Well, since the other thread will likely become the "Discussion" thread, here's my review from last Thursday's Boston press screening (pays to be out of work on just the right day). Anyone who has heard me discuss television knows I don’t have much patience for episodes I describe as "connective tissue" – where the sole purpose is to get the larger story from point A to point B. There may be big events that go down, but it’s ultimately a somewhat hollow experience, because these events are disconnected from the beginning and end of the story. Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers is connective tissue. It gets you from Fellowship Of The Ring to Return Of The King, but that is for the most part all it does. Although it's a good movie, it's not an Empire Strikes Back that is interesting in its own right. Put it this way: I can watch Back To The Future II on its own, but I can’t see someone watching The Two Towers without having watched Fellowship the night before. The movie is enjoyable enough during parts – Gollum is quite remarkably realized, along with the rest of the world. And, oh, the finale is great – maybe not quite as astounding as that of Attack Of The Clones, but definitely in the same league. And the Ents. I loved the Ents. This is something that could have gone wrong so easily, and they’re not at all how I pictured them when I was ten, but Jackson & WETA get them just right – not quite the trees from The Wizard Of Oz, but just whimsical and delightfully unrealistic enough to jerk the audience out of the theater and into fantasy. Pippin & Merry with Treebeard and the other Ents is, easily, the best part of the movie. Not just because it is beautiful to look at, and because it shows us something we haven't seen before, but because it tells a story that actually comes close to being complete in and of itself. It's a great example of the macrostory structure - this story is good itself, and when combined with other stories, a larger story forms which is also good. The rest of the movie, though... On the one hand, you've got Frodo, Sam, and Gollum. And, let's be frank here – they're killing time. As the movie starts, they're approaching close to Mordor, and Frodo is more inclined to be merciful/trustful toward Gollum than Sam. By the end... Well, they're approaching Mordor from a different direction, and Sam has gotten to make a speech. Meanwhile, things move fairly slowly for the rest of the Fellowship. The pacing feels off, and there's little conflict within the Fellowship. Gandalf returns, but quickly goes off elsewhere. This whole thread feels sloppy, with the same information repeated several times, Gimli being a little too much the wisecracking sidekick, and even though what’s happening is interesting, the telling isn't quite up to snuff. What it adds up to is a movie that, while quite enjoyable, isn't at the level of its predecessor – where both movies are about the same length, The Two Towers feels long, while Fellowship was "just right". - Heavily skewed toward the production values.