Film Corner: Lord of the Rings (Fellowship)

Rewatching Lord of the Rings!

I love the Shire so much. Frodo hugging Gandalf. The little perfect baby hobbits. Rose and Sam dancing.
Bilbo running to hug Gandalf after their argument. My soft boys.

The MUSIC. The way the ring doesn't want to fall from his hand. The heavy thud as it hits the ground. The portentous weight.

(Theater release, before everyone asks; I don't like the extended cuts.)

The way Gandalf warily circles the ring and draws back from touching it. So much conveyed without words.

That soft malevolent hiss of the rider, just a little too high pitched, so uncanny. "Shire. Baggins." It's the high pitch that really makes it work; it doesn't FIT the tall rider and the huge horse, it's WRONG in the same way that the heavy little ring is wrong.

The theatrical release is perfect pacing for me. 30 minutes almost exactly when Gandalf gives the "one ring to bind them" speech, but it FEELS faster because people have been MOVING A LOT and it's GOOD. The movie has a much needed urgency that always felt lacking in the book; I remember as a kid being bored and furious with Frodo for dilly-dallying so much about leaving. (I mean, I get it, it's hard to leave home, but MORDOR IS COMING FOR YOU, GO GO GO NOW.) Movie Gandalf is just "YOU'RE LEAVING NOW, GO THAT WAY" and plans to meet back up with them as soon as he can return with wizardly backup. Decisive, I like that in a plot.

The sheer LOVE on Frodo's and Gandalf's faces every time they look at each other, just. My sweet soft boys!!!! I really like movies with found-father figures who actually do seem to love and care about their friend/protege. This is why I still like Kevin Sorbo even though he's...who he is in real life, because you can pair him with a young actress and he looks at her like a Soft Dad and not like a older actor trying to bang this chick in between takes. TOO MANY ACTORS LOOK LIKE THAT.

Samwise, omg, my sweet perfect boy.

I think the love between Frodo and Gandalf is so important because without that trust, and with the urgency added by the movie, you might feel Gandalf bullied him into this. But it's played very much like Frodo trusts him and agrees to this. You get that same reaction later during the "I will take it!!" when Gandalf closes his eyes in pain. He didn't want this for Frodo, it wasn't like he just picked a useful patsy. None of this is really SAID, it's just visually indicated, and I wish someone would give me a briefcase of money to make movies like this but with trans people and queer people and also some women are there, Tolkien.

Sam just gives Frodo this smug LOOK like "this is what comes of unnatural wizard friends, I always said this would happen" and I just. "If I take one more step, it'll be the farthest away from home I've ever been." *sobs*

Saruman being obviously completely fucking evil is such a good example of "missing stair" in groups.

"Gandalf, he belittles and insults you!"
"That's just how Saruman is."
"His staff is a pointy iron thing and he lives in a giant fuck-off tower."
"Aesthetics are so tricky, you know?""

The magic battle is so brutal and better for it. A cheesy light show would've aged so badly. Gandalf slamming at full force into a wall HURTS and that ages very well indeed. LOTR is best, I think, when it's capturing the wonderment of magic in a world which barely believes in it anymore, and a shiny lightning show would've undermined that too.

Like, Aragorn's whole everything works because it IS unbelievable that the homeless guy who shits in the woods is ACTUALLY a lost king of myth and legend, raised by near-mythical elves and previously using rare silks as toilet paper. It's like if Stardew Valley suddenly revealed that Linus is King Arthur. Didn't see that coming, did you?

"I don't know why he's so upset! It's only a couple of carrots!"
"And some cabbages!!"
Pippin, you've always been my favorite.

I always sorta thought Pippin was "[afab] like me" even while recognizing that the books called him "he" and really I wish I'd known "trans boy" was a thing.

The way the camera does that THING when Frodo senses the rider coming.

The way Merry and Pip are just TEAM FRODO after that. No questions.


And god when there's MORE RIDERS and they unnaturally just zooooom past without bothering to stop and scowl at the escaping ferry. Their determination is inhuman and terrifying and implacable.

I love how Strider is now culturally this badass name but they literally just named him Walker LongLegs.
Imagine writing LOTR for the first time, but now. You'd call him Walky McBootFace. Foot Hardlegs. Walky Longdistance. Thick Thighs McTravel.

I like how in the movie Pippin legit doesn't really realize they need to NOT use the name Baggins because he hasn't been caught up to speed. Which I like better than "well, he's loose lipped when drunk." Both are fine, but I prefer the version where he's just unaware rather than an actual liability.

I don't care if the Black Riders invading Bree makes no sense, I like the scene and the opera going nuts in the background. Mordor should have a sense of urgency about this problem, and the movies deliver that urgency.

Pippin explaining second breakfasts.

It's been so long since I read the books; what IS Saruman's long game? Does he want to serve evil rather than be wiped out, or is he thinking he can betray Sauron and take over? Also, Tolkien was completely unaware that people with dyslexia exist, I swear to god.

The hobbits building a fire on a watch tower, I just. My babies. "Well, that's NICE! Ash on my tomatoes!! Outrage Pippin is the best Pippin.

The watch tower fight doesn't make a lot of sense (why don't they move a little faster and do what they came here to do?) but the scene sorta works anyway because it feels like there's a reason you're just not getting. Like, maybe the ringwraiths are so in awe of the actual ring that they just can't yoink it, there's this almost reverent caressing of Frodo's finger when they reach for it. I'M NOT SAYING THAT'S CANON, I'm pointing out that the filming technique does what it can with a scene which otherwise would feel like a plot hole. Instead it feels kinda like there's Lore we don't know about.

Replacing That One Elvish Guy with Arwen was a good fucking decision.

Gandalf and the moth scene hits me in the feels. So gentle. It really fits with the whole "the least of these can help" theme going on with the hobbits.

I actually like Arwen threatening Aragorn; she doesn't know Frodo's wounded, she's just tickled pink to have found Aragorn and sneaked up on him. It's teasing and couple-y.


Bilbo's handwriting is so pretty, I hate him. JEALOUS.

Sean Bean is in this movie!! I like him, I hope they contract him for the entire trilogy. Lots of scenes.

The horrific nasal accent Aragorn is doing at the council meeting is a good example of why you shouldn't film your most important scene first, OR BE PREPARED TO GO BACK AND FIX IT.

I fucking love how Gimli is all WELL OK THEN and tries to smash the ring. Maybe that's how it works! Nobody's ever tried it, right?

Pippin all "Great! Where are we going?"

I have complicated feelings about the Goblin Bilbo scene because that's how Frodo sees him in that moment but I dislike the over-magicification of the setting (SEE ESPECIALLY: THE DEMONIC POSSESSION OF THE ROHAN KING.)

I really appreciate all the little moments in which Boromir is good and gentle with the hobbits. He's not an evil man; he's a man who failed to resist temptation. Those aren't the same things. Wrestling with Boromir and the laughing and the hugging and MY SOFT BOYS, they are ALL soft boys.

[talking about book-to-movie changes] Similarly: in the book, GANDALF wants to go through Moria and Aragorn doesn't. In the movie, Gimli wants to and Gandalf doesn't. It's annoying, but kind of a movie economy. The viewers need to trust that Aragorn and Gandalf know what they're doing. If they suggest bad stuff (lighting a fire, going into Moria) and it doesn't work, the viewers may get confused. Movies are much more rapid than books, so you have to be careful not to confuse the viewer so much that they can't follow along, etc.

I love how they kept Legolas' ability to walk on snow without sinking. It's such a tiny detail, but it always stuck with me from the books.

I do love that Tolkien let us know that Bill the Pony got home fine.

When the Watcher grabs Frodo, Sam calls for Strider. Not Gandalf. And not Aragorn. Sam yells "Strider". It's such a nice little touch to how much he trusts Strider after their first journey. Strider saved Frodo before, Sam calls him to do it again.

Gandalf's speech to Frodo about Gollum is so important to me. Do not be so eager to mete out death.

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

And what I'M doing is live-tweeting an old movie in a failing attempt to stave off depression but at least I'm alive?

It's always kinda bugged me that the skeleton falling down the well should raise that many alarms because shit should be falling and making noise all the time in this place, but it's good dramatic timing.

This fight scene is SUCH a good fight scene. "They have a cave troll." Sean Bean, you are a sexy sarcastic god.

Gimli. "There is one dwarf yet in Moria who still draws breath!" *sobbing*

Legolas always has this faintly delighted wondrous look on his face, which honestly made me think this adventure was his first time out of his forest, so that's another thing the Hobbit movies ruined, lolsob.
Like, he's looking at this cave troll trying to kill him like "omg omg omg omg I've READ about these!!"

I randomly remind you of the fan theory that Legolas is butt-ugly by elven standards and Gimli is a smoking hot dwarf, and everyone is always asking Gimli why he's with such an ugly elf but he's like "ach, I love him!"

ok, I have to take a break, be back later.

oh oh oh oh it just hit me. Boromir is the one to suggest teaching the hobbits to fight. He's from Gondor. Gondor, where every child who can hold a sword has been taught how to do so because Mordor is RIGHT THERE. That's such a nice fucking cultural touch and I have feels.

This is AMAZING and will bless your timeline.  [Link:]

[someone asking about the Moria timeline.] This bugged me, but my theory is:
1. Balin went to reopen Moria.
2. Movie Chars think Balin is IN Moria with a few people reopening the place.
3. Gandalf knows there's a Balrog in the lower levels and fears the ring may call to it.
4. It's not until they get inside and see the corpses that they realize that Balin and his "reopen our ancestral home" party of a few hundred (tops) are dead.
5. The Balrog is probably incidental to their deaths and really is called by the ring?

Which honestly makes...a little more sense than the book, where (iirc) they know everyone is dead but Gandalf is like "but WE'LL be safe, I totally got this, no I've never heard of 'hubris', do you spread it on crackers?"

ok, break over.

Merry and Pippin are protecting Frodo, which reminds me that Frodo will never fully recover from his knife stab (canon!) and is kiiiinda a disabled protagonist, so it's interesting that all the Tolkien imitators didn't include that little nugget of diversity.

Frodo's "death" from the cave troll is played 100% real with slow-mo shots and is a perfect fake out and Tolkien would've LOVED that.

The mithril armor is so pretty. I wanted one so bad as a kid.

There's a RED LIGHT and the goblins are FLEEING and I know it's a movie and the viewer needs to see but WHY ARE YOU JUST STANDING THERE RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN.

There are no more elves and dwarves because their races died out from a tragic lack of safety rails.

Fun fact: if you play the LOTR online MMO, which I DO, you quickly start to resent Gandalf for breaking that damn bridge because the long way around is A PAIN. I love LOTRO, it's so cool to visit all the areas in the movie, and they look JUST like the movie, it's a labor of love.

That moment when you think he's won. That moment when you know he hasn't. The way the sounds of battle are replaced by a dirge. The hobbits sobbing faces. Pippin losing his shit on the ground (it was his fault, it wasn't his fault, he's blaming himself anyway) and Merry holding him.

Welcome to Lothlorion, please enjoy our incredibly disability inaccessible trees. They could've installed ramps instead of stairs, they just didn't WANT to, I guess.

Cate just nails this role like she was born for it.

I really don't like the green glassy effect they put on her for the temptation scene but I guess they thought it was.....something.

God, Viggo's accent is just EVERYWHERE and I never notice that sort of thing because of my hearing disability, but baby what was the director SAYING to you???

I did find it an interesting choice that they made the pillage of the Shire a sort of....Easter egg for this scene. Like, you KNOW what this is, if you've read the books. And even then, I didn't really expect that to be the movie ending. Because, I mean, it's a pretty fucking downer ending. They let Saruman live because of their principles of not meteing out death more than necessary, so he uses his power to kill hobbits just because he can. BUMMER.

There's probably, like, a really deep message in there but what I took away from it as a kid was that defeated enemies should probably not be let go to prey upon the nearest Defenseless Pastoral Community.
Tolkien uses it to show the hobbits solving their own problems but COUNTERPOINT a bunch of people have been raped and killed so it's character development for the protagonists at the expense of NPCs,
with an extra whiplashy "but it's FINE because after Sam threw the elf soil to the air, all the families had babies and the babies were blond and elfy" and like DUDE. WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING, TOLKS.
Way to undo your entire three-book narrative about hobbits being just as valid and useful and good and pretty as elves, Tolks my man.

Sarumon is doing his "orcs were elves once!" speech and painting everyone with his logo.

Legolas and Gimli are the only ones in their boat, just mentioning that.

What if some well meaning local tried to restore the Argonath statues and a Fuzzy Bear Jesus situation occurred.

Aragorn parting from Frodo is always a confusing scene for me because A says he would've gone with him all the way to the fires, and F says "I know" but previously was just questioning whether A would be willing to destroy the Ring, so I thiiiiiink Aragorn is admitting that he'd have gone to the finish line but would've been unable to cross it (meaning he'd repeat Isildur's mistake) (which is his Big Fear about this mission).

It's interesting to me from a craft perspective that Gandalf basically HAD to be gone for this breaking to work. I don't think he'd have been all "Yeah, go into Mordor alone, I'd just get in your way".

There's suddenly a thousand orcs in the woods and I'm IMPRESSED at their collective stealth checks???!
They're in clanky metal armor and they've been jogging, but they didn't breath heavy or jingle or SNAP a TWIG.

oh my heart I forgot that Merry and Pippin act as bait so Frodo can get away.

The part in the book where Merry and Pippin are captives always guts me.

Merry and Pippin watching him die.

This scene was done so well that NOBODY ELSE in the fellowship had to die. Tension was established and remained high from there.

The scene with Boromir is touching but like. Merry and Pippin, Aragorn. Shake a fucking leg?

That's it, that's the end of the movie, not a lot of closure on that whole ring thing but at least it was original!!

This is the best thing ever, all of it, words and art. [Link:]


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