What a day it has been

Notes on revisiting The Two Towers for a second time:
--Gollum is just as captivating the 2nd time around. He has the most expressive eyes this side of Elijah Wood, and his physical motion is amazingly distinctive and lifelike. CGI characters are a new art form, and Gollum is its new Mona Lisa.
--You have to see the movie twice just to see every detail in every part of the screen. Those swooping, soaring camera shots contain frames that show so much, especially during the battle of Helm's Deep and the attack of Isengard by the Ents. If you divided the screen into three quadrants, left, right, and middle, something different is occurring in each.
--The battle scenes are incredible in their scale, and Jackson shows that using computers to animate soldiers allows you to stage a battle with literally 10,000 soldiers on one side without having to hire out half a country to don costumes.
--Despite the scale and complexity of the fight scenes, you always know exactly where each character is and what's going on. That takes skill. The overhead crane shots illustrate exactly how Helm's Deep is laid out and where different battles are occurring. In one incredible shot, you see Orcs rushing through a breach in the wall in the left third of the screen, archers repelling Orcs on ladders in the center of the screen, and Orcs pounding at the main gate in the right quadrant, all in one 5 second shot. It's an amazingly skillful shot, pulled off using a combination of CGI and actual camera footage.