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Old 11-23-2006, 07:56 AM   #1
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LotR3-RotK-Seq13

They're here. - Poltergeist, 1982

Pippin looks out over the city and the battle. Seemingly ants, from this height, both attack and defend. All is dark, and even the multitude of torches give no real light…or hope. Behind him there is movement. The Steward leads a procession, possibly the beginning of a funeral. Denethor’s words about “Thus have I walked,” seem out of context. I can see what PJ intends, but…

And by the by, just how do they keep the body of Faramir from sliding off of that shield-looking thing on which he lies?

As Denethor walks past the Tree and says that there is “no hope for Men,” we see in the foreground one single white bloom. Maybe all is not lost. Pippin follows the Steward down the Rath Dínen, the Silent Street, to the tombs of the Kings. Denethor, looking out on his city, wonders why anyone even tries to escape the tide of death that is overtaking them, as sooner or later, all will die, he thinks. Note that he has time to choose the manner of his death while those below sell themselves so that he has said time. We see in a long shot that Pippin still follows behind, and I assume that, as the hobbit walks in a hunched manner, that he is being stealthy, as so cannot be seen.

We enter one of the tombs (seeing former Kings and Stewards on the sides) and learn what Denethor intends for he and his remaining son. It’s to be a barbecue, and royalty is back on the menu.

Back at the Gate, Grond punches a hole through on the third try. Gandalf pumps up the troops, letting everyone know that, whether Battle Troll or Fuller Brush salesman, the soldiers on Gondor are to stand their ground. Thanks for the advice, oh wise one. Three Battle Trolls (specifically at the request of PJ) enter as the Gate is destroyed. Gandalf looks frightened as these huge beasts make their entrance, and after a pause he gives them a volley. This doesn't seem to slow them, and shortly after this, about a thousand assorted orcs enter through the Gate, which, previously, no enemy has passed. Gandalf and Shadowfax manage to take out one troll, but this is a drop in the bucket.

What I can never figure is why the Gate wasn't plugged with so many enemy dead that entering Minas Tirith would have been slow work? Anyway...

The Gate is open.
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Old 11-23-2006, 08:17 AM   #2
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And by the by, just how do they keep the body of Faramir from sliding off of that shield-looking thing on which he lies?
Toothpicks.
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Old 11-23-2006, 12:38 PM   #3
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Old 11-23-2006, 01:51 PM   #4
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There is something in this affair of Denethor's pyre and indeed most of all concerning Denethor that I think PJ kind of oversimplifies and caricatures.

When I read the book, I see both Boromir and his father as remnants of something like the age of classical virtues and human courage disenchanted from magic or unawaited kicks of luck - not to mention any benevolent powers above the understanding of men. Like Romans, in a sense. Wanting to be buried "as the heathen kings of old" just affirms this interpretation.

In the movie Boromir is taken by the lust of power and the lure of force (aided by the Ring, surely), but Denethor is just a wicked, unjust and selfish steward going mad. In the book his downfall was furthered by the "knowledge" he had from the Palantir, but here we see little of it. So just a madman?

Somehow in the book there is one kind of courage and nobleness in their behaviour, but in the movies they, at least Denethor, seem to be just examples of wrongly-thinking losers.
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Old 12-11-2006, 10:08 AM   #5
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You realise just how much PJ loves Middle-earth when you see Rath Dinen. The quality of the workmanship in the tombs is just breathtaking. To put all that effort in to a few minutes of screen time shows the love and care PJ has for this material. Yes, he has his own ideas on what constitues an adaption of book form to movie form and we can all agree and disagree on how well he has done this, but the level of detail and craftmenship on these films cannot be denied, surely....

PS I agree somewhat about Denethor's portrayal not being correct. If we could have at least seen the palntir, esp. in the EE. but alas, no. I still view the movie as Denethor DOES have the palantir and is driven mad by it, it's just that we don't see it.....

But I do believe that Jacskon got Boromir spot on character wise. Petulant, childish, heroic, patriotic and blinkered........

PS Gandalf's look as the trolls come through the gate - now THAT look might have worked better when he was confronted by the witch king................
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Old 12-15-2006, 11:47 AM   #6
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PS Gandalf's look as the trolls come through the gate - now THAT look might have worked better when he was confronted by the witch king................
What still kills me is how quickly the Army of Darkness gains the Gate. My daughter and I were watching Xena this morning, and the episode dealt with the Battle of Thermopylae. Xena single-handedly holds off the attacking Persians, littering the landscape with dead until the invaders think better of visiting Greece. Not exactly sure that that was 'history,' but the movie The 300 may be a somewhat closer retelling of the event in 480 BC where a small group of determined soldiers held off a large force, using the narrow road to extreme advantage.

Think that the Americans have the 'Alamo.'

Anyway, so seeing these examples it irks me that PJ, via the Gondorian soldiers under Gandalf's command, didn't fill the Grond-broken gate with troll and orc dead. Even if it only gave a moments pause - Gothmog could have had Grond swing one more time, pushing the carcasses out of the way - it would have at least made Gandalf and the Gondorians somewhat competent. PJ could then continue with his 'desperate situation' portrayal, but I would then at least not thought the defense impotent.

Thoughts?
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Old 12-15-2006, 02:53 PM   #7
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Well, PJ doesn't generally portray competent soldiers. His Last Alliance dudes do pretty well till Sauron shows up, but the Helm's Deep dads-n-lads are pathetic, and the Gondorians in this film aren't much better. Even his flashy Lorien Elves all die in the Deep.

I wonder if this was to compensate for the fact that out of all his heroes, only three die and one of those comes back to life.
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Old 12-15-2006, 03:33 PM   #8
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Well, PJ doesn't generally portray competent soldiers. His Last Alliance dudes do pretty well till Sauron shows up, but the Helm's Deep dads-n-lads are pathetic, and the Gondorians in this film aren't much better. Even his flashy Lorien Elves all die in the Deep.

I wonder if this was to compensate for the fact that out of all his heroes, only three die and one of those comes back to life.
I really think that PJ had two things in mind - to keep the 'main cast' number as small as possible, and to increase the 'value' of said heroes such as Aragorn. Look at Eomer - he, I guess, had to be included, but so far, just what has he done? Why does he, becoming King, follow Aragorn into Mordor? These two aren't the brothers that we see in the books. And missing are Erkenbrand and Imrahil.

And, as you all well know, I think that Gandalf was deliberately shown in a lesser light in order to exalt Aragorn.
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Old 12-17-2006, 02:35 PM   #9
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Anyway, so seeing these examples it irks me that PJ, via the Gondorian soldiers under Gandalf's command, didn't fill the Grond-broken gate with troll and orc dead......

Thoughts?
Well, Tolkien did not have this, so I am happy that PJ didn't either. I'm sure if we DID have this, Tolkien 'purists' would be gnashing their teeth and complaing!
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Old 12-19-2006, 09:48 AM   #10
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Well, Tolkien did not have this, so I am happy that PJ didn't either. I'm sure if we DID have this, Tolkien 'purists' would be gnashing their teeth and complaing!
You don't need the purists - I can always find some about which to complain (it's a gift ). We could have stayed true to the book and not allowed the enemy to enter the Gate (by killing them all there), but then the ever vaunted tension wouldn't be increased, and the film would subsequently have flopped.

Could PJ have kept the enemy from inside Minas Tirith yet still evoked the same feeling of despair (like when the soldiers, women and children are running from the enemy)? Ideas?
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Old 12-19-2006, 10:23 AM   #11
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uh oh - I must hold my hands up and admit I'd forgotten (well never realised to be honest) that as the Gate was broken the City was not besieged......

I've been frantically leafing through my old copy of ROTK. And you live and learn! Only the Witch King made it through.

That is a bit funny though, seing as the Orcs had used Grond to break down the Gate and then did not make thier way through into the City, especially as the WK had frightened everyone off from the vicinity of the Gate (and Gandalf had run off to aid Faramir)

mmmmmmmm.......... Plot hole perhaps?
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Old 12-19-2006, 02:15 PM   #12
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That is a bit funny though, seing as the Orcs had used Grond to break down the Gate and then did not make thier way through into the City, especially as the WK had frightened everyone off from the vicinity of the Gate (and Gandalf had run off to aid Faramir)

mmmmmmmm.......... Plot hole perhaps?
... or it may have had something to do with the horde of battle-frenzied horsemen cutting through their rearguard.
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Old 12-20-2006, 02:38 AM   #13
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very good point. but are thousands of orcs not yet battling with the horsemen (ie out of range perhaps nearer the city) just going to wait around to fight them, or attack the city as they were commanded to no doubt?
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Old 12-22-2006, 09:37 AM   #14
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My guess, from the text, is that the defense remained stout in the area of the Gate. Only the Black Rider, riding though the broken gate, could have beaten back all resistance. When the Witch-King is driven from the Gate by Gandalf (some think that the Rohirrim horns were what made him break off his attack, but we all know that it's lucky that Pippin showed up when he did to save the Witch-King from Gandalf's staff ), Sauron's forces are no match for Prince Imrahil and his soldiers, who plug the gap with dead foes. Add to that that the sun has risen, and in the books the orcs and other ilk do not fight optimally in daylight.

My guess.
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Old 12-22-2006, 12:57 PM   #15
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That and the fact that a besieging army attacked from the rear by a bunch of frenzied horseboys is going to be in rather a state of confusion.

No doubt, the Witch-King's main reason for not wiping the White Walls with Gandalf ( ) was that he needed to regain some semblance of command over his befuddled (and bedazzled) troops.
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Old 12-22-2006, 01:14 PM   #16
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That and the fact that a besieging army attacked from the rear by a bunch of frenzied horseboys is going to be in rather a state of confusion.
Assume that the Rohirrim are somewhere near the Rammas, which is some distance from the Gate (One league? Ten?). If the Rohirrim are attacking even within, the enemy at the Gate would not know of it until some time has passed - enough time to take a step or two within the Gate before which no enemy had passed. Would be something worth attempting, and even if you didn't buy the commemorative T-shirt, it would be something to regale the grand orcs as they sit upon your scaly knee later in life.


Quote:
No doubt, the Witch-King's main reason for not wiping the White Walls with Gandalf ( ) was that he needed to regain some semblance of command over his befuddled (and bedazzled) troops.
It be noted that hadn't Pip applied his usual spanner to the situation that Gandalf would have ridden after the Witch-King. The Witch-King leaves his worst enemy unfought because there is no one with whom he can trust to meet the oncoming counterattack - oft evil will mar evil, or something.

Anyway, had Gandalf taken a provocative step forward, PJ may have filmed the entire scene differently, with Gandalf astride an Eagle in arial combat with the Witch-King.
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