Here’s the capsule review of the Two Towers “extended” showing today:
Only two restored scenes were particularly useful. The most important is the Boromir/Faramir Flashback. Say what you will about its overall usefulness to the plot, it was very interesting backstory in its own right. The other scene is the Eowyn’s Stew bit, mostly useful for showing us what a good cook Eowyn is. No no, that’s not right. It’s useful because we find out Aragorn’s age (which isn’t interesting in and of itself, but learning his age tells us something about his lineage).
Another restored sequence is a bit of characterization goofiness from Merry and Pippin, where they find Saruman’s stash of pipeweed. Oddly enough I was delighted to see that sequence, since it’s one of the few bits from the books that remains vivid in my mind years after the reading. Your enjoyment mileage may vary, of course. Of questionable value is another “let’s give Merry and Pippin more screen time” sequence involving some magic water…
As with Fellowship, most of the restored footage took the form of “making existing scenes just a bit longer.” Well, I can’t forget the additional Gimli, Comic Relief Dwarf moments. Le sigh. I was sort of hoping that the trend begun with the Fellowship extended release would continue, but apparently the movies’ creators don’t share my despair at using the dwarf almost exclusively for very cheap laughs. Ah well.
Is Two Towers better in its extended form? Absolutely. Nothing is changed about the overall tone or pacing, and while some of the originally-excised scenes weren’t necessary for the sake of audience comprehension (we don’t need to see Theodred’s funeral: we know he’s dead) they don’t detract from the film either. No, not even the Comic Relief Dwarf moments. (I admit to laughing at the last one of those.)
Mind you, most of the people who might find this review useful have probably already purchased the appropriate DVD release. Ah well…
I have yet to see the extended versions of either, but I’m glad to hear that they included the whole Merry and Pippin/pipeweed thing. I’m just a stickler for the book stuff.
I did indeed purchase the extended version DVD. But it’s still nice to see I’m not alone with the “dwarf humor” and the eye rolling.