The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum

Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Middle-Earth Discussions > The Movies > Sequence-by-Sequence
User Name
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-15-2006, 10:00 AM   #1
Doubting Dwimmerlaik
alatar's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Heaven's basement
Posts: 2,488
alatar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.alatar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.
- Isaiah 42:16

Gollum eagerly guides Frodo down the dark path through Torech Ungol. Note that these stairs, or path, has really fallen on hard times, as it appears very rough and ill-conceived. Frodo, seeing the tunnel, finally starts showing some sense. Gollum continues to goad his prey. As Frodo waivers, Gollum hits him with an uppercut. “Go in…or go back.” So, really, there is no choice.

The pathway goes up and down as well as twisting and turning. PJ does this deliberately, and I like it as too often the ‘floor’ is always level – like on the Pelennor Fields. It doesn’t take long for Gollum to leave his Master to that which awaits this sweet morsel. It’s then that Frodo notices that the décor isn’t exactly elvish. The sticky webs yield yet another clue. Gollum is taking off his mask, and will not much longer even play at being Sméagol. Anyone else see ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ here? I also hear an echo of Master Yoda when he says, “You will be…” when Gollum says, “You will see.” Finally, when his new guide utterly abandons him, Frodo realizes that he’s been played the fool, and that Sam was right all along. Now, I know that it’s easier to get Frodo stuck if Sam’s not around, and easier to set Sam up as the savior of the day/hero later, but if you think about it, Frodo, in the last few minutes (screen time) or, at most, day, has both rejected and reaccepted his faithful servant.

Fickle Frodo is.

The dead – bird? – and other assorted hanging objects further hint at what is to come. A sound – not Gollum – signals its approach. Frodo, now panicked, picks up the pace.

Sam struggles down the mountainside. It’s a hard go with all of those tears. He slides, takes a tumble and lands, thankfully, on some solid ground. Coincidentally, he lands right next to the lembas that Gollum had pitched over the edge earlier. Aha! He realizes that (1) his place is by his Master’s side, regardless of Gollum or, (2) Frodo has all of the food! What’s a fat hobbit to do?

Frodo tries to get free of the tunnel, yet continually becomes entangles in webs and whatnot. Starting to despair, the words of Galadriel come back to the hobbit. He draws forth the Phial of Galadriel, and with some elvish words, calls forth light.

Behind him, in what looked like part of the wall is…Shelob! PJ got that moment so right, and I can’t say enough. The huge spider approaches the hobbit, then is held at bay by the light in Frodo’s hand. We are shown that it’s the light that drives the spawn of Ungoliant back, as the creature moves forward and back depending on the intensity of the light.

Frodo also draws Sting, and that’s a help, and I’m yelling for him to say, “Attercop!” Frodo runs, and Shelob pursues with zeal. PJ and WETA give us close up views of the arachnid. Frodo finally gets caught in a net, and one of the Appendices shows how Elijah Wood is suspended.

It’s Cirith Ungol nursery rhymes, read to you by Gollum. The traitor begins to mock Frodo. This spurs Frodo on, and now he’s even more determined to get unstuck. He cuts through the webs as Shelob approaches, and rolls out of the tunnel, and, I guess, to freedom. Note that Sting and the Phial were left behind.

Before he can wipe the cobwebs from his body, Gollum jumps out and attacks his former master. Initially caught unawares, Frodo attacks Gollum and pins him to the ground. Gollum immediately starts confusing the issue, and Frodo buys the Ring as scapegoat. “The devil…ring…made me do it.” Frodo then tips off the scheming, but obviously clueless, Gollum about THE PLAN. When the information finally makes it to Gollum’s withered brain, he explodes and the two wrestle yet again.

Gollum accidentally is thrown over the edge of some cliff, and I guess that it’s goodbye for good. Unless, that it, there’s a Golllum-equivalent for Brego waiting nearby.

Frodo, apologizing to Sam, hits rock-bottom. Luckily, 'rock bottom' is in Lothlorien, as that’s where Frodo awakens. The ever-beautiful Lady of the Golden Wood offers her unstained hand to help the hobbit back to his feet. When he reaches his feet, he’s back before the Tower of Cirith Ungol. Nice scene, nicely done.

As we jump to the next scene, what is striking is the difference in color. Mordor, or its fences, are black and dark purple whereas in the west, somewhere in Anórien (near the Drúadan Forest, perhaps?) are brown. PJ makes it easy - somewhat - for one to know where the scene takes place.

Back on the way to Mundburg, Éomer reports that Minas Tirith is surrounded. The city is aflame, and things look bad. It’s even rumored that Denethor has stopped eating tomatoes! <shudders> Théoden prepares his troops while Dernhelm, not wearing a helm, calls to Merry, also not wearing a helm or stilts. Doesn’t anyone see them? Oh, that’s right, this is PJ’s Middle Earth and if you think that you’re being stealthy, then you’re practically invisible.

Merry, first making a remark, right out of the text, about Eowyn’s despair, makes a speech about what he wants to do. Excellent scene and monologue. He says, “I just want to save my friends.” That’s what this all comes down to, not saving the world, but simply saving those that we love. He counts off his friends. Frodo, Sam, Pippin…lest we forget.

The Rohirrim prepare to ride.

The battle continues at Minas Tirith. Flaming shot are hurled over the walls while trolls (mountain-type) ready Grond for its assault on the Gate. Note that the battering ram has a hook at the back, and though (I guess) that it looks cool, I’m not sure what purpose it serves. Crash! The chains (?) on the Gate’s inside rattle as the ram strikes. Gandalf marshals the Gondorian soldiers, preparing a greeting party for the inevitable. Note to Gandalf: barricade the Gate now, and set soldiers to each side to flank whatever comes through the doors. You might also want to dig out that ‘flashlight’ trick that you used earlier on the Pelennor Fields to drive away the Nazgûl.

Or not.
There is naught that you can do, other than to resist, with hope or without it.
alatar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2006, 04:20 PM   #2
Elladan and Elrohir
Shade of Carn Dûm
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Halls of Mandos
Posts: 332
Elladan and Elrohir has just left Hobbiton.
Whatever you may think of the Frodo-Sam schism, Shelob's Lair is brilliantly conceived and executed. The set, the acting from Wood, the CG spider (it almost doesn't seem right to call her that), the perfect sound effects, and not least the creepy score. It's all magnificent.

And I happen to love the Frodo-Gollum scene that follows, as well. It's certainly not what you'd expect, that just minutes after one betrays the other brutally, they're having a heart-to-heart in between wrestling duels. But it's exactly in keeping with the way PJ has built up their relationship. Neither one is stable, but Frodo finally remembers that he does indeed have a hot date at Mt. Doom (or is that Gollum?), and each one's response to the other is totally logical.

And the Galadriel scene is brilliant also. Tolkien always blushed and nodded when readers did him the honor of comparing Galadriel with the Virgin Mary, and I think this scene is definitely in keeping with that comparison, whether intentionally or not. The Lady of Lorien plays an important role in that scene and in the subsequent scene with Sam in the book, and so I'm thrilled that PJ stuck this moment in there. It's really the defining moment for Frodo in the films, though we almost lose sight of it because he's immediately "killed" by Shelob. This is his turning point. "If you do not find a way, no one will." From this point on, he may lose hope, he may rely on Sam to get him to Orodruin, but he never shirks back from his task. He will never again stop to wonder, "What are we holding onto, Sam?"

Awesome sequence, all-around. Oh, and I guess there's the stuff with the Rohirrim too. Dom Monaghan delivers an amazing monologue as Merry; his character gets the least amount of spotlight time of anyone in the Fellowship, but he shines here. Although I too have always thought it rather stupid that he and Eowyn are sitting in the middle of the camp with helmets off, and no one apparently sees them.
"If you're referring to the incident with the dragon, I was barely involved. All I did was give your uncle a little nudge out of the door."

Elladan and Elrohir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2006, 12:52 AM   #3
Delver in the Deep
doug*platypus's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Aotearoa
Posts: 963
doug*platypus has just left Hobbiton.
The Eye

I have to say that movie Shelob didn't really do it for me. In the book, she was terrifying, second I believe only to the Nazgûl. There was something about her malicious, evil nature that chilled me to the bone. But in the movie, I believe her character was lost, and she was reduced to nothing more than a large spider. Scary to arachnophobes, maybe, but not evil enough to make this climactic scene all that it could have been.

I also prefer Gollum attacking Sam rather than the master who he supposedly had some feelings for. Rather than the twisted and confused entity we know so well from TTT, I believe ROTK Gollum was reduced merely to another bad guy, totally evil and beyond redemption. And that, in my opinion, makes him less interesting.

Although I too have always thought it rather stupid that he and Eowyn are sitting in the middle of the camp with helmets off, and no one apparently sees them.
In PJs defence ( ), Dernhelm in the book had an "understanding" with the leader of the éored (Elfhelm?) such that the presence of her and Merry was known and tolerated.
But Gwindor answered: 'The doom lies in yourself, not in your name'.
doug*platypus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2006, 07:58 AM   #4
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
Essex's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Essex, England
Posts: 887
Essex has just left Hobbiton.
And here is one of the main scenes in this film which ties in exactly with the PREMISE of the whole story. That is Frodo showing copassion towards Gollum, even though he's tried to get him killed. This is what saves Middle-earth. The Redemption of Frodo because of his Compassion to Gollum.

Yes, I know this doesn't happen in the book here, but I think (and hope) it's a nod by PJ towards the whole premise of Frodo's Compassion and Redemption.

Sorry for the broken record bit above. I know I keep harping on about it, but it's so important to me.

Did anyone else notice how much Gollum looks like Andy Serkis here in his close ups by the Tunnel? It is very striking.

Anyway, great Shelob scenes - and the anger Frodo shows getting through the webs - silly old Gollumn, egging him on. Very clever to leave Sting behind as well LOL!

PS Don't worry about saving your friends, Merry. You will help Frodo save all of Middle-earth in a few scenes time!
Essex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2009, 07:10 PM   #5
Doubting Dwimmerlaik
alatar's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Heaven's basement
Posts: 2,488
alatar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.alatar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
The wee one of the tribe wanted to watch RotK last night as she got ready to pass out - she eventually just runs down. Shelob gave her a bit of a fright, and so we cut quickly to the Stanley Cup, and then back after Shelob let Gollum attack Frodo for a while. Anyway, as she (my daughter, not Shelob) finally drifted off on the couch, I sat watching this movie yet again.

Noticed something this time around that I hadn't seen before, and it's nitpicky (what would you expect? ), but just wanted to get it all down.

Grond, the big battering ram used to bludgeon down the gate at Minas Tirith, is too tall. Watch the scene more closely (I used my copy of the EE version of the DVDs; you'll need both). You'll see that Grond is well above the heads of the 'Grond trolls' that push it. Yet when it breaks through the Gate, it's just above. My picture of the Gate shows Grond withdrawn a bit, and so it looks higher than it was when it struck the Gate.

I'm guessing that if everything were to scale, the 'Hammer of the Underworld' should have struck the top portion of the Gate - still effective, that - though I could be wrong. Was this just some inconsequential error that allowed me to fill up a most boring day, or was the Gate supposed to be taller, or is this another case or moreMoreMORE PJ wanting Grond to be bigger, taller, faster...

It's been a slow day.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg grond.jpg (63.4 KB, 253 views)
File Type: jpg gate.jpg (48.4 KB, 325 views)
There is naught that you can do, other than to resist, with hope or without it.
alatar is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:53 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.