Some of the biggest differences include: the absence of Elves at Helm's Deep, alteration to Faramir's appearances to make his character less inaccurate to the books, that the Ents (at the Ent-moot) do not refuse to help, that Arwen is not shown leaving Middle-earth, and that Gandalf does not exorcise Saruman from Théoden. As a result, this version is about 40 minutes shorter, but some of the "Purist" fans unhappy with the changes made by Peter Jackson to Tolkien's story believe it superior to the original releases. Some changes are cut out seamlessly, while others are rough and obvious. The soundtrack is carefully re-synchronized.
Comparisons have been made between the Purist Edit and Star Wars: The Phantom Edit. While The Phantom Edit has been seen by fans as a way of removing the aspects of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace that offended many casual moviegoers, The Two Towers: The Purist Edit has appealed primarily to hardcore, die-hard fans who have taken pains to highlight the differences between the book and the movie.
Film length: 2 hours, 15 minutes (the theatrical release was 2 hours, 59 minutes; its Special Extended Edition 3 hours, 42 minutes).
Major changes (out of about thirty):
- The Ents do not refuse to attack Isengard.
- The Elves under Haldir do not come to Helm's Deep.
- Gimli no longer engages in comic relief.
- Faramir does not decide to send the One Ring to Gondor as a "mighty gift" for his father.
- Frodo does not attempt to give the Ring to the Nazgûl.