Less than a week after winning four Oscars for ”The Fellowship of the Ring,” New Line has released a preview of December’s ”The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.” Tacked onto the end of the first movie, the four-minute preview features brand new footage that unlocks secrets and provides the first glimpse of a number of characters who either didn’t appear or received only sparse face time in ”Fellowship.”
SPOILER WARNING: The following description of the ”Two Towers” trailer may reveal some things you’d rather not know, so don’t read on if you want to keep the mystery alive.
Gandalf the Goner?
Early in the preview there’s a shot from the perspective of what appears to be an assailant sneaking up on three members of the Fellowship: Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas. With his long, straight Albino hair, it looks like Saruman, but it turns out to be… Gandalf! Yes, looking far more youthful than the Gandalf we saw groan and grimace his way through ”The Fellowship,” he’s now referred to as Gandalf the White — a livelier incarnation of Gandalf the Gray. But with Gandalf dying in the first movie, some might ask: Why spoil the surprise of his return in the preview?
A fan site for the trilogy, TheOneRing.net, recently ran a poll at director Peter Jackson’s request asking fans what they wanted to see in the footage. Despite the spoiler factor, Gandalf the White was right at the top of the list. ”The ones who are going to go back again to see the extra footage are the fans — and to them it’s no spoiler [because it occurs in the book],” says the site’s Michael Regina.
Also prominent on that fans’ list of coveted footage is a glimpse of the Battle of Helm’s Deep. From the preview, it seems that Jackson’s vision is everything Tolkien described, and maybe more. Nearly half the footage is committed to building up to the first war cries of Orcs and men facing off at Helm’s Deep. Battle axes and staffs rhythmically stomp the rain-soaked ground. A seemingly endless wave of arrows flies in both directions. As quickly as ladders are raised to scale the defending wall, they are pushed back down, only to have 10 more ladders raised from a howling pack of invaders. Says Regina, ”Helm’s Deep is the real payoff. It’s the most anticipated scene for the people who have read the books.”
Gimme some tongue
The footage also offers a few glances of Grima Wormtongue, an eerie villain with oily skin and nappy hair who’s twice the backstabber that his master Saruman is. ”[Actor] Brad Dourif is a pretty creepy guy in the first place, so it’s no surprise that he really turned out as well as he does in the preview,” Regina says. The preview also shows the man he turns on, a very kingly-looking Bernard Hill as Theoden.