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Old 11-29-2006, 11:00 AM   #1
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LotR3-RotK-Seq14

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? - William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet


Web-based Frodo staggers on. He sees a tower in the distance – no, not that tower (with the EyeBall searchlight), but the Tower of Cirith Ungol. More stairs, not as steep, show the way. The edge of Mordor seems to be in reach. He begins to hurry, thinking stealthy thoughts. Something else is thinking those thoughts as well. Shelob sneaks up behind the unsuspecting hobbit. Professionally she stalks her meal, waiting for the right moment to jab Frodo with her sting...er.

Ever notice that when the bad guys are stalking the good guys in movies that the baddie never ever tramps on a branch, or sets a stone a tumbling, or falls within the stalkee’s peripheral vision?

Oh wait! There is a noise, and Frodo turns to find the source, but to no avail. Note that Shelob must be wearing an air freshener. Suddenly, the stinger appears, dripping with some venom (anyone else find that odd?) then WHAP! Frodo is stung in the chest. It’s amazing that Shelob doesn’t puncture a lung, or the heart, or cause some other internal bleeding, but then again, after all of this time in Arda she surely knows her business. And even more amazing is that the old spider knows enough and can see well enough underneath her vast bulk to miss that pretty mithril shirt.

Elijah Wood reacts to the bite (you know what I mean) and then foams at the mouth. This brings back wonderful memories as, long ago in a far off land, before the invention of the internet, we used the exact same technique to cause foaming in our little movie as did PJ et al. Bromo Seltzer produces foam when you add water. Tastes terrible, and don’t try this at home. Anyway…

Shelob hastens to gather up and package her meal, spinning Frodo into a web sleeping bag. The close up shots of Shelob’s mouth, to me, aren’t as I would imagine. She seems too clean, too much like an ordinary spider of gigantic proportions.

Something approaches. Sam, armed with Sting and the Phial of Galadriel (conveniently each was stuck in the web back in the tunnel, and forgotten by Frodo – what would the poor hobbit sitting back in Rivendell think?) attacks Shelob after spouting off some lines, and the hobbit versus arachnid battle ensues. Loosing the Phial, Sam must fight hand-to-chelicerae (Fangs? Jaws?), and to me he’s just too comfortable placing hand and foot all over Shelob’s face and mouth. Yuck! The fat hobbit, unlike all of those champions of old, gives the giant spider fits. Reading Tolkien and seeing PJ’s take, one begins to wonder if hobbits are the natural born enemies – and killers – of spider-kind. If only Yavanna and Nienna had kept a few hanging around. Squaring off again (does this look like a wrestling/boxing ring?), Shelob comes at Sam, who stabs out one her eyes. He, thinking her blind now in that side, comes at her and stabs her in the mouth, and she tries to eat the spiderbane. Knocked about once again, Sam loses his sword and then must dodge Shelob’s now inaccurate sting. He finally regains his weapon and stabs the spider in the underbelly. Wounded in both eye and belly (and mouth?), Shelob is more sensitive to the light from the Phial, which Sam uses now to affect. Shelob has had enough and retreats to fight another day.

Sam now rushes to his Master’s side, and tears the Silly String rubber cords from the prone hobbit’s face. Frodo looks like a zombie, which, actually, is good, as to me, in these movies, people who are dead either aren’t seen on camera anymore or have their eyes closed. Sam cries over his Master’s fate, and I love the line, “Don’t go where I cannot follow.” While Sam hugs Frodo close, Sting begins to glow. Warning! Orcs approaching! Sam scampers away before they draw close, then he spies on their conversation. Note that he seems not to be afraid that old Shelob will stick him in the back.

What’s this? Frodo’s not dead? What’s Sam to do? Interesting that these orcs, having never seen a hobbit before (at least not outside The Zoo Beside the Núrnen Sea, where they eat boned fish), do not act surprised to see such a creature.

Back in Minas Tirith, Pip, having his fill of battle, returns to his station by Denethor’s side. Maybe Mr. Tomatohead wants to hear another song with his meal. But what’s this? The Steward is preparing a barbecue, and Faramir is to be the main course! Denethor looms large over his second son, who burns with a fever. Leechcraft must have fallen off since the Númenórean days, as everyone knows you don’t burn a fever. Quick – call for the Herbmaster to find what herbs go well with princes.

Pip lets everyone in the room know that Faramir’s not dead yet. Okay, he wasn’t when last Pip laid close eyes on him, but is he sure that Faramir hasn’t expired since? Pip goes into a rage, and Denethor will hear none of it. He drags poor Pip out of the room, and I almost see myself dragging one of my children out the toy store door. I actually like how Denethor releases Pip from his service, casting him outside like so much garbage. Very arrogant and dismissive. And the Appendices show how one actor is thrown down and another (Billy Boyd) pops up perfectly. No CG, just a simple camera trick, and well done.

Pippin looks for Gandalf, swimming upstream in a sea of wounded retreating soldiers. Will he find help in time? And what’s the point? Faramir’s just another doomed soul in this lost city. And the orcs have Frodo, and so Pip’s valor is vain.
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Old 11-29-2006, 11:48 AM   #2
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Some brief thoughts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alatar
The close up shots of Shelob’s mouth, to me, aren’t as I would imagine. She seems too clean, too much like an ordinary spider of gigantic proportions.
I had always thought of Shelob as something more than a giant spider - something more demonic - and much of the Tolkien art represents her thusly. But, ultimately, I thought the decision to go with the giant spider representation (apparently, she is based on a funnel-web) was a good one. It makes her more real - and therefore (being an arachnaphobe) - more scary to me. Other than her size, the only difference, anatomically speaking, is the stinger, but that's from the book.

I love the shot of her creepng out, legs first, from the tunnel, as Frodo passes unsuspectingly below. Her movement is exactly that of a real spider - chilling stuff (for me, at least)!

Quote:
Originally Posted by alatar
Ever notice that when the bad guys are stalking the good guys in movies that the baddie never ever tramps on a branch, or sets a stone a tumbling, or falls within the stalkee’s peripheral vision?
Aw, c'mon. She's an expert hunter. Frodo never stood a chance. Then again ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by alatar
And even more amazing is that the old spider knows enough and can see well enough underneath her vast bulk to miss that pretty mithril shirt.
There's a thread on that somewhere - with a photo of a shirtless Frodo when Sam comes across in the Tower (oops, spoiler ) and much discussion of whether a particular scar was the entry point for the stinger and why the mithril coat didn't stop it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alatar
Something approaches. Sam, armed with Sting and the Phial of Galadriel (conveniently each was stuck in the web back in the tunnel, and forgotten by Frodo – what would the poor hobbit sitting back in Rivendell think?) attacks Shelob after spouting off some lines, and the hobbit versus arachnid battle ensues.
Is it just me, or did Sam's line put anyone else in mind of Ripley confronting the Alien Queen at the end of Alien 2: "Get away from her, you b____", or something like that?

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Originally Posted by alatar
Frodo looks like a zombie ...
More like Michael Jackson. That spider venom sure does wonders in cleaning away facial grime.
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Old 12-15-2006, 11:23 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alatar
He sees a tower in the distance – no, not that tower (with the EyeBall searchlight), but the Tower of Cirith Ungol. More stairs, not as steep, show the way.
I love this shot. Taken DIRECTLY from the picture between page 752 and 753 of the centenary hardback edition of LOTR.


Quote:
Shelob sneaks up behind the unsuspecting hobbit.
How creepy was that? I still have a little shudder when watching this scene on my LCS with al the lights off in the room.


Quote:
Something approaches. Sam, armed with Sting and the Phial of Galadriel (conveniently each was stuck in the web back in the tunnel, and forgotten by Frodo – what would the poor hobbit sitting back in Rivendell think?) attacks Shelob after spouting off some lines, and the hobbit versus arachnid battle ensues.
And here we have one of the two main reasons movie Sam was sent away by Frodo, much to the nashing of teeth of many a viewer......Our Hero Saves The Day


Quote:
Shelob has had enough and retreats to fight another day.
....and whether she lay long in her lair, nursing her malice and her misery, and in slow years of darkness healed herself from within, rebuilding her clustered eyes, until with hunger like death she spun once more her dreadful snares in the glens of the Mountains of Shadow, this Movie does not tell.....


Quote:
Warning! Orcs approaching! Sam scampers away before they draw close, then he spies on their conversation.
And then maybe movie Sam does not follow Frodo into the West, as he doesn't wear the Ring????


Quote:
Back in Minas Tirith.......I actually like how Denethor releases Pip from his service, casting him outside like so much garbage. Very arrogant and dismissive. And the Appendices show how one actor is thrown down and another (Billy Boyd) pops up perfectly. No CG, just a simple camera trick, and well done.
Totally agree. This was very well done. Almost patronising as well as arrogant too.
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Old 12-15-2006, 03:04 PM   #4
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The sting is gorgeous and wrenchingly suspenseful. And while I love the cinematography here, particularly the steep angle that gazes up at Frodo and the spider above him, the sound is what rocks. Or rather, the silence. It's not only brilliant for the scene, but brilliant for the film, because this scene is sandwiched between loud battle scenes.

Sam showing up is everything it should have been. TRIVIA: In the first shot where you see his arm holding Sting, facing Shelob, the arm is actually not that of Sean Astin, but of Master Peter Jackson himself! There's an interesting image for you: PJ as Sam.

The movie Denethor has finally blended with the book, and this scene with Pip is great. Again I will say it: Billy Boyd is phenomenal in this film. And John Noble ain't half bad either.
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Old 12-15-2006, 03:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Essex
....and whether she lay long in her lair, nursing her malice and her misery, and in slow years of darkness healed herself from within, rebuilding her clustered eyes, until with hunger like death she spun once more her dreadful snares in the glens of the Mountains of Shadow, this Movie does not tell.....
It's rumored that Shelob, after RotK, when off to direct Charlotte's Web, taking a break from acting.


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And then maybe movie Sam does not follow Frodo into the West, as he doesn't wear the Ring????
As you might say, just because we don't see Sam put the Ring on doesn't mean that he doesn't.
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Old 12-15-2006, 03:18 PM   #6
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True. After all, we don't even see him take the Ring. I thought that was just a tad awkward, because we cut from Sam hearing the orcs and looking around furtively to the orcs showing up and Sam hiding, so even though there was actually some extra time in there, the audience doesn't know that till later.
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Old 12-15-2006, 03:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Elladan and Elrohir
True. After all, we don't even see him take the Ring. I thought that was just a tad awkward, because we cut from Sam hearing the orcs and looking around furtively to the orcs showing up and Sam hiding, so even though there was actually some extra time in there, the audience doesn't know that till later.
It's another 'tension-heightening' moment where you're to think, however briefly, that the One Ring may have fallen into enemy hands. Other gotcha moments are the loss of Gollum, Sam, Aragorn, Gandalf in the Shire, etc. I'm too tired to list them all.
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Old 12-17-2006, 02:42 PM   #8
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But Sam HID from the Orcs. In other words he didn't put the Ring on as he did in the book at this juncture.

Very good point using my logic that he could of put it on somewhere else! Touche! But, he could have only put it on as he went up the steps of the gorge towards Cirith Ungol, as we 'see' him as he approaches the Tower and goes up the steps.......
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Old 12-19-2006, 09:57 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Essex
But Sam HID from the Orcs. In other words he didn't put the Ring on as he did in the book at this juncture.
Could the power of the Ring permitted Sam to understand the orcs, who in this case weren't speaking 'Common' nor speaking very loudly, even though Sam did not have the Ring upon his finger? And does he feel now its weight, and get delusions of Samwise the Great, Hero of the Age?


Quote:
Very good point using my logic that he could of put it on somewhere else! Touche! But, he could have only put it on as he went up the steps of the gorge towards Cirith Ungol, as we 'see' him as he approaches the Tower and goes up the steps.......
Not how I intended that. One thing that you've taught me here is that, just because we don't see something 'on screen' doesn't mean that it actually didn't happen - unless, that is, something in the film conflicts with it. We can speculate about Sam wearing the One Ring, but cannot extrapolate that Merry found his blade in the Barrows. We, as far as I know, don't see anything that would indicate that Sam did not put on the Ring, but we do see Merry receiving his sword (requiring sharpening in Rohan) from Aragorn.

Each week I view and write about the LotR trilogy by Peter Jackson, and so, when the movies appear on network TV, what do I watch?
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Old 12-19-2006, 10:27 AM   #10
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We, as far as I know, don't see anything that would indicate that Sam did not put on the Ring, but we do see Merry receiving his sword (requiring sharpening in Rohan) from Aragorn.
Good point. But I reckon that the 'sword' Merry used was in fact a dagger he got from Galadriel. And she said that it was of Numenorean make didn't she? Just like the one from the Barrow perhaps.......
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Old 12-19-2006, 10:57 AM   #11
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Good point. But I reckon that the 'sword' Merry used was in fact a dagger he got from Galadriel. And she said that it was of Numenorean make didn't she? Just like the one from the Barrow perhaps.......
He should have asked for the return receipt, as from Lothlorien to Dunharrow the sword goes from 'elvish pristine' to 'orc rusty.' Pippin's orc-foot tromped brooch, traveling much of the same distance, fairs much better.
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Old 12-20-2006, 02:41 AM   #12
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no, I mean he's got a sword (i.e. the one Aragorn gave him) but he's also got a dagger from Galadriel......

and look at the way he stabs the WK - it seems to me to be the way he holds it dagger sized for him rather than a sword....

and yes I know one of the Weapons and Warfare book says it's Theoden's sword he kills the WK with, but I'm disregarding that!
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