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Old 03-08-2006, 01:16 PM   #1
Doubting Dwimmerlaik
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alatar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.alatar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.

We feel the coming of a new day
Darkness gives way to light a new way
Stop here for a while until the world,
The world calls you away -
Rivendell (Rush)

A spiked goblin head serves as a warning to all who pass by.


Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli ride up to the smoldering mound of remains. Yuck! They immediately begin scanning the surroundings for some indication of the hobbits. Gimli prods the smoking pile with his axe and is rewarded for his persistence. An elvish sheath for one of the hobbits’ swords is found, and makes it seem all too certain that little bones are mingled with the Uruks. Legolas says something in his native tongue that I didn’t quite catch, then Aragorn punts a helmet in his anger/frustration.

Viggo actually broke his toe on this take, and PJ just thought that Viggo’d finally captured the emotion for the scene, but little did he know. Strider is brought to his knees, and yet, this is when he begins to find hope. A few bent blades of grass, a scuffmark or two, and Aragorn is putting the hobbit’s last night on the plain together, stitch by stitch.

The interspersing of Merry’s and Pippin’s run for Fangorn with Aragorn’s analysis is great, and you can see how the marks are made and what Aragorn is reading in to them. The close and far (above) shots are nice, as you are oriented as to the locale.

Aragorn sure knows a lot about tracking, as it almost seems that he’s watching the same cut scenes as us - I have no idea otherwise how he knows so much. Ranger indeed.

Merry and Pip running under a horse is something to see, and I wonder if the horse, if real, is inordinately tall for the stunt. As the pace of the hobbits’ escape accelerates (concurrent with Aragorn’s analysis), you begin to hear the quickening musical score (drums?) in the background. The wall of trees stops the Three Hunters, but not the hobbits or the orcs that stalk them.

Fangorn is a real and scary place, especially as the hobbits enter the old forest during the night. The twisted trunks and tangled roots and greenish mist make an alien, organic plant world. The trees look like anti-bonsais, twisted yet gigantic as they are. Before the hobbits can take it all in, guess who shows up? Remember what I said about a character making a declaration that very shortly thereafter is proven in error? No, you did not lose the orc.

Merry and Pippin run further and further into Fangorn as they try to stay ahead of the head-jerking and now zombified orc. The orc orders them to “Come here,” and he’s about as successful as any parent chasing toddlers. And just why would we stop, as weren’t you the guy that wanted our legs to eat? At least by running they’ll be a bit thinner.

Now where are those elven cloaks that seem to work so well in dirt? Wouldn’t this be the exact kind of place that they would be useful?

Merry gets the bright idea to head for higher ground, thinking that the orc won’t climb a tree. In the books the orcs didn’t climb the trees in Lothlorien, but I think that this was due to the vigilance and camouflage of the elves. Now PJ’s orcs can climb up and down vertical stone walls, and so you’d think that even the southern variety, which I think is this one’s place of origin, could handle a few branches to catch some tasty hobbits. But anyway, we just have to get the hobbits in the trees, don’t we?

The tree chosen by Pip looks none the different from any other, and though we will see in a moment that there’s something special about this tree, I just wonder why the tree has a small branch sticking out about 3 feet (1 meter) from the ground. Will this limb appear later when we see the ‘tree?'

Now Merry does it again, stating that the orc is “gone.” Any guesses what will happen next? Like the swimmer in “Jaws,” Merry is suddenly pulled from below, and we see that it’s his ‘gone’ orc buddy, as if there was any surprise there. Pip looks on as Merry is dragged from his perch. Thankfully Merry resists, and a fight ensues, but it doesn't go well.

Pip yells, and suddenly eyes appear in the tree on which he hangs. Pip actually is clinging to the Ent’s nose. A low rumble drags Pipis gaze from Merry back to the tree, and it’s then that he realizes that it’s not a tree. He lets go and falls earthward, but is saved by the Ent. Too bad that, as it looked like Pip, being Pip, was about to fall atop the orc, who was about to perforate Merry. Sure, Pip’s would probably slay the orc, but Merry would suffer too, as that’s just the way things work for Pip.

While the orc monologues, a large branchy foot/leg rises above him, and then it’s too late to run. Squash! Merry runs for it; bravely Pip tells him to get out of there and to leave him, but the merry little hobbit is no natural sprinter and is easily overtaken and captured by the Ent.

Note that the Ent’s leg does not have that little limb anymore.

Like King Kong, the Ent holds the two hobbits in the clutches of its huge hands. Its first assessment of the hobbits is that they are orcs. But instead of smashing them, the Ent engages in conversation, trying to educate the little orcs about trees and Ents - not that Merry is completely ignorant of the subject.

We learn that Treebeard is on no one’s side because no one is on his side, most likely as Treebeard’s default action is to stomp things that look anything remotely close to orcs. Learning that they are ‘hobbits,’ Treebeard assumes that they are lying (I guess), starts ranting about the foul folk and begins to squeeze the two. How friendly! Hopefully this thinking/spirit will be present when 10,000 confirmed non-little orcs are marching across the countryside.

If you’re looking for a target more your size, big guy…

A quick aside: I didn't like PJ's portrayal of the Ents. I expected something a little more man-like, and to have Treebeard allow the hobbits/orcs to climb his body...and though John Rhys-Davies voice is great, the ents are too CG/animatronic for me.

Merry continues to argue that he is not a little orc. Treebeard’s only half right - and remains unconvinced that these aren’t orcs. He decides to take them to the ominous White Wizard (can’t help it, but when I hear “white wizard” I think “White Wedding” by Billy Idol). The hobbits guess that they are going to see Saruman, and though they escaped the Uruks, it seems that there’s no escaping the White Wizard’s web.

The scene closes with the hobbits cast at the feet of the White Wizard. What will happen to poor Merry and Pippin next?
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Old 03-09-2006, 08:10 AM   #2
Tuor of Gondolin
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This section illustrates an unfortunate tendency of PJ's
of dumbing down (see Gimli). Physically Treebeard is acceptable,
but, as noted above, he's not very swift, and, of course.
later those genius hobbits just soooo outsmart him.

The hobbits guess that they are going to see Saruman, and though they escaped the Uruks, it seems that there’s no escaping the White Wizard’s web.
Ah well,
Escaping goblins to be caught by wolves.
Aure Entuluva!

Last edited by Tuor of Gondolin; 03-09-2006 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 03-09-2006, 11:27 AM   #3
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
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Well Tuor, I beg to differ... I'm not sure Treebeard looks dumbed down. In this case, he seems (at least to me) as if he had too many things in his mind. He's not cracking up silly jokes, getting drunk and passing out or the like (see Gimli, again) but rather, he is more like an old man who has fallen behind in a rapidly changing world.

I do disagree with the whole issue of him not being aware that half of his forest had been torn down, but that'll come later.
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Old 03-09-2006, 12:09 PM   #4
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I didn't get the impression that he was unaware of the damages, but perhaps, and probably intentionally, unaware of the extent and the true danger of Saruman's deception. Or he hadn't been up in that direction in a while, and was reminded and saddened by what had been lost, and it strengthened his anger and resolve.
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Old 03-09-2006, 06:30 PM   #5
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I like Treebeard and I like the way he looks. I don't see anything that is "dumbed down" about him. he might be slow but that is the nature of an ent since their time runs differently from ours, which I think the movie really got across. Especially,since they added that little segment about old entish in the EE.
I don't mind how Merry and Pippin meet Treabeard. Sure, it is different from the books but it works for me.
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Old 03-10-2006, 09:50 AM   #6
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just a quick point.

I love the way you see the Hope come back into Aragorn's face as he begins to track the hobbits. Starting with his eyes, then his face changes from a grimace to a hopeful stare, then up on his feet stooping quickly up towards Fangorn.

Interspersed with the Action from the hobbits this is a Masterful scene.

I still can't handle the orcs with cockney accents. Just doesn't seem right to me (although did Tolkien have this idea?) - I know the Trolls from the Hobbit were east end characters - you can tell that from their written dialouge. But I don;t pick that up when reading the Orcs' dialogue in LOTR..............
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Old 03-27-2006, 11:04 AM   #7
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I really liked the sadness of the Hunters. Good acting all round.

Good point, alatar, about how eager Treebeard is to smash the Orcs. Where did that desire go?

I don't particularly like having the Orc in the forest. It leads to those corny lines — 'He's gone', and whatever the Orc said. I'd have preferred it if the Hobbits had met Treebeard while they were at ease. Their pretty-much instant rapport with Treebeard in the book reflected their friendly personas very well.
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Old 04-03-2006, 04:16 PM   #8
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I think the Ents are good, but not spectacular. They look great, being something from the book that I always had a hard time picturing, but Treebeard talks a bit too slow for me. I picture him talking only slightly slower than a normal person in the books. And then of course they appear to be a bit dense. The whole Entmoot-and-immediately-following sequences don't make sense to me narrative-wise. Obviously, the storming of Isengard, which we won't get to for a while, is visually stunning. I love it.
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Old 05-05-2006, 10:52 PM   #9
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Eomer, I know what you mean and that was a pretty sturdy orc...I mean to get speared in the back and get up from that in not that bad of a shape is pretty amazing. The Grishnakh chase into the forest was cheesy Hollywood.

I do agree with Essex and that these sequences work for me. I never minded Treebeard until he acted as if he had no clue of what was going on around him. (The burning of his forest comes to mind). But, I like this introductory to Treebeard and don't have a quarrel with it.

Also, Essex, not only Aragorn regaining his hope in the "chase" for the Hobbits, but the despair all three of them come across when they first arrive and think they are dead. A well done scene by everyone.

And a bit on accents, supposedly Jackson tried to get Billy Boyd to change his accent, but all of Billy's lines came out rather bad. Then he found out in The Hobbit the Took's invented golf, and Billy's Scottish accent worked fine.
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Old 12-01-2006, 12:36 AM   #10
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Leaf Almost felt you liked the Forest! That's good!

I thought that Grishnákh was better off left where he was, speared by a Rider of Rohan. I suppose PJ just couldn't resist the temptation of having him squished by Treebeard.

Aragorn's unravelling of the tale of Merry and Pippin was good. At least the audience was left with a sense of ambiguity of the hobbits' fate. The edge of Fangorn looked too dark and too CG for my tastes. Also, it seemed to just halt as a wall, and I always imagined that most forests start off as a few trees scattered here and there and not particularly dense until you really got inside them. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Treebeard looked a lot more, well, tree-ish than I imagined him. But it's a fine line, really, and I'm fairly happy with how the creature shop turned him out. I really wish we could have met him during the day time on his hill/shelf/step. Lórien was made out to be dark and unfriendly, and now so is Treebeard. I also thought his dialogue was a bit too slow. He should have been speaking a little slower than a human, but not so slow that it seems laboured and is tiresome to listen to.
I still can't handle the orcs with cockney accents.
Yeah, I felt the same way about the orc accents. Not quite sure what PJ wanted to achieve, there. Maybe make it into a class war, with the educated bourgeois Frodo, Aragorn, Gandalf and co versus the English working class?? Dumb.
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