I just finished watching Extended Edition of The Two Towers.
It is totaly amazing.
42 mins of additional footage really fill-in the gaps. When I watched the original movie, I felt that some things are missing, that story cuts too quick to some scenes. I was also puzzled why have Peter Jackson and co. did some things.
Lots of spoilers follow - do not read if you prefer to see it fresh and new.
For instance, part when Faramir takes the Frodo to Gondor (ok, Osgiliath; his intention is to take him to Gondor). We all know that in the book Faramir is a unique man who is unseduced by the power of the One Ring.
In the movie however, he is drawn to it. Why the hell he wants to take the ring to Gondor - the scene just did not make sense. That was the only real weak part in the theatrical version. EE gives the answer, with the scene with Denethor and his two sons. Chance for Faramir, captain of Gondor, to show his quality receives its full meaning.
Most of the scenes are extended, and there’s also a bunch of new ones. Burial of Theodred is one of the wonderfull added scenes, with Eowyn singing the lament on the language of Rohan - the only time when you actually here it in the movie (originally, Tolkien used old British as the the language of the Horse Lords).
As with most of the scenes involving Merry and Pippin, there are new scenes that catapult you straight into good mood. One is the scene involving Old Willow, where he traps them in its roots and Treebeard saves them. Actually, this is other tree, deep in the Fangorn Forrest, while Old Willow leaves in the Old Forest near Shire. I bow to PJ for making this scene an homage to that wondefull old tree - the scene fits perfectly.
Another one is near the end, when Isengard is flooded, Saruman is trapped inside the Orthanc, and two Hobbits discover his store room, full of apples, meats and…weed. Wondefull commercial for tobaco and marihuana :).
Ah; they are just lovely.
Battle scenes are mostly intact, with one extension to the final battle, which saves the day for PJ. Although I’m perfectly happy with the changes (mildly speaking) he introduced into Helm’s Deep showdown, many people critisized it. EE brings the scene where Fangorn trees walk to the battle scene and demolish the fleeing Uruk-Hais and Orcs. Wondefully done.
In the end, my two favorite scenes remain: Host of the Eldar coming into the fortress of Helm’s Deep, and the Attack of the Rohirrim. I’m a sucker for medieval battles, no doubt. I can’t wait to see Return of the King. I’m dreaming the Battle of the Pelleanor Fields, the ghost army, Eowyn and Witch-King duel…Peter Jackson has not failed my dreams so far.
I expect him to blow me away with the final chapter. Less than a month left…