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New Escapist Column! On What Makes “The Two Towers” the Best “Lord of the Rings” Movie…

I published a new column at The Escapist yesterday. This week, to mark the twentieth anniversary of the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings, we’re taking a look back at the trilogy as a whole. We’ll be publishing three articles looking at the films, one each day. This is the second.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is the most interesting film in the trilogy, in large part because it’s neither beginning nor ending of this epic saga. It is instead the story about what it feels like to exist in the middle of this epic struggle between good and evil, feeling small and powerless as the forces move around. It’s the most human of the films in the trilogy, the most nuanced, the most complicated. It is the only film that really lets shades of grey creep into the mix of its epic black-and-white morality.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.


Non-Review Review: Star Trek (2009)

This August, to celebrate the upcoming release of Star Trek: Into Darkness on DVD and blu ray, we’re taking a look at the Star Trek movies featuring the original cast. Movie reviews are every Tuesday and Thursday.

Star Trek was not in a healthy place at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century. The last film, Star Trek: Nemesis, had been box office poison – partially due to the terrible script and direction, and partially due to the monumentally stupid decision of opening it during a winter season including The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Die Another Day.

On television, things hadn’t been much brighter. Ratings had been in decline since Star Trek: Voyager hit the air, and Star Trek: Enterprise went through both a re-tool and a creative shift before becoming the first Star Trek television show since the eighties to be cancelled before running a full seven seasons. Even the most ardent Star Trek fan would have to concede that the franchise did not appear to have a bright future at that point in time.

And yet, against all odds and despite all the goodwill the franchise had lost, JJ Abrams and Paramount managed to reinject both an energy and a vitality into the film, producing one of the best blockbusters of the decade.

A commanding Enterprise....

A commanding Enterprise….

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