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The Two Towers: Extended Edition


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I was able to grab the gift set on my way home from seeing The Matrix Revolutions in London this evening, came home, cooked a pizza and sat watching the thing for four hours and I absolutely adore it.

 

I always felt Fellowship won in being the superior theatrical cut. Both are a tie in their extended forms I'd wager, but everything that felt like a means of getting from A to B in the theatrical cut, Merry and Pippin and their relationship with Treebeard, Faramir.... they all get to be real characters in the extended version. I found the restored Treebeard scenes so endearing, especially one when he is reciting many a poem to the hobbits sending them to sleep, with his voice carried over a loving montage of some gorgeous New Zealand landscape shots and underscored by a charming new cue of score by Howard Shore. It's just lovely.

 

The box design of the four-disc set is the same layout as Fellowship, but red as we?ve seen. The bonus Gollum disc in the gift set though? Let me tell you. When I took this out of the set I was astounded, as it is not what I expected of its presentation. It comes in the guise of a hardback book. Feels like one, weighs like one, looks like one? Open it up and there is the disc, and to it?s right a beautiful booklet. Absolutely amazing. This and the lovely Smeagol bookend make the Gift Set absolutely irresistible to anyone in my opinion. It?s so lovingly crafted.

 

The flashback scene where we see Faramir, Denethor and Boromir together is really great. It's a great scene, but it's greater still because it adds good weight as to why the film incarnation of Faramir is almost taken by the ring. There is now a motive to his actions with much in respect of his want to please that bastard father of his. It probably wont please the absolute stubborn purists, but it plays so much better now that it doesn't just come out of nowhere as it does in the theatrical cut.

 

Gimli is played to be more of a comic relief, which some will either take to or not. I didn't really have a problem with it ("this new Gandalf is grumpier than the old one!"), but I can see that some may do. As we've known for a while, no alteration has been made to the Elrond/Galadriel telepathy scene. I've never hated it, it's just frustrated me, partly because it's a bit of an editing cheat as he reframed a few shots of Galadriel's eyes from Fellowship and put new ADR over the... Interestingly on the cast commentary, Craig Parker confirms they did shoot a council scene in Lorien where Elrond came to discuss the elves place in the war. I am anxious to hear what Peter Jackson has to say about this, and why he cut it.

 

As with Fellowship, The extended edition of The Two Towers feels like more of a journey. The passage through the Dead Marshes scene for example is a little over six minutes now, with a moment of stopping for rest, and extensions to the bits that made it into the theatrical cut. Our time with Frodo and Sam at the beginning is lovely too.

 

A GREAT thing the extended edition restores is the sense of the Hobbit way of life, their hearts and their humour. Some of the extra scenes with Frodo and Sam, especially the one at the start as they find themselves at the bottom of the cliff, is just adorable, and of course the many extra moments between Merry and Pippin are just charming. As they wade through the flood of Isengard at the end now, Pippin discovers an apple floating in the water. He looks up in the EXACT same way he did in Fellowship after being hit with the apple, as if to again wonder if apples had fallen from the skies. This leads to the wonderful scene when they discover the alcove of food and pipe weed.

 

Helm's Deep is a bit gritter now too. A few more limbs fly, and there are a few more Elven deaths (one especially nasty one where an Elf takes a slash to his pretty face from an Uruk blade for example). It is nice to have the Huorns in there now, though their departure from Fangorn through to their arrival at Helm's Deep amounts to little more than a minute and a half.

 

I'm thrilled...

 

Daniel

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Thanks for the write-up, Dan! I'm more excited than ever to get my hands on this set.

 

I was wondering, could you say a few words about the picture and sound quality of this release? I noticed that with the Extended Edtion of Fellowship, that the picture and sound were noticeably better than the first DVD release. Would you say that the same holds true with The Two Towers?

 

Oh, and I hate you for having this before me. Nothing personal, you know. It's just that you suck. ;)

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J-Fo. I spun it with the Dolby track this evening, and everything is very pleasing there. Of course one was to take into account the extended editions of the films have entirely new mixes as you'll here new sounds in scenes that existed even in the original cut, or different mixed levels for sounds from the original mix and so on, so sonically yes, it is a different experience, but certainly a superior one as it was with Fellowship. There's a decent balance to everything. I'll try the DTS track at the weekend when I spin it again for a friend and my brother.

 

Visually, right now I want to say yes it is better, but don't hold me to that just yet. Over the next few days I will investigate the video side of things in more depth, but things certainly seemed slightly more detailed and defined.

 

 

What's the street date in the US for this?

 

The 18th of November. Only reason I was able to get the region 1 set is, as I have explained before, in England importers of US DVDs have no reason to respect streetdates since technically R1 discs are not meant to be sold here anyway. :)

 

Dan

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Originally posted by PoisonJam@Nov 5 2003, 08:21 PM

The 18th of November

 

*ahem* which also happens to be a certain member's birthday...I won't give it away but his handle rhymes with Toys 'n Ham. Coincidence? I think not.

Of course it's not a coincidence that a certain member's name rhymes with Toy's 'n Ham, we're all adults here, we know what's up.

 

:P

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Hmm, should I be really annoyed that Dan has his copy when Movietyme haven't even shipped mine yet, despite getting their stock on Tuesday, or should I be sensible, and realise that there is little chance other than by seeing his copy, of me watching this in the next week anyway?

 

Mind you, our postal system is messed right up at the moment anyway, so its probably best it stays out of it. Still no sign of Dan's Rez.

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Movietyme did cancel the one I had on order with them after all, which I was so grateful for as I really didn't want to wait for that one to arrive, or be stuck with three of them. Really wanted to have two in time for the weekend, one for me and one for Rob for when he comes down on Sunday.

 

Just say the world if you're able to pop over Sunday for a viewing.

 

Dan

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