Just came from the new sneak preview of The Two Towers. It runs after the Fellowship of the Ring playing in theaters today. And it looks spectacular! The excellent Bernard Hill will be featured as King Theoden and his intro in the preview is a great shot of him being armed by his soldiers as he recites the stirring verse which Tolkien borrowed from the great Anglo-Saxon poem The Wanderer: “Where now the Horse? Where now the Rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?”(“Hwær cwom mearg? Hwær cwom mago? Hwær cwom maþþumgyfa?”)

Dozens of people flooded into the theater during the last 20 minutes or so, just to see the preview. The entire cast is back, including Cate Blanchett as Galadriel. Knowing the way Peter Jackson loves to dramatize every aspect of the trilogy, I’m betting the film will begin with Gandalf’s subterranean battle against the Balrog and his eventual return to Lorien where Galadriel warns him of the threat facing Frodo. The merest peek at Gollum. In fact most of the preview dwelt on Gandalf, Aragorn and the battles in Rohan. The hobbits are being saved for later previews.

Most spectacular of all is the battle at Helms Deep. The whole film promises to be another feat–with every bit of the grandeur we’ve seen so far….