Matthew Lickona 1 p.m., July 22
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
- Rated PG-13
Another three hours on the journey of a thousand miles, with pretty much the entire third hour given over to a single indecisive battle. (And now: "The battle for Middle-earth is about to begin.") The viewer who did not scrounge up the video of Part One for a refresher, or who has not committed the Tolkien books to memory, might have some difficulty getting his bearings. More simply, the storytelling is terrible. (Yeah, sure, the technology is terrific.) Every now and then someone, usually Viggo Mortensen or Orlando Bloom, will give a decent impression of being a legendary hero in a timeless landscape, but the point and purpose remain vague generalities. And the subhead of Part Two notwithstanding, it will be futile to search for 9/11 prophecy beyond (once again) the vaguest generality: "So much death! What can men do against such reckless hate?" With Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Ian McKellen, Bernard Hill; written and directed by Peter Jackson. 2002.