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Old 02-16-2006, 03:09 PM   #1
alatar
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alatar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.alatar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
LotR2-TTT-Seq02

But your thoughts will soon be wandering, the way they always do.
When your riding sixteen hours and there’s nothing much to do
And you don’t feel much like riding, you just wish the trip was through.
Say, here I am, on the road again. there I am, up on the stage.
Here I go, playing star again.
There I go, turn the page.
(Turn the Page by Bob Seger)

The Uruk-hai march through rocky terrain while Merry and Pippin cling to their necks. We get a closer look at this evil brood – some helmed, some with bows and quivers, all menacing. Somehow I’m reminded of the Planet of the Apes movies. The size of the orcs or hobbits (whichever) is spot on in relationship to the other. We see Pippin calling out to Merry, who is apparently wounded in the head and unconscious.

The Uruk leader (Uglúk?) scents something, and calls for the troop to halt. Clever that even back in the Third Age, in Middle Earth, that a paramilitary organization signals ‘stop’ with a raised clenched fist. Now just in how many movies have I seen that before? Anyway, the Uruks encounters a few orc-maggots that begin questioning them. How these new orcs knew where to wait, that the Uruks would be returning at that time is…not a concern. And is any orc tribe blanched by the sun?

I’m starting to suspect that they vacation at the Bay of Belfalas, catching some rays as they play in the waves. If two orcs play volleyball against two other orcs on a beach, just what is that called?

At least we have a little contention between the two groups, just like in the books. Are these orcs from Moria or Lugbúrz? And in FotR wasn’t Saruman the puppet of Sauron? I guess that since we’d last seen him he’s decided to set up on his own. Is Saruman via these orcs hoping to capture the Ring for himself? But in FotR, he was buddy buddy with the Big Eye Guy, and so I think that PJ is a little inconsistent.

Regardless, the hobbits are on their way to bed and breakfast, all that they can stomach. Stupidly, but then again, this is Pip – Pip begs the Uruks to give poor sick Merry a drink of water. Surely he’s not that naïve. Or did PJ want to show us what kind of cruel creatures these Uruks are?

So Merry gets some tender loving care from an orc medic. Not sure what that brown liquid is, but at least it revives poor Merry - that or the near drowning experience helped wake him up. Not only does the orc doctor laugh at Merry’s discomfort, but my my, isn’t he articulate? The other Uruks seem only to grunt, but this one goes on and on ranting in some accent (can’t quite place it). Pip gets threatened with some of the same medicine, and this shuts him up. Did anyone else cheer?

Leave be, Pip.

And don’t you feel just horrible for Merry? Wounded, in the clutches of cross-country Uruks, force-fed some horrid swill, and has Pip as a friend and companion. He probably knows how Húrin’s son felt. And unlike Pip, who seems terrified (and rightly so) by the cruelty that he sees, Merry tries to put his friend at ease by shining up the situation. It was just an act… and next time leave me to my dark dreams, Pip (as waking is worse).

Meanwhile, an orc with the man-flesh sniffles detects pursuit, and so the now restless troop begins the race to Orthanc again. Pippin guesses that the pursuers include Aragorn, whether by luck, plot device or knowing that the Ranger never ever changed his clothes, and so decides to leave a clue. Not idly do the leaves of Lorien fall, and so Pip bites the clasp of his cloak and spits it away.

An aside: why do the orcs have very high foreheads, as in no hair above their eyebrows?

Next we see Aragorn, who might be sleeping on a rock pillow. Or not. He was just listening to the footfalls of the orcs in the distance. Note that I tried to explain to my boss that this same skill works today, whereby I can lay my head down on my desk and hear the data packets moving across the internet, but he didn’t buy it.

Aragorn not only hears the orcs, but also notices that they just quickened their pace, and then deduced it was from the human, dwarf and elf scent. My my Sherlock, that’s some extrapolating - and before breakfast even.

Legolas appears next, and he calls back to Gimli. Gimli informs us that it’s been three days and nights without food or rest, and there’s been no sign of the orcs, except, of course, Aragorn’s listening to the bare rocks. This dwarf doesn’t realize that he’s being had, as I bet Aragorn, with the help of Legolas, has to listen every now and again while the dwarf stands watch.

“Aragorn, were you snoring?”

“No, no, of course not, my good dwarf. You see, I was just using echo location to pinpoint the orcs’ exact location. It’s a highly developed skill in us Rangers. I send out that noise that you wrongfully hear as snoring, and Legolas, lying on the ground over there, hears it after bounces off of the orcs. Sometimes we have to lie on the ground for an hour or so to get an exact reading. We’d like for you to help, but you’re just not skilled at it, and of course someone has to stand watch…”

We get more running scenes. The actors (not John Rhys-Davies) were told to ‘run’ while being filmed from a helicopter. After some footage was captured, the three runners would be moved to a different location and told to hoof it some more.

“Run with intent.”

I think that Orlando Bloom is running with cracked ribs, and so that couldn’t have been too much fun. It that why he always looks pained when he yells back to Gimli?

Again the scenery is just great. PJ filmed on location in Middle Earth.

Aragorn finds the leaf-clasp dropped by Pip, and this gives the three hunters hope that at least one of the little folk are alive and has his wits about him…er…anyway. Aragorn and Legolas seem to be gaining on the orcs, who are now less than a day ahead (I guess that’s how we’re to interpret that). But where is the third hunter?

Here comes the dwarf jokes! Not too bad yet, but this is the high point of a bad trend. Haha, Gimli’s a sprinter, not a distance man…or person…dwarf. Cute, but not as funny as he’d just come tumbling down a hillside. Surely the pace of the pursuit would make Gimli a little slaphappy, even a stout dwarf of many long journeys such as he, and so I can accept the humor, but the falling/tumbling down?

We get to see the grassy plains of Rohan, announced both by Legolas and Howard Shore. I was expecting less rocks and more grass, even here this close to the river in the Eastemnet. The three hunters (Gimli finally catches up, and already seems to be holding the other two back) look out over the plains, and Aragorn ‘feels’ that something is lending speed to the Uruks yet is hindering their pursuit. Hey, could it be the natural sprinter?

Legolas uses his keen elvish vision to spot the orcs and notes that they are moving towards Isengard, presumably through the forests of Fangorn. Just in case we forgot who or what Isengard is, Aragorn reminds us that it’s the home of that crazy wizard that gave Gandalf and the rest of the FotR so much grief in FotR.

But what has the White Wizard been up to while we dallied in Lorien and floated down the Anduin?
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Old 02-17-2006, 11:15 AM   #2
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just a little thing first. its the little mistakes that sometimes urk me more than the 'big' ones. "They're taking the hobbits North East to Isengard". Sorry can't buy this one. North WEST you silly elf!

I can come up with an answer for Legolas looking to his left towards the Orcs on the Western Shore whilst on the river (he was going through the bit of the RIver where it loops around near the Wold), but I can't figure out a way around North East.......
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Old 02-17-2006, 11:36 AM   #3
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alatar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.alatar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Cool that you caught that. Many who are unfamiliar with ME geography will not realize the error until they get a glimpse of the map later in the film (I think), and by that time would most likely have forgotten what 'Legolas the compass-challenged elf' said. My question is why didn't he say "south east," as the way PJ has set up Saruman, I don't see any reason to have the hobbits go to Orthanc.
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Old 02-17-2006, 11:40 AM   #4
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Sting

As astutely described by Alatar , this is an example of
PJ's schisophrenic nature in presenting LOTR, great
scenery and bits taken correctly/brilliantly from the
book versus a tendency to insert rather silly "humor"
and nonbook inserts which mostly
don't work. Of course PJ could have portrayed the chase
as Aragorn and Legolas running along tossing Gimli
back and forth between them.

But if you ignore his changes this scene does
capture very well the orc/three hunters chase.
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Old 02-17-2006, 01:28 PM   #5
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My brother tirelessly tries to imitate the "Manflesh!" part. It gets kind of annoying but it tells me that my brother is more obsessed with LOTR then he will admit. (Yeah, my conversion was almost succesful!!)

Anyway, I love the scenery in this sequence, especially during the running since you get this flying feeling. (Especially in the theatre which is why they should bring LOTR to Imax )

I think the first sign of Pippin's "growing up" is when he leaves his brooch. It is a clever idea and certainly not something Pippin would have thought of back in FOTR. He is becoming less of a fool although he still has his "stupid moments"

I like that this sequence contrasts the story of Frodo and Sam because the pace is certainly much higher. Which I think is good because otherwise this movie would really drag.
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Old 02-20-2006, 03:13 AM   #6
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Now we get to the point in the movies were Jackson takes a detour from the order of the text. Tolkien himself stated that if his work WAS dramatasised, then the drama should follow the order of his book, and not chop and change about following the timelines of the characters.

I respectively totally disagree with Tolkien here. Leave Frodo and Sam out of the film for 1.5 hours, then bring them back to cover the other 1.5 hours and finish the movie off? OK, we would have the best Cliffhanger in all of movie history if we followed this to a tee, but that is the ONLY advantage I can see in this way of telling the story.

Anyone care to discuss?
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Old 02-20-2006, 02:08 PM   #7
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I agree with you Essex. If the book was followed it confuse everybody including myself.
It would also seem rather pointless because you sort of wrap up the one story-line with the battle which is a huge climax and then going back to Frodo and sam would create a huge anti-climax. It would make the story seem so deflated.
It works in the books but I could never see it work in a movie.
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Old 02-20-2006, 03:37 PM   #8
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I too would agree. Though it is easier to have the storylines linear and uninterrupted, in this case there's just no way you could do it like that. The question, then, is how well do you think that Professor Jackson pulled that off, in regards to the storylines and transitions between the same.

As noted, some viewers were looking for a prologue to get them started again in ME, but I'm not really interested in that as much as I see this as one movie. By this sequence we've already seen Gandalf (though he's dead), we've re-established Frodo and Sam (and have added Gollum), have met the Three Hunters and even get to see Pip afflict another member of the FotR (Merry) with some pain.

Not sure what else PJ could be doing.
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Old 04-20-2006, 09:59 PM   #9
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I respectively totally disagree with Tolkien here. Leave Frodo and Sam out of the film for 1.5 hours, then bring them back to cover the other 1.5 hours and finish the movie off? OK, we would have the best Cliffhanger in all of movie history if we followed this to a tee, but that is the ONLY advantage I can see in this way of telling the story.~Essex
I would actually have to agree to, and maybe one of the only things I'm glad PJ changed. I know what you're talking about, I think it's letter 210 where Tolkien is going after Zimmerman, and talks about how it should be as written in the book. I too disagree with Tolkien, I think the linear style he uses of telling both stories works absolutely fine in a book. I've never liked books that constantly jump around go back/forward in time. I like the linear style and telling each story seperately.

With that being said, I don't think such a story telling would work well in movies. I liked the mixing of each story in the movies, and I agree I don't think it would be good to tell Aragorn..etc and then Frodo's journey...theatrically...works fine in the books. I will even go further and say Jackson did an EXCELLENT job of telling all stories at the same time, a very difficult thing to do and Jackson had to deal with telling all 3 stories (Merry and Pippin, Aragorn and Co, Frodo and Sam) and at the same time.

The thing that bothers me most about this scene is the humor of Gimli. I thought FOTR Gimli was rather light-hearted and funny, yet I never lost the sense of what a Dwarf was and what type of people they were. When we get into TTT however and this "wheezing and falling down" Gimli, it is so totally undwarvish you would think Jackson didn't read the books. What's even more annoying about this scene is it creates the wrong impression and I've seen several threads questioning why is Gimli in the Fellowship, he serves no purpose and all he did was slow Aragorn and Legolas down. It's these kinds of changes in Gimli that get me the most annoyed. (I actually think the Dwarf Women scene is quite hilarious...and I will get to it as I catch up on all I've missed) but pretty much the rest of the humor through the rest of the movie (and ROTK) I don't find funny and find it a detriment to the movies.

Other than that I must say another great job, Merry and Pippin with the Orcs were well done. Though Grishnakh seemed to be more driven by eating the two hobbits than getting smart and thinking they had the Ring, you get a good feel of the ruthlessness and cruelty of the Orcs.
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Old 04-24-2006, 01:01 PM   #10
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I think this portrayal of the numerous storylines shows the difference between what a movie can do and what a book can do. I am sure this is something a lot of directors struggle with when making a movie out of a book.
Especially a book like LOTR
I think because PJ mixed the stories it strengthened the movie. For me it had a more psychological affect. Especially during the battle of helm's Deep when it switched to the ents.
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Old 11-28-2006, 04:27 AM   #11
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Yeah, the three (four counting Gandalf) threads of the adventures of the Fellowship were just begging to be inter-cut one with the other in a film version. In the book, jumping back and forth would be confusing. But in the movie, having one story told before the other would be confusing. We would lose track of exactly when events were taking place. In the book, Tolkien was able to place timelines in, for example when Sam and Frodo are travelling through Mordor and he says "Théoden lay dying on the Pelennor Fields". No such opportunity to do this in a movie. Tolkien was a brilliant author, but he was not a film director. Whatever mistakes Jackson made in his interpretation of the book, he remains a good director with a number of successes under his (these days much looser) belt.

I thought that the Uruks looked magnificent; much better than in FOTR, where they all basically looked like clones, apart from Lurtz.

"I'm wasted on cross country. We Dwarves are natural sprinters!" did elicit a chuckle from me. One of the few times I appreciated the Gimli sideshow, wildly inaccurate though this quote is.
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:34 AM   #12
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I thought Merry was kinda laughing at Pippin when he said I fooled you too. Poor Pippin had to been wanting to smack his cousin for the scare..Just saying
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