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Old 12-13-2006, 09:33 AM   #1
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alatar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.alatar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
LotR3-RotK-Seq16

Thou wast all that to me, love,
For which my soul did pine-
A green isle in the sea, love,
A fountain and a shrine,
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
And all the flowers were mine.

Ah, dream too bright to last!
Ah, starry Hope! that didst arise
But to be overcast!
A voice from out the Future cries,
"On! on!"- but o'er the Past
(Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies
Mute, motionless, aghast!

For, alas! alas! me
The light of Life is o'er!
"No more- no more- no more-"
(Such language holds the solemn sea
To the sands upon the shore)
Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree
Or the stricken eagle soar!

And all my days are trances,
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy grey eye glances,
And where thy footstep gleams-
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams.
- To One in Paradise by Edgar Allan Poe


Sauron’s army continues the attack in the upper levels of Minas Tirith. A Nazgûl flies by, but in the light doesn’t seem as scary. A troll batters away at the door of another gate, while soldiers of Gondor await on the other side with every long sharp pointy stick that they can find. Not many soldiers defend this door, and I wonder, like at the end of the Battle for Helm’s Deep, is this all that remain? Or is this all that happen to be stuck in this part of the city?

Note to Sauron: get one of your screechers to drop a troll on the other side of the Gate.

Pip, looking tired, dirty, and if he’s had too much of the wrong kind of smoke in his eyes, begins to talk about the end. But he’s with Gandalf, who now is much more like the one that we saw way back in bag End. Gandalf tells the poor hobbit that even death is but another beginning. He speaks of the white shores of the far green country, and I like the thought (though I may argue about going quietly into the night, and exactly where the night is) and love Ian McKellen’s work here. This is the Gandalf that sells the movie for me.

By the by, watch the throbbing/pulsing of Billy Boyd’s carotid artery - icky.

Pippin is soothed by the words, and so accepts his fate, whatever that may be. The troll continues to bang at the door, and a curt nod by Gandalf to Pip signals that, well, this may be the time, and so let’s get on our feet. “You first, Pip…I got your back.”

Back in the real battle, Théoden’s men (you know what I mean, as many of these actors could be female) are doing what they can against the larger mûmakil. The King tries to gather the Rohirrim together again, to concentrate their efforts. Suddenly, screeching is heard, and it gets louder. Théoden turns and sees the Nazgûl that tolls for he. You see Bernard Hill’s face, and he sees his death approaching, and the look seems to say, “Oh pickles! The party’s over.”

The Fell Beast grabs Snowmane and takes both horse and rider for a whipping ride. Éowyn looks on in horror. Snowmane and Théoden are thrown to the ground, and in this case, the horse was not exactly its master’s bane. Think that something else may have helped. All flee and leave the fallen King were he lay. Where are all of the King’s Men? The Witch-King tells his stead to enjoy a little snack, and Théoden realizes what meat’s on the table. He weakly shakes his hands as if he were saying, no, not me, the horse is much tastier. But before a bite can be taken, a young soldier - okay, we all know that it’s Éowyn - stands between the Nazgûl and its din-din. Éowyn threatens the beast and, I guess, the Fell Rider with death, and the Witch-King spurs the Fell Beast on. Éowyn gets quickly to its side and hacks the creature’s head clear off like so much wood.

The creature dies. Now, not to take anything away from Éowyn, but that did look quite easy. Now only if there were others so skilled with a sword, like the West once boasted. Note that there’s just something about the helmet that Éowyn wears that makes her ‘wide-eyed’ look look weird - not sure how else to explain it.

The Witch-King dismounts and decides to face this young warrior in single combat. No flaming sword, no magical spell to break the shield or sword in its opponent’s hands, but the old tried-and-true of smashing the person to pieces with a large spiky weight of metal.

Think that, in the past, I’d already remarked in the size of the Witch-King’s morning star flail, and think that in the Appendices the exaggerated size was thought by the creators to be too big and would be rejected by moreMoreMORE PJ, but when PJ saw it, he said to make it even bigger. It’s amazing the strength in the wraithy Witch-King, as the flail end seems to weigh a good bit - wait till he gets it swinging (which would increase its apparent weight), but don’t worry. The Lord of the Nazgûl’s feet are firmly planted in the sandy soil (that's the reason for the spiky shoes), and so he won’t fall over like a drunken fool. Also interesting note with the swinging is, when the spiky weight fails to contact its target and continues to spin, just where does it go? The Witch-King seems to swing it, miss, and the morning star must then pause in mid-air until he chooses to redirect it.

Finally the Witch-King connects, and Eowyn’s shield is riven. Her arm may be broken as well. To me, from the force of the spiky ball (F=ma), she should have been knocked backwards, but she seems more to fall. Quibble. Éowyn lies across the dead Snowmane (does it lay across Théoden as well? Talk about piling on!)

The Witch-King has Éowyn now at his mercy…and we know that he has none.
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Old 12-13-2006, 12:11 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alatar
Quibble.
Alatar? Quibble? Surely not!

For me, the cinematic strength of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, as depicted on film, lies in its logical weakness. It is too structured to be truly credible as a battle – the key events of the battle occur in a particular, well-defined order, rather than chaotically as they would in reality. For example, the arrival of the Southron Mumakil is rather too conveniently timed to follow on from the charge of the Rohirrim. Where were they before? Why did they not arrive with the main force? Even Grond is quicker to the battle than them.

Yet, from the perspective of the film narrative, I think that this works really well as it gives the audience key reference points and each successive event builds on the previous one to create a distinct “story-line” for the battle.

Theoden’s involvement in the battle is a good example of this. It follows on from the desperate moments involving the breach of the Gate, Denethor’s final descent into madness and Gandalf’s (much criticised) seeming defeat by the Witch-King. At this point, all hope seems to be lost. The arrival of the Riders brings new hope and Theoden’s address to them, followed by the charge itself and the scattering of the Orcish marauders, is incredibly stirring.

But then hope begins to fade once more, with each new development building on the previous one to heighten the tension. First, the arrival of the Mumakil looks to destroy the hope brought by the charge of the Rohirrim. But the Riders rally and begin to make inroads against the Oliphauntine host. Then, just as hope is building again, the Witch King arrives to confront Theoden.

This emotional roller coaster, with hope following despair following hope following despair continues beyond this scene, culminating with the arrival of Aragorn and chums (Elvish, Dwarven and Dead).

Now, while I can understand how individual scenes within the whole may give rise controversy (the Witch King’s confrontation with Gandalf and the strange, green, amorphous depiction of the Army of the Dead, for example), each marks a key event in the battle and creates a solid narrative structure which the audience can follow, and which brings real moments of tension and joy.

And some of these moments are captured magnificently, for me, in the expressions on Theoden’s face, each time that he turns to face a fresh challenge – by turns despairing, resigned and determined. For my money, Bernard Hill’s performance really shines in these scenes and is one of the highlights of the battle. Despite, perhaps, a controversially negative introduction, he gives Thedoen a truly and suitably worthy end.

My only real gripes with these battle scenes are the fact that it is occasionally difficult to make out what is happening (although that, I suppose, does add a chaotic feel to it, despite its structure) and the inexplicable absence of the Easterlings.

Oh, and the long shots of the Army of the Dead. But that's for another thread ...
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Old 12-13-2006, 12:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Saucepan Man
For me, the cinematic strength of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, as depicted on film, lies in its logical weakness. It is too structured to be truly credible as a battle – the key events of the battle occur in a particular, well-defined order, rather than chaotically as they would in reality.
I with you on all of that. The battle must have a 'story' so that the audience can follow what is going on. Peter Jackson had enough to do keeping four storylines afloat all at once without losing the audience.


Quote:
For example, the arrival of the Southron Mumakil is rather too conveniently timed to follow on from the charge of the Rohirrim. Where were they before? Why did they not arrive with the main force? Even Grond is quicker to the battle than them.
Gothmog called in his cavalry when the Rohirrim approached? Until then, they were down on the south end cooling their heels and daydreaming of giant peanuts. And, actually, the oli's weren't needed for sacking the city, and so Gothmog kept them out of the way. Pretty good for an orc chieftain.


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The arrival of the Riders brings new hope and Theoden’s address to them, followed by the charge itself and the scattering of the Orcish marauders, is incredibly stirring.
Probably the best moment of the battle, if not the movie.


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Now, while I can understand how individual scenes within the whole may give rise controversy (the Witch King’s confrontation with Gandalf and the strange, green, amorphous depiction of the Army of the Dead, for example), each marks a key event in the battle and creates a solid narrative structure which the audience can follow, and which brings real moments of tension and joy.
But there's even a thing as too much rollercoastering.


Quote:
And some of these moments are captured magnificently, for me, in the expressions on Theoden’s face, each time that he turns to face a fresh challenge – by turns despairing, resigned and determined. For my money, Bernard Hill’s performance really shines in these scenes and is one of the highlights of the battle. Despite, perhaps, a controversially negative introduction, he gives Thedoen a truly and suitably worthy end.
Bernhard Hill does really well, and I like him better than most of the other actors. His, "oh fooey, what next?!?" expression is well done. It's lke he's saying, with his face, well, here comes another wave, and so let's meet it as best we may, on our feet. Excellent. He was well-cast.


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My only real gripes...
You have gripes (plural) with the movie?!?


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and the inexplicable absence of the Easterlings.
Gothmog held them in reserve in the south east, across the Anduin, and Aragorn's green slime gets them before our new King arrives on the Pelennor Fields.
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Old 12-13-2006, 08:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alatar
You have gripes (plural) with the movie?!?
Oh yes, a fair few. But they are minor in comparison with my overall appreciation of the films. With the notable exception of those infernal Hyena-Lemming things in TTT, of course ...

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Originally Posted by alatar
And, actually, the oli's weren't needed for sacking the city, and so Gothmog kept them out of the way. Pretty good for an orc chieftain.
Quote:
Originally Posted by alatar
Gothmog held them in reserve in the south east, across the Anduin, and Aragorn's green slime gets them before our new King arrives on the Pelennor Fields.
Hehe. Now I have you explaining quibbles. You are learning well from Essex ...

Surely the Mumakil would have been useful to protect the rear of the besieging army from ... oh, I don't know ... something like a charge of frenzied Rohirrim, say.

And I see little point in marching troops from Rhun all the way round to the south of Mordor and back north so that they can approach the Morannon from the west, only to hold them in reserve!

But I quibble.
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Old 12-14-2006, 02:04 PM   #5
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With the notable exception of those infernal Hyena-Lemming things in TTT, of course ...
What's wrong with the Wargs? You'll note that Wargs love water, and will jump at any chance to go for a swim. Isn't that why Saruman dammed the Isen? Can't see any other logical reason, and so I assume that the Isen was blocked up either to make a swimming pool for the Wargs, or to restrict their access to water, making them ill-tempered.


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Hehe. Now I have you explaining quibbles. You are learning well from Essex ...
That's why I took on the SbS. It's kind of a penance for all of the quibbling I've done. Now it's my job to quibble out of both sides of my keyboard. And, truly, you, Essex and others have taught me a lot...though I still can't believe the world doesn't share my point of view.


Quote:
Surely the Mumakil would have been useful to protect the rear of the besieging army from ... oh, I don't know ... something like a charge of frenzied Rohirrim, say.
Keeping the mûmakil behind the main army may have been dangerous. These evil folk turn on each other as well as the good folk, and one could see where the oliphaunt army, afraid that they will be left out of the spoils, decides to charge forward and in doing so, crushes all of the orcs waiting their turn to enter Minas Tirith.

But seriously, the Charge of the Rohirrim makes Sauron look more doofy than I would have thought. Typically the Big Eye has a plan, and seemingly for the Rohirrim, he was caught by surprise - no lookouts, orcs initially take heavy losses, Nazgul don't see approaching 7000 or so horses. Luckily the mûmakil were available, or there would have been nothing for the Army of the Dead to do.


Quote:
And I see little point in marching troops from Rhun all the way round to the south of Mordor and back north so that they can approach the Morannon from the west, only to hold them in reserve!
They obviously need the exercise. If Gothmog would have had the mûmakil out and about during the initial big rock-throwing contest, he would have lost this weapon yet would not have been able to use it. Fire might not catch on Grond (or the siege towers) but oliphaunts are somewhat flammable. A few well-aimed rocks (interesting that I don't remember seeing any of Gondor's rocks laying on the Pelennor when the Rohirrim fight the mûmakil...hmm) from the Minas Tirith trebuchets into the oliphaunt line (which was perdendicular to the line of the Wall) would have been devastating.


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But I quibble.
It's the SbS; what else do we do?

Thanks for posting.
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Old 12-28-2006, 09:41 AM   #6
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Hehe. Now I have you explaining quibbles. You are learning well from Essex ...
LOL - Wait till you hear my "quibble explaination" for the arrival of the Dead. (although I have mentioned it before).....

Not much to mention on these scenes except for the beautiful acting from mckellen and boyd sitting down waiting to die.... and I have to admit I'd never noticed his artery pusling before Alatar. It's horrible! I won't be able to see this scene without looking at it again!

More fights with the Mumakil, and a Kingly 'To ME! To ME!' from Theoden before he realises he's in BIG trouble.

I do like the look on Eowyn's face. She is PETRIFIED but stands by her King. And a great shot of the WK falling off his steed with style and looking VERY menacing as he gets up, looking very hacked off!

I agree that the Mace is a little on the big side.......
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Old 12-28-2006, 03:51 PM   #7
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For me, the shot where the Witch-king rises up from his fallen steed was dead-on. That was exactly how I had pictured it reading it. It doesn't look like he picks himself up; he simply elevates. There's precious few shots that fulfilled my picture from the book exactly, but that was one of them.
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Old 12-28-2006, 06:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Essex
Not much to mention on these scenes except for the beautiful acting from mckellen and boyd sitting down waiting to die.... and I have to admit I'd never noticed his artery pusling before Alatar. It's horrible! I won't be able to see this scene without looking at it again!
It really...well...stands out, and I wonder what had Boyd's pulse so high in such a calm scene.


Quote:
More fights with the Mumakil, and a Kingly 'To ME! To ME!' from Theoden before he realises he's in BIG trouble.
The mumakil rapidly approach. "To me!...Ah, no, to that guy over there! Over there!"


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I agree that the Mace is a little on the big side.......
Slightly . There are times when PJ is just over the top, and this is one of those times.
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Old 12-29-2006, 02:48 PM   #9
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The Mace is pretty big, but it doesn't strike me as being over the top. In all the times I've watched the film, I have never stopped to marvel at the size of the W-K's weapon. But maybe that's just me.
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Old 12-29-2006, 07:41 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=Elladan and Elrohir]it doesn't strike me as being over the top.[QUOTE]

its like the same size as his head
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