Lord of the Rings- The Two Towers
For many wargamers the excitement of Christmas was heightened by the knowledge that the too long awaited second film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy was to be released. Certainly it was to one of the highlights of my seasonal celebrations, and I had bought tickets a month before the morning in which I herded my kids into the local flicks for new adventures in Middle Earth.
Lets get the moans out of the way first! The story has been changed somewhat to more readily suit the editing of the film; this will upset the purists, and jarred with me I have to admit. But ok it was bound to happen I suppose. What really hacked me off though was the speed at which the combat scenes were displayed. It happened in Gladiator as well, the swordplay being so fast that you simply could not see was happening. Certainly it was just a blur to me, and my son complained that he could not tell what was happening. Being an old cynic I reckon this was done to deliberately tone down the battle scenes and avoid a 15 certificate, so we will have to wait for the DVD release in the early Summer to see the fighting properly.
On the plus sides the detailing of the various characters and races is brilliant (the least satisfactory probably being the Ents, but this was to be expected I suppose, I mean how do you "realistically" portray tree people). I was particularly impressed by the way that the riders of Rohan have been portrayed, the details on the armour and weaponry are superb, with a definite Norse influence. The Orcs also were brilliantly presented with fierce leathery faces and vicious, cruel, weaponry, far better in my opinion than the sci-fi like Uruk Hai.
Helms Deep is excellently portrayed, if not quite as I imagined it, and the siege and battle are superb, I will not try a describe it, you will simply have to go and see it yourself. The film is not perfect, and in some sections I found it quite a disappointment, but all in all it is a must see movie.
I am sure that the release of this film is going to have major effect on wargaming, in that it will inspire current gamers to revisit Middle Earth for battle scenarios, and will bring a whole new generation of young potential gamers to the hobby keen of leading their own Riders of Rohan into action. It will depend how other wargamers react to this enthusiasm, and we will have to see if these newcomers stick with the hobby. I hope they will be given every encouragement and advice, we need the new blood.
Games Workshop have of course released a series of 25mm sets of figures depicting characters from the film. As with the previously released models they are lovely models, finely detailed, and perfect miniatures of their screen originals. However the price of these models is restrictive, and once the Christmas rush is over it is difficult to see how a young gamer could afford anything but a skirmish level force, which is not quite the 10,000 strong army of Saruman depicted in the film. The same can probably be said of other 25 and 28mm Fantasy ranges.
My son already had a reasonable collection of 25mm fantasy, but if he was starting from scratch I would introduce him to either the Kallistra Hordes and Heroes range in 10mm, or the Bachus 6mm fantasy range. Both have a fine range of models (particularly the Hordes and Heroes range) which allow for the building of large armies at a reasonable price. Certainly in these scales the refighting of Helm's Deep, or even Celebrant or the Pellinor Fields is a real possibility.
Film images courtesy of New Line Cinema
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