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'Two Towers' offensive? Here are my alternatives

But online plea to film's director is all in fun

In the movie industry, just like everywhere else, truth is stranger than fiction.

Take, for example, Kevin Klerck's online petition: "Rename 'The Two Towers' to Something Less Offensive."

Klerck put the petition online after there was a minor groundswell of disapproval over the "Two Towers" title because it brings to mind the 9/11 tragedy, when the World Trade Center twin towers fell.

The online petition is a satirical open letter to filmmaker Peter Jackson and distributor New Line Cinema, which reads in full:

"Those of us who have seen 'The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring' know what an amazing director Peter Jackson is. When I learned that there apparently was to be a sequel, I was overjoyed. However, Peter Jackson has decided to tastelessly name the sequel 'The Two Towers.' The title is clearly meant to refer to the attacks on the World Trade Center. In this post-Sept. 11 world, it is unforgivable that this should be allowed to happen. The idea is both offensive and morally repugnant. Hopefully, when Peter Jackson and, more importantly, New Line Cinema see the number of signatures on this petition, the title will be changed to something a little more sensitive."

OK. It's a joke.

Klerck was kidding with his cheeky effort to have Peter Jackson change the title of the second movie in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

But it was obviously too subtle, and quite a few people took it seriously — and they started signing the petition in droves. Some 3,200 the last time I checked.

So, in honor of this humorless bunch, and in the spirit of "The Late Show with David Letterman," I present to you this Top 10 List of Suggested Alternate Titles for the second "Lord of the Rings" movie. Remember, there will be no wagering:

10. "The Lord of the Rings: 100 Percent Jar-Jar Free"

9. " . . . The Hobbit . . . No, Wait, We're Saving That Title for a Prequel"

8. " . . . Still 6 More Hours to Go"

7. " . . . Our Next Move Will Be to Get Rid of All That Objectionable Violence"

6. " . . . Still 100 Percent Jar-Jar Free"

5. " . . . The Obligatory Sequel"

4. " . . . Less Scary Than Your Family Reunion"

3. " . . . We'll Get Robbed by the Oscars Again This Year"

2. " . . . Did We Mention We're 100 Percent Jar-Jar Free?"

And the No. 1 Suggested Alternate Title for the Second "Lord of the Rings" Movie (drum roll, please):

1. "The Lord of the Rings: This Time There's an Ending. We Promise"

In the interest of being fair, the Petition Online Web page can be found at www.petitiononline.com/twotower/. But you won't be able to sign up, no matter how humorless you are; the page's operations have been "suspended" temporarily due to Klerck's lack of "maintenance."

FOR THOSE EAGERLY AWAITING a glimpse of "The Two Towers" but who haven't seen the "fan-reel" footage tacked on to the end of "The Fellowship of the Ring," a proper trailer is coming soon, and it will include some of the "fan-reel" footage, though it obviously won't be four minutes long.

New Line hasn't said when the trailer will be revealed, but industry buzz suggests it may show up with "Minority Report" (which opens June 21).

And it will definitely be seen in front of the studio's "Austin Powers in Goldmember" (July 26).

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "I was looking for a villain . . . (who) was more elegant and sinister than scary. He's a more sophisticated kind of villain." — "Star Wars" universe creator George Lucas, explaining the appeal of actor Christopher Lee, who appears as a villain in both "Attack of the Clones" and the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.


E-mail: jeff@desnews.com