| No Star Wars-style scroll to bring you up to speed, no quick compilation of scenes from the first film, no opening Cate Blanchett narration?nothing. It begins in medias res, as though you had just stepped out for a few seconds to get more popcorn. If you didn’t see last year’s The Fellowship of the Ring, Peter Jackson, the trilogy’s wizardly director, isn’t about to cut you any slack.
“I know that New Line (the studio releasing the films) would have preferred us to have a little catch-up,“ says the director, sitting in an office in Wellington, New Zealand, speaking in a cheerful Kiwi accent and peering from behind a mop of curls and plate-size wire-rim glasses. “But I think that’s a very TV kind of device. I figured the amount of people going to see Two Towers without seeing Fellowship would be fairly minute. If you can’t at least spend $3 or $4 to rent it before you see Two Towers, there’s no point in going.“
You don’t often hear directors telling you to stay away from their pictures. But Jackson is the definition of a purist. For him, The Two Towers is not a sequel to The Fellowship of the Ring; it’s simply the three-hour second act of an epic nine-hour trilogy called Lord of the Rings. The complete dvd should be available in, oh, 2004.