooting simple things, and it’s going to be nine hours long. You know, at the end of the day. It’s like these really complicated, complex problems that they have to solve with like cutting edge CGI at the time. And the amount of human effort involved. It really is mind boggling if how this could even be done. Like how do you even organize something like this? Like all the different people that worked on this. It’s insane.

SLIM Proto, what’s on your list for this movie?

PROTO First thing, I’d be remiss without talking about, again, the opening. I mean, when I think of this movie, I mean, there’s Helm’s Deep, but I think of this because man, just this, what happens with Gandalf of like you think, you know, especially I like read the book. So I knew the story. But if you’re going into this and you have no idea what happened to Gandalf in the movie starts with him and you like think he’s dead, and him grabbing the sword on the way down to fight the Balrog. Like oh my gosh, just incredible opening to this movie.

DANNY He stops being like just a wizard. Like he becomes like this warrior as well. And he’s battling this incredible creature and the shot of them falling out of the tunnel, into the giant cavernous lake, is some incredible shots. I can’t get over how good that is.

SLIM So I think I’m still the only person that watched the 4K UHD of this.

DANNY No, I’m done with those.

SLIM Danny quit 4K movies forever, potentially at your Fellowship of the Ring debacle. But I powered through and I will amend a comment that I made last week that everything looked good. This was the first movie where —

PROTO Uh oh.

SLIM I don’t know what changed or maybe the angle that I was watching on it because I don’t know if I was on the floor of this viewing. But some of the aged CGI started to show some tears a little bit.

PROTO Talk to us.

SLIM Notably on Gandalf on the, right before he gets pulled down. Like the special effects of him standing on the thing right before he gets pulled down. I was like, ehhh. That looked really bad. I don’t know if in 1080p that looked any better, but I was like, that has not aged well. And I do want to talk a little bit more about Gandalf, but like later when Gollum first appears that has started to show a little bit of an age. There was no like long extended stuff with Gollum. But the Gandalf appearing and he does have like staff, the staff changed hands when he like appears. Maybe the reason why I remember seeing all these scenes, is just for memes. Like you have seen maybe half this movie on Twitter or on a message board or on a Discord. And it’s like implanting fake memories of me maybe watching this movie as a kid. [Danny & Proto laughs] Isn’t that like a phenomenon that X Files talks about? I can’t remember what it’s called but that was like one of my first notes but I’d love seeing — yeah the Mandela Effect, Megan says. Yeah I think it has created that in my brain. But yeah, Gandalf the White appearing and then when they go to, I was cracking up, let me find the note, where he goes to save the king. Because he’s like, you know, Snape. Bargain bin Snape has transfixed the king. And Gandalf goes to like break the spell —

DANNY Cut the stream. [Slim laughs] I’m pissed.

PROTO Keep going.

SLIM He goes to save the king and the kings like you have no power here. And then Gandalf’s like, hold on. Let me take off my gray cloak. I’m actually wearing a white cloak, bro. And he’s like, oh god and now he’s like power works. I was cracking up.

DANNY Alright. [Slim laughs]

PROTO The power of the light.

DANNY Let’s move on. [Danny laughs]

SLIM I’m sorry! Just wanted to point that out.

PROTO What is he? Is he the guardian of the hidden flame? Is that his title? He busts that out pulling out the white robes. Ah, god, what a scene.

SLIM Yeah, it looks great. I loved how he was like walking in like with a limp too.

PROTO How about that line? So Gandalf, again, the best. His line when — I mean, I know we’re jumping ahead here — but when he confronts what’s his face? Junior Snape?

DANNY Gríma Wormtongue, please!

PROTO Gríma! He says —

[clip of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers plays]

PROTO What a line. [Proto laugs]

SLIM You know it’s funny you say that because I wrote — I think that entire scene where he’s talking with the king, the writing there is insane. I don’t know if that’s directly from the book.

[clip of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers plays]

SLIM And that entire exchange was like, holy hell, this is amazing writing. So good. And

also the music playing, during that entire thing. That whole sequence is just absurd.

DANNY Gosh, I feel like I watched the making of that scene. I can’t remember now. Shit. I should have watched it again. I think they film it a few times in him with different levels of makeup actually. Yeah, I can’t remember how it works.

SLIM Yeah, there was some miniature stuff too that I saw later in the movie. Like when the water comes in at the tower. That felt like pretty hardcore miniature work, which I appreciate them.

DANNY Yeah, yeah. And they use the same shot from Fellowship. Did you notice it? When the tree gets knocked in down into the thing, in The Fellowship they’re cutting the trees and dropping it out, in this one the tree is getting washed in and they flip it.

PROTO Is that the same shot?

DANNY It’s the same shot of the tree falling in. [Danny laughs]

PROTO That’s awesome.

SLIM Danny, what’s on your list before you strangle me for my Snape comment?

PROTO I wrote down Gollum. I still kind of — I think it’s incredible what they did and I still kind of get this kind of sense of after so many years watching these movies how groundbreaking of what they did with that character with Andy Serkis’ motion cap and because I think the moments that it kind of my jaw still kind of drops is when Frodo or Sam are interacting with the character, like when he attacks them or choking them. I feel like so much stuff doesn’t kind of hold up but him being able to have grabbed Andy Serkis’ hand and to be replaced by — it just feels like nothing else did it this well, and this felt like it’s set the bar for what to do with motion capture. I can’t get over how good, not just like the CG of Gollum, like yes, it’s aging bad, but just the fluidity of his movements and the interactions with the characters himself that still kind of holds up very well.

SLIM Yeah, it was a modern, it’s like a modern Jar Jar Binks, but works better than that. And I don’t want to say that like everything with Gollum looked bad. There was just like, some spots with like, shadows that just were like, obvious, like, yes, like, not there, etc, etc. But for the most part. I mean, yeah, it’s still revolutionary. I mean, not for the most part. It is revolutionary. Yeah, you know, the fact that he’s in so much of this movie and a CGI character. It’s still bonkers.

PROTO Yeah, visually it’s aging, but the the motion capture and what Andy Serkis did and how alive that character feels and just, it’s so believable. The movement, the movement is so good in this. So yeah, in that way. It’s it holds up like it doesn’t look you know, it’s aging in that in that way. But otherwise, it looks great.

DANNY Yeah, like shading, textures, shadows, all that stuff is just not aging well, but the actual performance of the characters still looks real solid.

PROTO I mean, I got to go back to Gandalf. How about Gandalf, he’s in his white get up here. And he’s calling his horse Shadowfax. His drip in this movie is unbelievable. That hair! Him whistling to this horse. I think he has Nikes on underneath the robe. [Danny laughs] Did you see those? He looked amazing in that scene!

DANNY I always love when Aragorn and Legolas and Gimli are walking up and he does the fake Sauron voice. Christopher Lee recorded the voice as well. Because it’s just a good bait and switch. I really dig it.

SLIM Yeah him saying how like long or to him that he was like in a comatose state, like Bill Pullman was in Sleepless in Seattle.

DANNY Not Bill.

SLIM Like he didn’t really even remember their faces. But then it like started to slowly come back to him.

[clip of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers plays]

PROTO Yeah, Gandalf, he lived millennia in between dying after the Balrog and him returning to this point now. And it’s been so long that he doesn’t even remember his name was Gandalf. Like, that’s how much time has passed for him between, like, when he died and seeing the hobbits, you know, Aragorn again, which is like a crazy idea. And he just says I am Soromon. Or Soromon as he should have been. Like it’s so cool. What a cool character where he’s like a different person at this point.

SLIM The music that plays when they ride their horses together. Are you kidding me?

DANNY Stop. It’s so good.

SLIM Are you kidding me? I mean, what a moment in that scene. Cripes alive!

[clip of music from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers plays]

SLIM Even the start of the movie where they’re chasing after the hobbits, you know, they’re like a couple days behind or whatever. All the shots are ridiculous. The long shots. I mean, how did they do it back then? A helicopter? I don’t know. Doesn’t make any sense.

DANNY A drone.

SLIM There’s no drones back then!

DANNY I mean, I think that whole running scene, I think I read that all three of them got hurt working on it. Not only the big, you know, Vigo kicking and breaking his toe on the helmet, but like I think Orlando broke a rib on those segments and then Gimli dislocated a shoulder as well doing all that stuff. So that whole them running after the orcs was a toll on them?

SLIM Can we get back to Helm’s Deep?

DANNY Have we even gotten there yet? My god.

PROTO One sec. One sec. I just need to bring up the man of the hour — Aragorn. How about when he — I mean Vigo in this movie is off the charts. Okay?

SLIM Sexual energy.

PROTO He’s off the charts. [Proto laughs]

DANNY Talk about drip.

SLIM Did you post the art? Did you post the art yet, of this episode?

DANNY No.

SLIM Please!

PROTO Poe Dameron speaking elvish to the horse. Am I in love? [Slim & Danny laugh] That was my other part — cut that out. Aragorn speaking elvish to the horse, my love. What my note was, was that this is my Poe Dameron, because I feel like here’s a trilogy. Right? Here’s a movie trilogy where in the second movie, this character Aragorn is established and given so much to his character that like means so much for the rest of the story. And you just see this character bloom. Where it’s like, a trilogy, this could be just about Frodo and Sam but there’s so many characters that are so rich in this. And the reason I was thinking of Poe Dameron is because I feel — not to bring up Star Wars in this holy moment. But, when I think of that character, he has like nothing, He’s like paper thin, I feel like through the new trilogy of Star Wars. And that’s like what I want for that that character. I wish it was it was so much more full in the way that Aragorn’s character is in this.

SLIM I mean, Poe in that first movie, electric. The memes, the gifs from that first Force Awakens movie, and then you know he goes through like the learning thing in Last Jedi, good or bad. And then I don’t know what happened in the third movie.

PROTO See?

SLIM Palpatine is back.

PROTO You don’t even care.

SLIM He’s back. We can’t dwell on it. But yeah, Aragorn is unreal in this movie.

DANNY Let’s move on.

SLIM Like every scene!

DANNY And then we add Karl Urban, Éomer. I mean, I can’t get over — I can never get over the cast in these films. And how perfectly cast everyone is. I love Éomer in this. Him and Éowyn, his sister, the Introduction to them is amazing. I love the two of them in this.

SLIM I mean Éowyn know what we see in Aragorn.

DANNY Oh, yeah.

SLIM She knows.

DANNY She knows.

SLIM Good heavens.

DANNY Karl knows.

PROTO You know who else knows? Liv Tyler. [Slim laughs] How about their flashback scene at Rivendell? You kidding me?

DANNY Unreal.

PROTO the romance.

SLIM Is this becoming Proto’s favorite Lord of the Rings movie as we discuss it?

PROTO Is this happening? That’s what I’m saying. That’s what I’m trying to say about this movie. You know? We’re getting there.

SLIM Let it out. Okay, so I tried and failed to bring up Helm’s Deep. We talked a little bit about it earlier in CGI.

DANNY You’re skipping like three hours ahead.

SLIM We don’t have to go in order. It’s our podcast, we can do whatever we want. Helm’s Deep. The big battle, them walking up there the army, and them thinking that they’re gonna hold this army back. I mean, Danny, how you feel about this segment of the movie? What’s it feel watching this again?

DANNY I don’t know. It’s hard to describe every time the scene sets up because I honestly every time it comes up I forget how long this battle is, like this battle, it feels like it’s an hour out of this film. The different setups for breaching the first wall, falling back to the keep and then riding out on the horses. But then you have Legolas snowboarding down the stairs firing off arrows, you have Aragorn tossing Gimli onto the front steps and then them going back to back swinging around. There’s so much to this battle on top of everything the the orc are doing. The raising of the ladders, the torchbearer running to blow up the hole in the wall, which gets me every time, like I laugh every time because when they drop the bomb inside or whatever you want to call it. There’s already 10 people holding torches around the entrance like just walk in there one of them but we have to wait for the the runner to blow it up. There’s just so much going on. And it’s a perfectly executed battle.

SLIM Yeah, I mean, it’s probably one of the top 10 action scenes ever?

DANNY Top five. Top three. [Proto laughs]

PROTO Keep going.

SLIM Danny just called it. Top three. Can we go higher?!

DANNY It could be one of the best!

SLIM Is it possible to go higher?!

PROTO Can I get a top two? [Danny & Slim laugh]

SLIM Proto, what are you thoughts?

PROTO Well, you know, Danny was, he’s nailing all the parts. But then the way this or this all come, no, no, it’s perfect because the way it all comes together, right? This crazy battle, all these things happen. They get locked inside of the room there and Aragorn is in there and just Aragorn, he is the king of Ghandour, the rightful king. And here he is trapped inside that throne room, right? And what’s his advice? Ride out with me. Are you kidding me? That scene, he’s the boss Aragorn in that. He’s like, he calls it like he sees him. Like, that’s what you got to do in the moment. And he nails it.

DANNY He knew, like he knew this was the move, and he was going to follow.

SLIM I mean, you get to the point — so they’re riding out on the horses, and they’re going down, like the steps and all this stuff or blow in through those orakai. You know, and I think like, right before that he remembers the quote from Gandalf. And then you see him, you know, I’m doing a little hand walking motion on the camera. He walks out there on that horse. And then like, I remember seeing this in theaters. I remember losing my shit when that scene happened in the theater. Like ohhhh my god. And then Karl Urban appears, then the light comes down as they’re coming down there. I mean, are we going higher than top two right now?

DANNY Listen, are we going up there?

PROTO What’s standing in our way? Can you even name a contender?

DANNY This is the number one best battle scene in all of cinema. You heard it here.

SLIM Golly! Yeah, I remember that scene. I just have like, just, I don’t rewatch these movies. But I remember that moment. 100%.

DANNY Everything else we talked about is downhill from here. [Slim & Danny laugh] We’re just cruising at this point.

SLIM That guy got the axe in the balls. I wrote that down. When he climbed over the wall. Good lord. Now, do we want to — go ahead.

DANNY No, no, I was gonna let you talk your way to this one. Go ahead. I know where you’re going. [Proto & Slim laugh]

SLIM You know where I’m going, I guess. Do we want to talk about Treebeard and his section of this extended cut?

DANNY How about him getting offended by being called a tree but his name is Treebeard?

SLIM It’s in your name.

DANNY I laugh every time. And then it’s all boring as hell.

SLIM I think one thing I forgot was how much of the movie rotates between the exciting stuff. And then this segment of the film. They kind of like come back I just kind of like eye rolled. Is that a normal feeling among Lord of the Rings fans like in the extended cut with this plot? Are we on a ledge here?

DANNY I bet we’re in the minority on that one probably.

PROTO Honestly I didn’t really mind it. I know what you’re saying. Because I have that memory as well. But for whatever reason watching at this time, I even enjoyed these bits of it. I feel like it gives it gives it like a good balance between the other stuff that’s going on with like Helm’s Deep. And you’re following just like these two different stories. Well then also with Frodo and Sam Wise, which we haven’t really talked about either that much. But it creates like a I mean, it’s very long, this is a long movie, it’s almost four hours. So you’re covering a lot of ground. So you have like this extreme action, where I think of like, all of him, the Helm’s Deep happened at once, it might be a little overwhelming. So even though this is like super chill, it also is like, I mean, it’s a good tribute to like, what is the story in the book. I mean, there’s so much that isn’t even here. Right? That goes on.

DANNY No, you’re right. So you got to know what happens.

SLIM I mean, they could have probably, I think they could have just trimmed it up. Like they went back to them trying to talk them into going to war maybe too many times. I mean, cut like five segments of them going back to them walking around, getting nothing done. You know, I don’t know. What is in the theatrical cut? Like, is this —

DANNY I couldn’t tell you. I don’t remember anymore.

SLIM Does anyone know in chat? Is this segment just way shorter in the theatrical with the trees? The other thing, I was actually listening back, you know, as I do, listening back to for like the eighth time, the last episode of Lord of the Rings, Fellowship. We didn’t really talk about any negatives. So this is probably the first time, really, that we’re digging into something that we or I didn’t like and Saruman, you know, Christopher Lee’s character, he’s in this tower. When the trees arrive, they show him at the top and he’s like looking down frantic. He’s like moving at the top of the tower. They cut to that same similar scene, maybe six times. And it’s the same thing. He’s just like looking down like oh, what’s going? Oh, no! We get it Peter! Show it twice! Tops! It was overkill.

PROTO Is it really six?

SLIM It is a lot!

DANNY It’s not. Just let him have this, Proto.

SLIM It’s a lot it’s more than twice. It’s maybe three or four times.

PROTO Two and a half, over under.

SLIM Maybe show it once. So it got to the point where I was like, did they just add this entire thing for the extended cut? Like did they not have any other footage of Christopher Lee when his tower areas being destroyed? I mean, like come on.

PROTO Perfect movie other than the two second clip that I kept hearing of Saramon looking down from his tower. [Slim & Danny laugh]

Who’s up? Is it Danny? What else is on your list?

DANNY The Introduction to Faramir I love as well. I mean, I love everything about this film, but Faramir, I love the character Faramir. When he catches Frodo and Sam watching the men walk through in the Olaphant and his little cave, you know, camp area. The introduction to him, the introduction, his father, and him learning about Boromir and how he died. The ring itself and it’s just a really, it’s just such a great interaction. I think a lot of that actually is cut from the theatrical. Especially the dream he has walking out to the boat, I think is also added for this. Seeing Boromir’s body. But yeah, I love Faramir a lot in this. Just being the guy in the shadow of the brother. The, you know, war hero, whatever. That Boromir is praised to be.

PROTO Yeah, I love the flashback scene, and just getting more Sean Bean as Boromir. Like he’s so good in that role. Just seeing the character again. You just love that it shows up in this movie.

SLIM Yeah, as soon as we got to him, I had like a vague memory of not liking his subplot. So I don’t know if it was more filled out in the extended cut that kind of like explains why he’s doing what he’s doing because maybe the first time I saw this movie, maybe I left to go the bathroom or something. And it showed that flashback where he was like being shunned by his father. So like when I had memories of this character, I still remember like, why is he doing this? I can’t remember. But then they showed the flashback and was like, oh, so he’s trying to impress his father, finally. Hannah in chat says a theatrical doesn’t do him justice at all. So maybe I didn’t misremember things.

DANNY Yeah, there’s a lot more out there for Faramir in this.

PROTO Another small scene. And I feel like there’s so many scenes in this that are not like the big players but the scene where Erlron is talking to Arwwn about leaving my notice that he’s making a pretty good argument. But just that to like that scene that feels like a scene. It’s probably just in the extended but like that is that like builds that character somewhat. Liv Tyler’s role is so small, but it adds such like a level of depth also to Aragorns’s character. And just seeing that scene in that argument that Elron makes to his daughter was so good. Especially from like, I think like a father daughter perspective of like being in that situation and like trying to convince your daughter of like, you know, your chances are slim here. You have a pretty safe bet of eternal life if you come with us. But a father like making that like plee with his daughter. I really love that scene.

SLIM I also just wrote down and quote ‘’man flesh’’.

PROTO Iconic scene.

DANNY That’s even on Letterboxd how he’s credited. Man Flesh Orakai.

SLIM What do your elf eyes see? I see another infamous Apex quote that we hear all the time playing Xbox.

DANNY Yeah, sorry. [Danny laughs]

SLIM So yeah, we haven’t talked about Frodo, Sam and Gollum. Is there anything in your notes about those three, Danny?

DANNY No, I feel like they’re very minor in this. I feel like their moments to shine are with other people. So when I think their biggest moments are with Faramir, being taken to the city. And when Faramir finally lets him go and stuff. There’s just so much about them. That is very minimal and this film to me, in my opinion. Hannah brings up a good point in chat. Sam’s speech is incredible that he gives as well. But yeah, I don’t know. There’s just not much to them in this to talk about. I guess there’s like a couple bits like when Sam gets stuck into the rubble and their cloaks act like a rock laying there at the feet of the men. I like that shot. That’s a really cool scene. But yeah, I feel like return the king is, in my opinion, the big Sam Frodo stuff.

PROTO But even then, I feel like this is Sean Astin’s moment. Like his performance of this is really great. Like, he really gave it 110%. In this, he’s more relevant than like, Frodo, I feel like, at least in terms of him speaking and like, you know, and just his scenes. Yeah, the speech at the end. I just love how it’s communicated, though, of the connection that Frodo and Gollum have. And just like the power of the ring, I feel like that’s really — it’s very subtle in this but they they work really well to communicate it. He has like that one outbursts where he’s like, overwhelmed by the ring. And he like yells at Sam. It just really like flushes out that side of the story.

SLIM Also the camera angle of him holding that little sword up to Sam was pretty cool.

PROTO Oh, yeah.

SLIM I think there was a call out in chat earlier of this Smeagol, Gollum conversation that was really well done earlier in the movie too.

DANNY The multiple personalities, yeah, it’s a solid scene.

SLIM That is all of my notes for The Two Towers. I did one — actually I stand corrected, when Snape 2 hands that letter signed by the king. There’s like this really big wax signature on the letter. God, that thing was huge.

DANNY My one little tiny note in it’s just a moment that I always look for and love in this, is when I think they’re at Rohan at this point. But it’s at night when Aragorn and Gandalf are having the conversation about what’s happening, what’s going on. And when Gandalf finds out that Sam is with Frodo, the light in his face, he just like perks up. I just — I don’t know what it is, but it’s just such a great moment. And Gandalf is just happy that Frodo is not alone. So it’s a solid, it’s solid. It’s such a good performance.

SLIM Yeah, I wrote down that scene. He’s like, you know, Frodo has to go alone. He must go alone. Oh, Sam’s with him? Okay, that’s fine. [Slim & Proto laugh] Proto anything else your list that we didn’t cover?

PROTO My last note is Pippin and Mary, you know, after the end of this, they’re at Isenguard, it’s flooded. They find a storage room of food. And so they’re halfway around the world. They’ve been kidnapped by orcs, but they still have their pipes intact. That’s commitment. Like how did those guys do that getting dragged across Rohan by these these orcs. But you know, I love this movie. I loved it more probably than the last few watches, especially like the aspect also of like, you know, these men, you know, who are so weak but they’re like fighting for their people. And just the story of you know, the two kings, and like, this is their last stand if they don’t stand here, the world will fall. Like, I mean, it’s so epic. And it really is. I mean, it’s a marvel. I wasn’t expected to feel this way. But I really love this and I wasn’t like before, I’d gotten bored or just like it’s too long and I would shut it off. But I felt so engaged this whole time. This is probably like my favorite viewing probably since the first time I’ve seen it. So I’m giving this five stars.

DANNY Oh my gosh.

SLIM Wow.

DANNY Slim before you talk. There’s one note you have to not skip over. And how you brought up in the beginning that there’s not two towers in The Two Towers. Can you explain your thought process on this one? [Slim laughs]

SLIM I forgot I even said that earlier in the show. Yeah, I didn’t consider Sauron’s eye a tower. Is that the other tower? Yeah, it’s just like an eye thing that you see from time to time. You know? Sauron’s eye. It’s like the tower and the eye.

PROTO It’s only only 1000 feet tall. Can’t be a tower.

SLIM Okay. Alright, let me get my final thoughts before we get Danny’s five star rating, I had a great time watching this. So many beautiful scenes. The greatest action fight scene of all time. But the tree stuff drug, the Sarumon oddities in the extended cut, we’re just kind of a weird aside that I didn’t like at all. So I am at four and a half stars for The Two Towers. Loved it, but there are some flaws in the extended edish that I wish he would have sliced out in my opinion.

DANNY That’s the same as Tick, tick… Boom! Are you kidding me right now?

SLIM Also, I love that like a four and a half star rating is like gastly to everyone. I knew it was calling but I’m not gonna bend over and give a five star that I don’t believe is a five star movie.

PROTO Do not do that.

SLIM In my opinion. So I’m gonna hold my ground.

DANNY We’re here for you. We’ll protect you.

SLIM Thank you. I appreciate you. Danny?

DANNY Yeah, it’s a five star movie for me. I’m with Proto this as well. There was something about this viewing, I guess I hadn’t seen Two Towers in a long time. I’ve seen fellowship I feel like a million times. But watching it, fresh eyes. I mean, a long time. Last year, but still. On purpose, with a purpose. And yeah, five stars. This is a great movie. Great film. Had a great time. I’m glad we could let everyone know that this is the best fight scene in all of cinema.

A podcast for film lovers, inspired by Letterboxd.

A podcast for film lovers, inspired by Letterboxd.