Spring and I went to an early matinee showing of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. The scenery was just as lush as the first movie, the special effects were just as good and Gollum was much better done than in the first film (I think they completely re-did how Gollum looked between the two films—in the first he was less … cute and more threatening looking). But while the first film followed the book closely (cutting a few scenes out and compressing the time quite a bit) the film makers here took quite a few liberties with the story as I understand (I know the general story; I've yet to actually read the books). The two biggest being Elves at Helm's Deep (“Elves? The Elves never showed up at Helm's Deep!” shout the true fans of Tolkien) and (sorry for the spoiler here) the near death of Aragorn (“What's with that?” we have the Tolkien fans saying).
Some quibbles I had with the film—Gimli is played more for humor than anything. While in the first film there was only one dwarf joke (“No one tosses a dwarf!”) there were multiple ones in this film (“Toss me. I cannot jump the distance. You'll have to toss me. Don't tell the elf!” Or that he's too short to see the orcs coming because he can't see over the wall). And two—Faramir is less sympathetic than his brother, Boromir (in the book Faramir is supposed to be the wiser of the brothers and more likeable).
Overall, still a very good film and worth seeing on the big screen. Still, my complaint is about having to wait yet another year for the next installment.