We had a chance last night to see the new-and-improved
The Two Towers extended edition DVD. I recommend it highly. The special edition includes almost 45 minutes of footage not included in the theatrical release, and this added footage fills in some important holes in the narrative. Rabid Tolkein fans, of course, will love the new footage: The Ents are given a larger role, the character of Faramir is much more elaborated, and the events of the third film are foreshadowed far better, among other smaller but rewarding new bits.
Perhaps more importantly, the new footage makes the story more accessible to non-hardcore viewers. It really is a better film with a stronger story, but the running time is an obstacle for casual viewers. If you are neither a fan of the theatrical release nor a Tolkein purist, you’re not likely to commit yourself to the nearly four hours of the extended edition, and consequently unlikely to get the benefit of its clearer storytelling. But it’s worth it, and not just for the new scene of Pippin and Merry getting all giggly over a little bit of good Hobbit weed.
So check it out, and bring on The Return of the King. I’ll be happy to have the disappointing experience of Matrix: Revolutions washed right out of my mind.