Andy Serkis as Smeagol

The Lord of the Rings | Return of the King | Reviews

Lord of the Rings

Frodo and Sam continue to be guided by the fretful Gollum (Andy Serkis), the deformed former Ringbearer whose intended treachery is superbly revealed in a schizophrenic soliloquy delivered to his reflection in the water. . . . Serkis gets to expand the remarkable Gollum with unexpected complexity. -- Todd McCarthy, Variety

Gollum is again a wondrous combination of special effects and Serkis' inspired performance. -- David Hunter, The Hollywood Reporter

Jackson has whipped up a surprising prologue for "Return," a flashback to the moment that Gollum, then an ordinary hobbit called Smeagol, killed a fisherman friend to claim the ring he'd just found and thus begin his metamorphosis. It's only fair that Serkis, the lean British actor who created the movements and voice of the computer-animated Gollum, should make an appearance in his own body , and the back-story sequence enhances what has emerged as the trilogy's most popular character.

Bad as the little bipolar devil is, you cannot take your eyes off Gollum, and if there is any justice, one of the dozen or so Oscars "The Return of the King" deserves will go to Serkis. -- Jack Mathews, New York Daily News

The collaboration of actor and director — Mr. Serkis and Mr. Jackson — for Gollum is a frighteningly believable realization of computer imagery as performer. Gollum, whose phyllo-dough skin still masks his abrupt and fully felt changes of heart, is as emotionally rich a creation as any actor's work this year. A dialogue he has with his reflection in a pond courses with invective and self-disgust. -- Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times

Again, the movie's scene stealer is a CGI character named Smeagol, whose voice and motion is done by Andy Serkis. I still think that Serkis deserves a supporting actor award. -- Steve Rhodes, Internet Reviews

Serkis is Oscar worthy. -- Nev Pierce, BBC

The fervent bond between suffering Frodo and valiant Sam is as earnest and touching as any in cinema. But almost as impressive is Gollum, achieved by computer animators and actor Serkis. Theirs is a new art form, and the Motion Picture Academy would do well to follow the MTV Movie Awards, which bestowed its first trophy for best virtual performance to Gollum's creators. -- Bruce Westbrook, The Houston Chronicle

The character who steals the picture, as he also did in did the movie "Two Towers" and the books, (but not the ring), is the Gollum, the skeletal, two-faced, relentless little being from whom Bilbo first stole the ring. Created by the actor Andy Serkis and the film's digital wizards, Gollum becomes the tale's most memorable figure: a symbol of the evil and ravaging appetite to which wealth and power (and especially the ring's transcendent gifts) can reduce us all. With his sibilant hiss of "Precious! Precious!" Serkis' Gollum becomes a warning. Heroes may prevail, but riches and power corrupt - and everyone in the film, including Frodo, has always been at risk. -- Michael Wilmington, The Chicago Tribune

The subtlety of Gollum's movements and expressions is so astonishing that it's difficult to believe this isn't a real creature. Serkis deserves a lion's share of the credit, since Gollum is as much his creation as it is that of the animators. Although a long shot, Serkis is deserving of some sort of awards credit. -- James Berardinelli

The 3-D, digitally animated Gollum, a shadow in "Fellowship of the Ring'' and a nefarious novelty in "Two Towers,'' here emerges (thanks to Andy Sirkis' voice and body language) as one of the cinema's great villains, part scheming troll, part demon spawn of the unchecked id. -- Glen Lovell, San Jose Mercury News

Reviews for The Two Towers

Gollum looks like a preternatural Peter Lorre, a permanently scared and worried soul who's compellingly revealed later on to be a hopeless schizophrenic, one twisted by his previous experience as a Ring bearer. Acted initially by Andy Serkis and subsequently reworked into exaggerated humanoid form via a dexterous CGI makeover, Gollum is a startling creation that constitutes one of the film's major talking points. -- Todd McCarthy, Variety

It's not every day that a special effect turns in a splendid performance (E.T. comes to mind), but Gollum, voiced in a slithery hiss-whisper by Andy Serkis, whose movements also provided the basis for the CGI wizards, has a cackling, maniacal, yet weirdly forlorn charisma. -- Owen Glieberman, Entertainment Weekly

The movie is stolen by a cyborg performance of the highest order: the pitiful Gollum (Andy Serkis, radically modified). A sneaky, clammy, amphibious creature with (as Faramir, brother of Boromir, unnecessarily points out) "an ill-favored look," Gollum is the soul of the movie—particularly after his consciousness begins to fissure. -- J Hoberman, Village Voice

Gollum is a computer-generated creation and as fully realized a character as can be found in "Towers" — perhaps the most fully realized. (He has been dropped into the movie more effectively than George Lucas crammed Jar Jar Binks into his recent "Star Wars" addenda.) With the voice of Andy Serkis, whose movements were also copied by the animators, Gollum is torn by his nature, and Mr. Jackson allows him to be conflicted in a way none of the other characters in the film are. -- Elvis Mitchell, New York Times

A remarkably expressive computer-generated effect, Gollum is voiced by actor Andy Serkis, who also wore a motion-capture suit to play him on set. Perhaps we need a new Oscar category for best CG performance. -- Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle

The avaricious, reptilian Gollum is an astounding, computer-generated creation, brilliantly voiced by Andy Serkis. -- Nev Pierce, BBC

Gollum's voice and movements are provided by Andy Serkis, and it's a tribute to the actor that by the time ''Towers'' comes crashing to a close, we've accepted Gollum as a full-time member of the crew - and by far the most interestingly conflicted. -- Ty Burr, Boston Globe

While nobody could call its CGI-generated villain Gollum gorgeous (he looks vaguely like a naked, balding version of the diabolical doll Chucky), he comes close to stealing the movie. Cooing "my precious" to the ring, in a voice seemingly issuing from a near-strangled throat, he's a marvelously fluid, lifelike creature — and his tormented conversations with his doppelganger self are chilling. (Andy Serkis, who voices Gollum, deserves much credit — and an endless supply of soothing lozenges.) -- Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times

We admit it: Even we're not sure what to do with Andy Serkis, the British actor whose every tic, twitch, and hiss brings Gollum to such brilliant life in 'The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.' There's no precedent for the way his work straddles the border that separates performance from visual effect. But about this we're certain: The Academy had better start thinking about the issues that Serkis' performance raises, because his work -- however it's categorized -- is Oscar-caliber. -- Entertainment Weekly

They should have called it The Two Gollums. There is a lot to admire in this, the second instalment of Peter Jackson’s ludicrously epic treatment of Tolkien, but nothing comes close to the schizophrenic Gollum, arguing with himself in flawless CGI. -- Paul Arendt, Teletext

There is one superlative accomplishment that cannot be ignored. The computer-generated Gollum is simply unbelievable, a character made up of digital bytes who carries the emotional and visual weight of a human actor. (The digital Gollum was, in fact, "drawn" over the body of actor Andy Serkis, who also contributed the character's moist, lisping voice. This raises the intriguing question of whether such a performance can even qualify for Oscar consideration.) For all of his pasty awfulness, Gollum is the most human thing on the screen. "The Two Towers" reaches a powerful, even heartbreaking plateau when the miserable creature's two personalities -- the vengeful, violent Gollum and the still-somewhat-hobbitish Smeagol -- argue about how to retrieve their Precious from its keepers. If a human actor had done this on his own, it would be considered a remarkable performance. For it to emerge from the collaboration of an actor and who-knows-how-many digital artists is simply mind-boggling. -- Robert W Butler, Kansas City Star

 While Treebeard and his tribe are impressively brought to life by visual effects supervisor Jim Rygiel, they can't help but pale in comparison to the schizoid Gollum, a computer-generated creation -- modeled on actor Andy Serkis, who provides the creature's gurgling voice -- that is stunningly expressive and whose split personality paves the way for a great cliffhanger of a finale. -- James Sanford on Film

Integral to the story, Gollum is not some animated footnote or one note gag reel. The character is as deeply fleshed out and real as any portrayed by live actors. I’ve heard that New Line Cinema is actually pushing Gollum for an Oscar… and it’s easy to see why. This isn’t some cheap Jar-Jar Binks, inserted for laughable amusement, an ill-fitting showcase for the wonders of CGI. Gollum is the first computer-generated character who can actually act and a scene-stealer wherever he shows up. -- The Film Hobbit

Andy Serkis's Gollum is as compelling a creation as the combination of man and CGI has yet produced on screen. -- Mike Goodridge, Screen International

No movie creature has been as mesmerizing since the initial appearance of Yoda in "The Empire Strikes Back." The role is credited to the actor Andy Serkis, and apparently Serkis (who also supplies the voice of the character) was present acting in the scenes and his image was then computer animated. However the filmmakers did it, Gollum is a stunning creation. If Gollum is to work at all, we must find him pitiable in his wretchedness and, I'm assuming thanks to the combination of the CGI and Serkis' performance, we do. -- Charles Taylor, Salon

The performance — an accurate word, it turns out — by actor Andy Serkis and the Weta Workshop animators as Gollum makes for the first legitimate CGI character. It's true. Gollum got laughs during The Two Towers, which is hard enough for a living, breathing performer. And not just from stepping in poop, à la Jar-Jar, but from his interactions with other characters, both verbal and non-verbal. Having a real actor on the set as Gollum during filming (Serkis dressed in a sensor-covered suit while acting the part, and then the animators did CGI animation over his image during post-production) must have helped. Instead of Elijah Wood staring at an empty space where Gollum should be, he actually saw Serkis. So on-screen it appears that Frodo is making eye contact with Gollum. This helps immensely and makes Gollum much more lifelike. He moves, talks, and fights in a realistic manner. The creature also has a great, almost Shakespearean monologue in one scene, in which he's debating with himself about the intentions of Frodo and Sam, and the close-ups during this sequence are stunning. Apparently, New Line is going to make a big push for an Oscar nomination for Serkis, and it's justifiable. --

The Hobbit

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