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Old 03-15-2006, 11:17 AM   #1
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LotR2-TTT-Seq06

From the swamps we arise like yellow loosestrife.

Gollum hastens through the Emyn Muil while Sam and Frodo follow behind. Gollum proves to be a useful and faithful guide, leading the two out of their ‘going in circles.’ The creature is gushingly enthusiastic, and overtly helpful. The bombed alien planet look of the Emyn Muil is great, as it’s a real place - and just as Gimli had described previously.

Sam gets his foot wet in the Dead Marshes and is none too pleased. If Sam had been listening to Gimli, or had looked at a map or two in Rivendell, he would be less surprised by the foul fen. Gollum, eager to please his new master, leads him through the swamp as it is the safest of roads in this hellish part of Middle Earth.

The marshlands do not look as real as other scenery long shots, and we know that it’s only a stage, but all the same the environment does not detract from the scene. PJ’s sky view shot is more outstanding as I’m not quite sure if it’s a real place or not; regardless, you get a feeling for the size of the vile place.

The three hobbits take a break while Sam, newly an ornithologist, complains. The starving Gollum complains, and takes to eating what he can find, much to the distaste of Sam. The lembas, donated by Frodo, choke the wretched creature, and that only makes them taste all the sweeter to Sam. Frodo’s in another place, seemingly.

Note that, in this particular scene, the marshes are a bit too sunny for me.

Gollum rants even more, and so approaches the ‘good’ hobbit, the one who supposedly cares. I see a snake slithering up to strike, and Frodo feels and hears it too, and slaps it away. Was Gollum reaching out, figuratively to Frodo, or was he just trying to get at the Ring? The rebuke depresses Gollum. There’s no sunshine in this addict’s world, only the drug and shadows.

The fires in the swamp are an interesting touch - methane burning? - but wouldn’t those flames outshine the other candles that we are about to see? A peek into the waters explains the name of the Marshes. Not sure why Sam has to seem so bunged up about everything.

“There’s dead things…in the water! And…those are…weeds over there! And why does everyone call me ‘Rudy?’”

I always wondered how Gollum knew so much about the Dead Marshes and of the races that are floating therein. He makes references to ‘candle lights,’ and maybe it would have been more helpful to see the watery dead first as lights in the pools so that we know what Gollum is talking about.

And are those real people holding their breathes?

Frodo wanders off and decides to go for a swim in the ghost pool, and I’m reminded of “Raider’s of the Lost Ark.” Gollum rescues him - him or the Ring. Frodo experiences a sea change as he sits considering that his once enemy has now saved his life.

A crazy thought: Could Aragorn command this army of aquatic dead? “Arise from your watery graves, oh fishy ones, the Heir of Elendil has need of you this day. Dry off a bit and follow me to the Black Gate!”

Later that night Frodo proceeds to creep me out, caressing the Ring in his palm. It’s just so icky! He’s brought back from his happy place by the voice of Andy Serkis, reading Frodo’s thoughts, and it almost seems that Gollum and Frodo are twins, bound by the Ring.

Frodo suddenly wonders just who Gollum is, and Gollum tries to deflect the inquiry with a bit of rhyme. The name of Sméagol takes the creature back, and as he ruminates on it I hear the White Wizard speaking as he, too, will consider a former name. The unveiling will have to wait as a scream shatters the silent night. Nazgûl are on the prowl, but in this watery place? Maybe this is where the Bruinen river washed them . Frodo is immediately stricken with the remembrance of an old wound (we too get a flashback), and with the help of Sam he gets under cover. We learn that as the wraiths are already dead, one cannot kill them by ordinary means. And just where would they go if you did?

Detroit?

Lastly, we see that the Nazgûl have taken to the air on Fell Beasts, just when bad was already bad enough. Frodo and Gollum hear the call, and luckily Sam is there to shake Frodo out of his trance.

It’s on to the Black Gate for these three.

An aside: The kids have watched the movies, and it’s been helpful to have the Appendices to show them that all of this is ‘pretend.’ Seeing that the Fell Beast’s voice is really that of a donkey takes all fear out of the creatures (if only Frodo and the gang knew). Wraiths on flying donkeys? Bah!

Miles away, Gimli detects the presence of orc blood by taste (another little known innate ability of dwarves…”Hmmm, I’m definitely tasting Lugbúrzian with just a hint of Uruk and maybe a dash or two of horse. Probably vintage 3010. Best served with pasta.”) as the Three Hunters venture even deeper into the forests of Fangorn. The place looks as if a flood recently washed through the thick stands of trees, leaving water and displaced organic debris in its wake. Each hunter adds an observation of his own. While Legolas adds a bit of history, Gimli, once again, plays the clown.

Something approaches! Legolas’s keen sight spots something passing through the trees, and it’s that White Wizard we heard mentioned previously. Unlike in the books, Aragorn has no qualms about killing a hooded old beggar man unchallenged. Ahh, Dúnadan, where are thy manners? Next thing you know you’ll be beheading ambassadors…

The White Wizard is upon them, and their attack - arrow, axe and sword - is futile. The voice of Saruman, the White Wizard, tells of the Hobbits’ fate, or so we are led to think. But something’s not right as an aura obscures this White Wizard’s face. At the request of Aragorn, the wizard cloaks his radiance like a cloud passing over the sun.

IT’S GANDALF!!!

Nice new threads and ‘do. Each hunter reacts to this angel’s revelation, and I like that Legolas bows and asks for forgiveness.

We get to see another favorite scene of mine, where Gandalf tells of how he throws down the Balrog. The lightning from the sword was a bit uncalled for, as I would say that it is inconsistent with this character’s powers. What’s with PJ and giving wizards lightning? What happened to the subtle magic that we saw when Gandalf confronted the Balrog on the Bridge? One stab to the heart (it seems, and isn’t it nice to know that, physiologically, Balrogs have the same organ structure as humans?) and over the edge ole Roggie goes.

Note that in Middle Earth, one can fall forever into an icy underground lake and yet take no hurt, but after a sword thrust, a fall of less than a few hundred feet can prove fatal.

Must have been that lightning bolt.

Not sure if Gandalf goes for a quantum leap or a space odyssey, but eventually he returns to his body and Middle Earth. Suddenly the wizard realizes that he is “Gandalf,” which is kind of funny as he’s been talking to these three for a few minutes, and you’d think that he’d have a little more figured out before going off on his life story with three possibly complete strangers.

“Yes, Gandalf…that was my name. Here I thought my name was Clyde Ba…well that’s why I couldn’t find Bonnie.”

I love the ”turn on the tide” quote, though think that it could be used a bit more effectively. The next stage of these four characters is mapped out, and Gimli grabs from his bag of silliness again.

What kills me is when Gandalf goes on and on about the small stones creating the avalanche. The problems are numerous: Gandalf has foreknowledge about the events, but soon later will be begging both Aragorn and Saruman for any news, the Ents, as we will see, decide to ride this one out but then are tricked into entering the war and Gandalf seems so upbeat about current events and seems downright positive, yet later he seems to feel that they haven’t a chance.

The White Wizard calls for Shadowfax with a piercing whistle. Shadowfax, and the scenery in which he is first seen, is great. Real horse, real world. And again, I cringe when we learn that Shadowfax is lord of all horses and has been with Gandalf through many dangers, as this horse will throw its rider later in RotK.

The four members of the broken Fellowship ride off to some place called Edoras. The other two, in the company of Gollum, approach the Black Gate. Not sure where Merry and Pippin are, as Gandalf never did tell us. That leaves one unaccounted for.

Satellite photos show that Boromir is on his way to the Bay of Belfalas.

All nine.

***Special note: The movie script is found here .
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Last edited by alatar; 03-15-2006 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 03-17-2006, 10:16 AM   #2
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first thoughts.....

I find it very interesting the way that gollum acts like a dog and is treated in some ways like a dog in these scenes.

the way he cowers away at the start of the scene as he says 'nice hobbit' to Sam is very much like a dog showing his owner he is the master.

and the way frodo reacts to him by throwing the lembas on the floor a few feet from him. again like throwing your scraps to your dog.

the only time I ever feel remorse for gollum is in these scenes where frodo pushes him away, and we have the shocked, sad look on his face. marvelous 'acting' here.

the dead marshes are one of the scenes where the film has pushed it's way into my head taking over from the book. in other words, I could have SWORN frodo falls into the water in the marshes in the book, but on my last reading it's not there! much like Gandalf stating a wizard is never late, etc. I just KNEW this was stated in the book when I watched the film, but lo and behold it's not anywhere in tolkien's works......!

I love the shot of the hobbits and gollum under the gorse bush hiding from the nazgul, especially the way you see the shadow of the fell beast fly over them!

and the overhead shot of the marshes you mention alatar, I've only just now on this viewing seen the hobbits trudging through it in the distance! amazing what you don't pick up after numerous viewings....

the production of the shots in fangorn is superb. I love the close up shots of aragorn unsheathing his sword, gimli getting ready his axe and legolas feeling the feathers on his bow as 'Saruman' is about to arrive on the scene.

the short scene with gandalf and the balrog works well. I reckon the balrog was dead before his body smote the mountainside, Alatar.....

and the acting from ian mckellen as he returns from the dead - great - very much like a person recovering after a heart attack or a near drowning. the sudden intake of breath and realisation you are alive!
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Old 03-17-2006, 10:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Essex
I find it very interesting the way that gollum acts like a dog and is treated in some ways like a dog in these scenes.
Nice observation, and maybe that was the way Andy Serkis saw and so played the role.


Quote:
the only time I ever feel remorse for gollum is in these scenes where frodo pushes him away, and we have the shocked, sad look on his face. marvelous 'acting' here.
Even though it's a CG overlay, still the emotions come through. It's like Gollum finally finds a friend, after all of those lonely years, and gets slapped by the same. Like in the Hobbit, does Smeagol remember the fresh air of companionship and warms to it, while the psychotic side gets pushed down awhile?


Quote:
the dead marshes are one of the scenes where the film has pushed it's way into my head taking over from the book. in other words, I could have SWORN frodo falls into the water in the marshes in the book, but on my last reading it's not there! much like Gandalf stating a wizard is never late, etc. I just KNEW this was stated in the book when I watched the film, but lo and behold it's not anywhere in tolkien's works......!
How do you feel about this change/addition by PJ? I see how it helps show the change in relationships between these three hobbits, as for once it's not Sam saving Frodo.


Quote:
and the overhead shot of the marshes you mention alatar, I've only just now on this viewing seen the hobbits trudging through it in the distance! amazing what you don't pick up after numerous viewings....
It's a cool shot, and even if it's 100% CG, I still like it as you 'see' what Frodo, Sam and Gollum are dealing with - this is no puddle.


Quote:
the short scene with gandalf and the balrog works well. I reckon the balrog was dead before his body smote the mountainside, Alatar.....
I know. My point is that is this how you saw Roggie die? It gets stabbed in the heart (couldn't we have done that in Moria?) and falls, then is dead. I'm not exactly sure what I wanted, but I wanted a little more.


Quote:
and the acting from ian mckellen as he returns from the dead - great - very much like a person recovering after a heart attack or a near drowning. the sudden intake of breath and realisation you are alive!
Agreed. Great mini-scene and great acting. I think that even those unfamiliar with the story could easily see what happened.
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Old 03-17-2006, 10:17 PM   #4
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I think that Frodo and Sam treat Gollum as a dog because that is the only way they can show some controll over him. But this is an illusion because Gollum has the actual controll since he knows the way and all the hobbits can do is follow him and hope that he doesn't lead them in a trap. They also treat Gollum like that because he is such a strange creature and they know very little of him.

I liked the way the dead marshes were done although I didn't really think they were scary untill Frodo fell into the water and the Nazgul flies over the marshes thus giving us a better view. (Those parts still freak me out just a little)

Gandalf coming back was well done. I also like the way he recalls his name because that is the way it works in the book as well. When he comes back he has forgotten a lot of trivial things because they are replaced by bigger ideas.
Why do you think Gandalf was sent back,other than the obvious answer, to make the good guys win?
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Old 03-18-2006, 03:05 PM   #5
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First of all, I'd like to say that Gandalf's voice deserves a star. Anyone else thinks that his voice is even stronger than Saruman's? Of course, when we hear Saruman and Gandalf facing each other, Saruman is already the weakest one, even if he doesn't know it... but I'm straying too far ahead.

Back on to this scene, I think the marshes are very well done but I have not much to add into the discussion. One thing I would like to say is that we see Gollum/Smeagol striving for friendship in his own wretched way, and being rejected. I love how Gollum becomes more evident as Smeagol keeps on getting rejected by Sam and Frodo.

Sam and Frodo do treat Gollum as a dog... and it even promted a comment from me last time I watched TTT with my friend... "I'd like to have a Smeagol as a pet... not the Gollum side, but the Smeagol". I hadn't thought until then that he was indeed being treated as such pet.

Now, here's a concern of sorts... I can't recall from the book, but does Gandalf refuse to tell the three hunters where the hobbits are? It just feels like a cheap attempt at making everything sound more "misterious" even though we already know where they are. Even if you have not read the books, you can guess that they are with Barbol. Erm, I mean Treebeard =D
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Old 03-18-2006, 09:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Farael
First of all, I'd like to say that Gandalf's voice deserves a star. Anyone else thinks that his voice is even stronger than Saruman's? Of course, when we hear Saruman and Gandalf facing each other, Saruman is already the weakest one, even if he doesn't know it... but I'm straying too far ahead.
Have to check out the commentary, but I think that, when the Three Hunters first encounter the White Wizard, it's first Christopher Lee's voice (or a pretty close imitation) then Ian McKellen's. I guess that we're supposed to be sitting in trepidation, thinking that this is Saruman. Didn't the trailer already spoil this?


Quote:
Now, here's a concern of sorts... I can't recall from the book, but does Gandalf refuse to tell the three hunters where the hobbits are? It just feels like a cheap attempt at making everything sound more "misterious" even though we already know where they are. Even if you have not read the books, you can guess that they are with Barbol. Erm, I mean Treebeard =D
Book-Gandalf finally gets around to it, and in the movie I thought that he was going to when Aragorn chides him that he's still close and talking as the Wise always seem to do ('the explanations needed by others are just so bothersome...' or something), but no. I think that PJ falls into the habit of continually wanting to surprise us. Gandalf's sudden appearance in Bag End is where it started, and in this movie we're going to see a wide diversion just for the sake of 'is he coming back?'-itis. I'm okay with the use of the lost and found characters now and then, but continuously? Is this something that non-readers found good or frustrating? As a reader and someone who followed the development of the films, pretending to kill of characters was just bad.
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Old 03-19-2006, 02:48 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by alatar
Book-Gandalf finally gets around to it, and in the movie I thought that he was going to when Aragorn chides him that he's still close and talking as the Wise always seem to do ('the explanations needed by others are just so bothersome...' or something), but no. I think that PJ falls into the habit of continually wanting to surprise us. Gandalf's sudden appearance in Bag End is where it started, and in this movie we're going to see a wide diversion just for the sake of 'is he coming back?'-itis. I'm okay with the use of the lost and found characters now and then, but continuously? Is this something that non-readers found good or frustrating? As a reader and someone who followed the development of the films, pretending to kill of characters was just bad.
I think it's just over-kill. While the movies are very good and for the most part I didn't notice the "overkill" the first time around, but as I watched it for the second (and third) time, it's a bit of a mood killer. I think Gimli's jokes could be another example. Sure, he's a lovable bearded little dwarf, and he can be funny at times... but when he's the only funny one, while the others are solemn he turns into a clown... and Gimli is not supposed to be a clown.
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Old 03-29-2006, 03:14 AM   #8
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Sorry for just popping in with a comment! It's a pity I don't have time to follow all the threads, but in this sequence is something that I feel strongly about.

Quote:
originally quoted by Essex
and the way frodo reacts to him by throwing the lembas on the floor a few feet from him. again like throwing your scraps to your dog.

the only time I ever feel remorse for gollum is in these scenes where frodo pushes him away, and we have the shocked, sad look on his face. marvelous 'acting' here.
That's exactly how I felt too!
But the difference to Frodo's behaviour in the book is striking:
Quote:
Frodo broke off a portion of a wafer and handed it to him on its leaf-wrapping.
and when Gollum is disgusted at it and complains he is starving:
Quote:
"I'm sorry," said Frodo; "but I can't help you, I'm afraid. I think this food would do you good, if you would try. But perhaps you can't even try, not yet anyway."
I wonder why they decided to change Frodo's character so drastically? They've not only taken away all his courage but the element of mercy and pity that was so important to Tolkien.
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Old 03-29-2006, 05:04 AM   #9
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Though there is mention that Gollum relates to Frodo in a dog-like fashion (there are examples of Gollum exhibiting canine behavior), Frodo, as mentioned, does not treat Gollum like a dog. PJ's Frodo is more one-dimensional.
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Old 03-29-2006, 07:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alatar
Though there is mention that Gollum relates to Frodo in a dog-like fashion (there are examples of Gollum exhibiting canine behavior), Frodo, as mentioned, does not treat Gollum like a dog. PJ's Frodo is more one-dimensional.
I'm saying this from memory, so I could be wrong... but I believe in the book it's not Frodo who treats Gollum as a dog... it's Gollum himself who behaves as one to "please" his new Master. I don't think that at any point in time we get an indication of Frodo treating Gollum as anything but another human (or should I say hobbit?). Correct me if I'm wrong though.
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Old 04-03-2006, 04:27 PM   #11
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Well, Frodo does order, "Down!" at one point in the book, and deals with Gollum like a dog a couple times, though for the most part he treats him like another human being. I don't mind this aspect of their relationship in the film at all, though.

It's very interesting to observe the Frodo-Sam-Gollum relationship dynamic in TTT, and then to see how it turns on its head in ROTK. In TTT, Frodo is presented as being wiser, more merciful, and more mature than Sam, as he spares Gollum's life and makes him lead them to Mordor while Sam becomes petty and jealous of Gollum. In ROTK, Frodo is presented as being blinded to Gollum's true nature, and eventually abandons Sam, while Sam is the hero who sees Gollum for who he really is, and eventually rescues Frodo. Obviously, this is the way it is in the films, not the books.

So what changes? How come Frodo is right in TTT and Sam is right in ROTK? I think it really comes about because of the change in Gollum's character. In TTT, we see a Gollum who is very conflicted, and feels the call of the Ring, but ultimately wants to "be good," at least until the end. In ROTK, we see a Gollum who argues with himself again towards the beginning, but other than that is just evil.

But I don't think Frodo and Sam's positions really change that much. Although, Frodo seems to be blind in ROTK, and I don't ever get that impression in TTT. And of course, Sam in ROTK seems to have rid himself of the sibling rivalry mentality he had in TTT. But their basic positions -- Frodo, Gollum good; Sam, Gollum bad -- don't change a bit.

So there's my dissertation, and as usual, it delves heavily into future sequences. Oh well, at least I'm not giving it in an Aragorn thread.
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Old 04-03-2006, 04:49 PM   #12
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Well in TTT Frodo sees Gollum as he is, a creature who is dealing with a continuous inner conflict. He also sees that Gollum has a chance to turn back to good. However, the problem is that he never sees the change that occurs within Gollum which takes place right at the end TTT in the final scene.

Sam simply becomes more suspicious then he was before. He might have noticed the change but I am sure.
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Old 04-20-2006, 03:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinevere
I wonder why they decided to change Frodo's character so drastically? They've not only taken away all his courage but the element of mercy and pity that was so important to Tolkien.
Hang on a sec - what about the scene after escaping Shelob? Frodo knows Gollum set him up, but STILL showed mercy and pity to him here.

As some peole may know from my posts, my view is that Frodo's Mercy towards Gollum saves Middle-earth and is THE main message / point of the story. And Jackson shows some savvy here of this view by adding in this scene showing Frodo's mercy towards Gollum........
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Old 12-01-2006, 01:12 AM   #14
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But I thought that in the current scene, Frodo mainly shows revulsion towards Gollum, whereas in the book, as Guinevere has pointed out, he was showing great kindness in trying to get Gollum to eat lembas.

The Dead Marshes looked great, although it was obvious that they were either CG in long shots or sets in close ups. I guess that the burning swamp gas was put in to make the place seem even more formidable, or possibly as an explanation for the tricksy lights. Frodo "falling" into the water, and the spirits coming to take him, was a pure horror moment. Good stuff. The wraiths on wings were nice n scary.

The mysterious White Wizard was at first Christopher Lee's voice, then if memory serves it was Ian McKellen attempting to sound like Lee, then finally McKellen's voice. I think this voice morphing was a bit misguided, personally. I mean, it's hardly realistic, and why bother continuing to play games with the audience? We've already had some ambiguity over which wizard is appearing; there's no need to hammer it home so hard.

Gandalf's recollection of the final moments of his battle with the Balrog was cool. I wonder how it would have played out if the opening scene had been viewed here instead? Slower start to the movie, I guess. The fall worked well where it was, drawing us in to the action immediately. I really liked Gandalf's trippy voyage into the world beyond. Very nicely done.

I thought that Shadowfax's introduction was a bit too much like a shampoo commercial. I would have loved it if he had been a grey or silver coloured horse, as in the book, but I guess that a white horse for Gandalf the White is suitable.
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