Lord of the Rings, The: The Two Towers Rebuilt

Lord of the Rings, The: The Two Towers Rebuilt
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Brief Synopsis:
If Fellowship of the Ring and Return of the King could speak, they would say, “Oh, Two Towers Rebuilt, how we love thee, in the way that you complete me!”
To put The Two Towers on a cinematic par with its companion movies and thereby complete the trilogy.
Special Thanks:
1) Captain Khajiit for coming up with the name and his amazing technical help.
2) AEmovieguy for being there for me in a pinch.
3) Chris Taylor for his excellent vector based map design of Middle Earth.
4) Kerr for paving the way with his excellent book-based edits.
5) All the frequenters of my In-the-works thread and chat room who have tolerated 6 months of cyclical bragging and a bitching about this thing I have birthed.
Release Information:
  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray
Special Features
* Through the Looking Glass: A one-hour biopic biopsy of the making of the movie and the fanedit, compiled from over 20 hours of material.
* Special Map Video exploring Middle Earth (map design by Chris Taylor.)
* 3 excellent trailers for promising-looking upcoming edits made by other faneditors.
Editing Details:
I would not have embarked on this massive project if not for my deep love of the books and Peter Jackson’s movies. Peter Jackson’s trilogy came so near to perfection, which is an amazing feat in its own right but also serves to make this flawed middle chapter all the more painful. Once a year I watch The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, and once a year I cringe through the viewing of The Two Towers. It does not help either that this is my favorite of the books.

The Extended Edition (runtime 235 minutes) improves upon the theatrical edition. Some problems such as the total emasculation of Treebeard’s character (who is of central importance to the story) are greatly improved, but it doesn’t solve all the problems, and it even creates a few new ones with pacing and timeline. When one really starts to analyze it, both the theatrical and extended editions look beautiful but feel like they had incomplete and sloppy post production editing work. There are numerous problems with narrative, characters, plausibility, pacing, tension, & timing.

The Two Towers Rebuilt Edition (runtime 195 minutes) includes many small trims, scene re-ordering, and a couple major narrative changes, as well as some re-scoring & foley work. Many extended edition scenes are used even though the runtime is comparable to the theatrical edition. Scenes such as the Battle of Helm’s Deep should now have an intensity that carries all the way through to the end. Whether you are a critical or casual viewer, the overall movie should flow better and feel more satisfying.

Technical considerations with medieval combat and the laws of physics are now considered.

The character arcs of Faramir & Frodo have a very different conclusion. Other characters such as King Theoden & Treebeard are more empowered characters with a stronger presence.

Problems Peter Jackson faced with chronological intercutting of the storylines as it relates to tension and narrative have been resolved. Continually we are robbed of tension by being told too much. (Ex: “What’s that noise?” “Well Pip, back in the shire I once heard this story about trees that could come alive!”) The Ent story arch now fits with the overall timeline of events without sacrificing dramatic tension.

The overall pacing in the movie is now much faster with a stronger focus on the central characters leading the narrative. The tension and believability is much greater because: 1) Nothing is given away ahead of time, 2) Better timing cuts, 3) Less stupid antics, & 4) An improved narrative with a timeline that makes sense.

The highest video & audio quality standards have been used to create this edit, including HD 1080p video & DTS 5.1 surround audio on the blu-ray release. The Rebuilt DVD release has been meticulously downsized from the high definition source material and surpasses the quality of the studio DVD release in many scenes. The DVD includes a dolby digital 5.1 surround audio track.

All this and more is discussed in the “Through the Looking Glass” joint documentary about the making of the movie AND the fanedit. It compiles ~20 hours worth of material into one comfortable viewing session and can be found as a bonus feature on the enclosed disc.

Hopefully this edit will achieve for many of you what it has for me, which is to put The Two Towers on a cinematic par with its companion movies and thereby complete the trilogy. Peter Jackson and team have my eternal gratitude for coming close to perfection in their telling of The Lord of the Rings. It has been my honor to take it to the finish line.

Hope you enjoy,

Cuts and Additions:

*All timecodes correspond to Rebuilt edit timeline*

0:04:27 – Rebuilt title added.
0:15:01 – Numerous cuts in following scenes. Aragorn and crew chase scenes get spliced together & Mary & Pip scenes get cut. Prologue scenes introducing Rohan characters get for pacing reasons and because they tell us nothing we don’t learn through our main characters in their journey just like in the book.
0:18:26 – Saruman monologue tightened. section cut after “a new order will rise.”
0:19:38 – tiny changes to kids on horse scene & some slow motion.
0:20:29 – cut to fellowship meeting Eomer. here and later through gandolf we learn every thing we need to know about the state of affairs in Rohan. Anything not told we quickly figure out with the characters once arriving at Edoras.
0:25:28 – much reordering, splicing, cutting, trickery, & audio work to keep fellowship scenes together so that we feel what they feel about the fate of the hobbits.
0:26-35 – flashback to Mary & Pip with orcs camped at edge of Fangorn Forest.
0:27:00 – Cut to make Mary more ignorant about Ents & not give away that surprise for audience.
0:27:28 – much splicing, score, & foley work to keep all mary & pip scenes together. also some slow motion.
0:50:34 – Resequencing of Forest landscape pan shots in this scene. Some used for later scene at end. some slow motion & new fades.
0:56:29 – Some cuts & audio work to make it more convincing that Frodo wouldn’t be scene running down the hill & trying to rescue Sam.
0:59:34 – Cut the drinking of the ent water for pacing and to skip the getting buried by the roots scene that looks terrible IMO. (this one was a hard cut for me because I do love the banter here between mary & pip).
1:19:00 – Cut mad horse stable scene. Also cut Wormtongue & Saruman discussion about Aragorn. Also cut a few Theoden lines.
1:21:05 – Major resequencing, audio work, & cuts to remove all warg stuff. Two different wormtongue scenes are combined with new voiceover as Rohan people trek toward Helm’s Deep. Gandolf reveals his army much earlier and sends them off to war. Time is of the essence for our heroes. Tension maxed (hopefully) for audience right at middle point of this movie.
1:22:39 – All ent scenes except for end battle are now resequenced to come earlier in movie as well so overall timeline is as close to accurate as possible. Here we cut to Treebeard & hobbits watching Saruman’s army marching away, and then entmoot begins. (Remember that in order for the trees to march all the way to Helm’s Deep in time to squash orcs, they shouldn’t leave more than a day or two behind the orcs.)
1:34:24 – Minor slow motion, removal of to be continued, cut to resequenced scene of Aragorn revealing his age to Eowyn.
1:38:45 – The Arwen flashbacks are shortened to the essentials & intercut with Aragorn speaking wtih Eowyn while they march. I very much like the idea that Aragorn doesn’t know whether or not Eowyn has departed these shores. His doubts gnaw at him here. Hopefully the way it is cut retains the poinancy of the Arwen & Aragorn relationship while getting through it faster.
1:42:52 – Some purty slow motion & crossfade.
1:43:12 – Resequence and small section cut from conversation between Elrond & Galadriel. No reference is now made to “The Captain Of Gondor” specifically.
1:45:30 – Resequence of scene about dwarf women.
1:46:44 – Many changes. All warg stuff & Aragorn going off cliff and relevant Arwen stuff related to this cut. Instead everyone enters Helm’s Deep together.
1:48:04 – A bit of foley work & foreshadowing of what we were told about earlier now regarding the weakness of the wall. The original voice over in this scene was movied to earlier in the movie.
1:48:09 – Resequenced cut to Forbidden Pool.
1:52:08 – Small trim to beginning of Boromir flashback & some audio work. Beginning speach is pointless and works better starting flashback focused on Faramir, considering it is his memory we are seeing. I also prefer the audio fading in with the “For Gondor” chant.
1:55:51 – small trim & fade out tweak for consistent looking flashback transitions.
2:03:16 – Resequenced cut to night entmoot scene (with small trim) in which it is decided that hobbits are not orcs. Audience is left hanging on entmoot decision. (a previous entmoot scene is cut entirely for the sake of pacing & flow.)
2:05:06 – Numerous small cuts to remove some lines where fellowship is pointlessly undermining and questioning Theoden’s orders except for Gimly’s line about “this is no small band of orcs.” That line is relevant. The rest just weaken Theoden’s character and make the fellowship sound whiny, or even worse, the fellowship gives bad advice such as sending out riders. That is what Gandolf is doing! And as if riders could accomplish anything at this juncture even if they somehow managed to not get killed by the approaching enemy army.
2:06:38 – Numerous small trims & tricks throughout these scenes to hide as best I could the ripped & bloodied patches on both of Aragorn’s arms. The “You must rest” line is kept. It might seem out of context now, but it wouldn’t feel that way if you had never seen the original version. You would just assume that this means his is working harder than everyone else and not sleeping in order to get everything ready before army arrives. This is a good thing for Aragorn’s character.
2:08:25 – Scenes of Aragorn fight with Legolas and acting like a whiny bitch cut. Pace quickened.
2:10:10 – Aragorn is our superstar giving everyone hope and being the man he needs to be.
2:11:47 – Cute loving fellowship scene that is now an expression of love and support amongst friends before the battle instead of an apology.
2:17:14 – “So it begins” Theoden line cut.
2:19:39 – Beginning here in the battle many cuts start to occur to keep the battle more realistic and serious. Less ladders knocked over, which is completely unrealistic in medieval warfare. (consider the physics involved & consider that if it were possible, why wouldn’t they just do that to every ladder before a single orc could climb up?) Legolas shenanigans toned down.
2:22:49 – All of ent scenes removed here and resequenced later in movie.
2:24:20 – Aragorn no longer commits suicide by jumping off the deeping wall into the entire horde of orcs with spears raised and then somehow surviving all alone and getting back on the other side of the wall. Oh, also cut to resequenced osgiliath scene.
2:28:09 – Orc doesn’t jump on Aragorn’s back like a fucking tard. The remote possibility that Aragorn & Gimli might survive their heroic sacrifice to give time to bar the door now more believable.
2:28:43 – Very important cut back to resequenced osgiliath scene. In original this flows right into next Helm’s Deep scene where they fall back to the keep for the last stand. Effectually it makes it seem as if Aragorn’s and Gimli’s sacrifice was totally pointless since they break through moments later.
2:29:50 – minor trims & setup for major obvious change with all new flashback scene where everything clicks for Faramir at the realization how his brother died. The death of and love for his brother and the revelation coming in this place where he last saw Boromir is the trigger that allows Faramir to break free of the ring’s hold over him. NOT SEEING FRODO TRY TO HAND THE RING TO A FRIGGIN NAZGUL! That would only succeed in driving any sane man to take the ring from Frodo immediately and never let that weak-ass hobbit anywhere near Morder.
2:33:13 – Deleted nonsense about there being a way to get the women and children out. How could there be? Plus it was already stated earlier that there wasn’t any way out. Why not have everyone escape that way then? Plus it just robs the movie of tension if there is a way out.
2:35:12 – Horse charge down the bridge cut back to a plausible looking length of charge instead of bowling through every single orc down the entire length of the bridge.
2:36:25 – Minor trim to tighten up gandolf horse charge so that horses hit orcs right as the sunlight blinds them instead of when they are only halfway down the hill with time to adjust and reset the defensive line.
2:36:39 – Lots of resequencing, cutting, slow motion, & audio work to quickly segue to Sam speech without jarring audience more than necessary in the transition.
2:38:10 – New forest shots (one shot taken from Planet Earth) for Sam voice over.
2:39:36 – small cuts and audio work to remove lines about “You know the rules of your father” stuff.
2:40:37 – New transition after orcs get squashed by trees at Helm’s Deep to Treebeard at Isengard. Treebeard scene is cut to show that Entmoot definitely decided on war. We see the trees head off to chase down the orcs, which hopefully cues the audience in that these events are actually taking place earlier (days earlier) in time prior to the Battle of Helm’s Deep. The scenes of Ents attacking Isengard are all spliced together. Even spliced together the scene is still only five minutes long. There is never much doubt that they won’t succeed, so instead of intercutting with Helm’s Deep and breaking the tension of that scene (as well as confounding the timeline), we now get a happy ending epilogue of Ent ass whooping. Many splice cuts, music, foley & slow motion work in Ent battle.
2:45:14 – Unfortunately quick shot of Aragorn embracing Eowyn was necessarily cut. It just didn’t flow properly anymore.
2:45:50 – Small trims to Mary & Pip epilogue scene referencing the growth spurt scene earlier that was cut and some not-so-great comedic lines. Scene ends on the stronger line about “could be a distant relative” instead of “don’t be hasty.”
2:53:48 – Credit additions & adjustment.
Cover art by geminigod (DOWNLOAD HERE)


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(Updated: September 17, 2012)
Review by BladeRunner391 — May 6, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

*This rating was given before reviews were required*
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(Updated: September 29, 2012)
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Review by spelledaren — May 15, 2012 @ 5:10 pm


So let’s get started!
It’s different, watching an edit where you already have your own version planned out. You discover some things that can be done in better ways, and at other times you are seeing what’s been left in that you have taken out yourself. I’ll try to stick to what works for the movie here, and not get stuck on artistic differences.

First major change in the movie is that we don’t see Merry and Pippin at all early on, the reasons for this have been given and make sense. But (always a “but” aint there?) when we first zoom in on Aragorn he states that “their pace is quickened…” and we came to this shot straight from Frodo & Co. Even I, knowing the movies by heart at this point, wondered for a second whom he was talking about. The trouble is that you are not helping the audience at all here. Even if we can assume that they saw the first one, they might not remember exactly what happened at the end of FotR. The names of Merry and Pip and not mentioned, nor anything about orcs.

This decision to take one story at a time also sets up the very tricky edits of the orc camp site, for both parties. For me, this one didn’t pay off.

Rohan introduction gone. I totally get the point of following our main characters. We still get some sort of intro later on with the Eowyn/Grima scene, where no protagonists are present…you could skip that one too, to be consistent. I like the Rohan parts (mostly) but they can be removed like this. The fellows meeting with Eomer is a good introduction for him!

Much better scene at the Black gate, though I dislike Sam’s falling at all. And the soldiers still get extremely close before Frodo hides them.

I love the funeral scene, but it doesn’t have such an impact with so many Rohan scenes gone from earlier on.

Some good cuts follow here…mad horse and some tightened dialogue.

Entmoot earlier on: very good.

I truly dislike that Eowyn does horrible stew.

The Arwen/Aragorn stuff gets a bit much here…I like them, but it gets…slow? Combined with less action the journey and arrival at Helm’s Deep feels a little ‘meh’. It’s odd to focus on Eowyn here, I’d suggest using the “make way for the king” scene as an arrival for everyone.

Much of the Warg stuff is of course horrible, so no problem that it’s gone. But you set up a bunch of problems later on…

The main problem as I see it, is that they know nothing about Saruman’s forces. As we don’t get the scene where Aragorn returns with news of the Uruk-hai, there isn’t any information about what’s facing them or when. Add to that the feeling of despair that creeps over them, Theoden’s speech, the boy saying they won’t live the night, the mood of the scenes, it doesn’t make sense. You are not providing the characters with the means to feel like they do. With the addition of the elves they should feel almost glad, safe!

It’s very good that Aragorn doesn’t undermine Theoden. Thank you.

Legolas saying that Aragorn needs to rest doesn’t work. Start in on Eowyn a moment later instead.

At 2:08 you have a sound remnant going in to the shot of the wall. I think it’s marching orcs.

Some good tweaks to the preperations, and several good changes during the actual battle. I like the current flow of it.

Very important change of timing for Gandalf’s light. Thank you.

Faramir: some bold editing here! I really like this effort. I was moved on the second flash back’s last part, the one where the ring is in focus again (in Osgiliath). Something I don’t like is that Sam tells everyone about the One Ring right there and then (“You want to know why Boromir died?”).

Sam’s speech. I’m sorry, I can’t like this. It’s one of his finest moments in the series, and the imagery you inserted doesn’t work. It’s a big fat ‘huh?’ moment. And the nazgul scene before it, and Frodo’s “I can’t do this”…no. You lost me here

It is VERY good that Frodo doesn’t walk up to the Nazgul and faramir sees it. It is one of those shockingly stupid moments of the movie series. Which is sad, because it is also beautiful!

All the ent stuff in one go – I get the motivation, but I don’t think it worked out to your favour. I prefer it the way it was. Very awkward cut back to Helm’s for the Legolas/Gimli scene.

I liked a lot of what I saw, I disagreed with more than a few things. I would have liked the editing to be even bolder, but we should remember that this is supposed to fit in with the other two movies, un-edited. So I guess it can’t stray too much…

Some editing choices didn’t work for me, others were very good indeed. Video editing is great in general. There is the one scene with the flying nazgul that didn’t look good (to me) and then there is the fades…I found them ok. Sound editing is great in general, and I know how hard this one is with the sound. I did notice some sudden drops in music level and the like, but only the one bit clearly out of place (as mentioned above).

Rating this 7 out of 10. Worth watching!
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(Updated: September 17, 2012)
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Review by Captain Khajiit — April 7, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

N.B. This review contains spoilers.

Geminigod’s edit is well thought out. His attempts to correct narrative problems are creative, and his solutions to a range of other problems, including those relating to tension and plausibility, show both good judgment and editing skill. The editor has a consistent vision for the edit and implements it successfully.

Despite the edit’s many merits, not everything worked for me. I did not like the inserted material on the march to Helm’s Deep (though I understand the reason for it), nor did I feel that the resolution to Faramir’s arc quite came off, because there were too many dissolve transitions in a short space of time, and because I did not think that the second flashback to Boromir’s departure was necessary: it was bold and resourceful, but did not ultimately work for me. Some elements of the Two Towers that I dislike are still present, such as the Elves at Helm’s Deep (not because it is not in the book, but because I simply do not like it) and some of Gimli’s antics. While I appreciated the edit very much, it could never be my preferred version of the film.

I watched the DVD release, which was of very high quality. Animated menus are rarely to my taste, but this one was well designed. There is excellent cover art and a documentary.

Video: 10 out of 10
Audio: 10 out of 10
Editing: overall, 9 out of 10 (from a technical standpoint 10 out of 10; editing choices 8 out of 10)
Entertainment: 8 out of 10
Presentation: 10 out of 10

Overall: 9 out of 10

This edit is highly recommended.
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I never read the LOTR books so I am in no way an authority as to how this compares or if it's better.

But I love the LOTR movies. This was a great edit, it doesn't replace Two Towers for me, but it was still fantastic to watch.

Mucho propos to gem for this, especially the documentary he put together.

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This edit was a labor of love for geminigod, and it shows. The end product is of amazing quality, with a wonderful accompanying documentary to boot.

I'm possibly the only person in the world who loves the original extended Two Towers, and actually find it the most enjoyable of the three. Where FOTR is too cold, ROTK is too hot, TT is juuust right. So do I prefer this to the original? No, not really. I can understand why the choices were made, and can agree that certain scenes probably deserve to be cut (the Wargs display some pretty awful CGI work), but for me, I like my two towers wargs and all (sorry...).

But that doesn't mean it's not a great edit. Geminigod's editing skills are exceptional, and they are on display here, and great care has clearly gone in to constructing the narrative that gemini wants to see in his vision for this movie. And that's ultimately what this fanediting game is all about.

I thoroughly enjoyed the documentary, and highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. I also loved the high def and amazing sound quality.

Great work Gem
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