It’s hard for me to divorce my love of the books from my experience watching The Two Towers. When I first saw this movie, I had a very knee-jerk reaction to the changes from the books. For a while, I even convinced myself I hated this film. I don’t. But even watching it now, there are so many scenes where I wonder why they felt the need to change what I think was the strongest and most well-paced section of The Lord of the Rings.
The Lord of the Rings is probably the first thing I ever loved. And when I say The Lord of the Rings, I mean the fantasy epic written by J.R.R. Tolkien. As a young boy with a love of reading, I stumbled on the books before the movies made it to the big screen. I remember arguing with people about the books, rereading all three books after each film came out and arguing with people about the books, movies and whether or not the translations held up to Tolkien’s masterpiece.
When I first saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I exited the theater with an excruciating headache, a lingering sense of emptiness and a very strong desire to punch the film’s cinematographer. But then, I heard that everyone loved this film, some were even calling it the best of the series and I wondered if I saw the film in a bad mood. While I can say this viewing didn’t give me a headache, I still do want to at least slap Bruno Delbonnel around a bit and I still loathe this film.
1. Chocolat (1988)
After four bad to mediocre outings, the Harry Potter series gets a much needed change in style, direction and presentation. David Yates takes on the role of director for the rest of the franchise, teasing out the material for all its worth, while also making films that are strong in their own rights. Writer Michael Goldenberg also gives Steve Kloves a much needed break from adapting the books to the screen, opting for a much more trim and economical adaptation, and cinematographer Slawomir Idziak infuses the film with a potent mood and visual allure.