Part 2 of the ''Lord of the Rings'' trilogy is finally here. tells you what you need to know before you step into the theater

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Credit: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: Pierre Vinet

It’s been a long three hundred and sixty-five days since ”Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” debuted, so don’t feel bad if you can’t remember exactly what happened. Use this handy guide to prepare for the epic part 2, ”The Two Towers,” which hits theaters December 18.

What’s the point of this whole Fellowship again? The Fellowship was formed to protect and guide the Hobbit Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), keeper of the One Ring. Frodo’s mission is to deliver the all-powerful, evil-inducing fingerwear to Mount Doom — the place where it was forged by the evil Sauron and the only place where it can be destroyed. At the same time, Sauron’s minion, Saruman (Christopher Lee), is busy trying to steal the ring back to use for his own nefarious ends.

What are the Hobbits up to this time around? Frodo and his gardener Sam (Sean Astin) head toward Mount Doom, guided by Gollum, the same creep who stalked them in ”Fellowship.” They trek through the bubbling Dead Marshes — lined with fire-belching hotspots and rotting carcasses — and suffer through Gollum’s schizophrenic behavior (his good side wants to help destroy the Ring while his dark side would rather eat the ”filthy Hobbitses”). Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd), last seen in the clutches of Saruman’s thugs, escape their captors and find refuge with the slow-talking, funny-walking trees called Ents (imagine Wilford Brimley reborn as an elm tree). After some persuasion, the Ents sign on for war against Sauron. If you ever thought trees were wimpy, wait ’til you see an Ent squash a whole mess of Orcs with one step.

Do we finally see our first big battle? Absolutely. Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), and Legolas (Orlando Bloom) end up at Helm’s Deep in the Kingdom of Rohan and join the first large-scale good-versus-evil rumble of the trilogy. Besieged by an army of Orcs and other meanies, the three count off ”…twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three…” as they tally their kills. By the time we leave them, each has surpassed 100. Aragorn, alone, offs that many as he rides down a narrow bridge, toppling every Orc in his way like a line of muscle-bound dominoes. As if that’s not enough, Helm’s Deep offers the best Dwarf-tossing scene in recent memory.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 179 minutes
  • Peter Jackson