HoLOTR Marathon Part 5

June 16, 2022 at 11:54 pm (Uncategorized)

Hobbit Trilogy Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Lord of the Rings Part 1

An epic opening: the knife-edge of glacier-clad mountains, and then Gandalf and the balrog fighting, with just a teensy bit of flashback for context.

Ahhhhh… that’s the stuff.

And in just a few moments, we get to know Sam and Frodo very well.

It’s 10:30am and I’ve already been impressive today. (Feel free to cheer. I can take it.) It’s Thursday, which means shopping—but not just any shopping; food pantry shopping. On Thursdays I buy cheap (and often delightfully eccentric) food from the St Paul’s food pantry in Melba, then bring it home and unpack it into the West Belco Food Pantry that I run from my front porch. (Taking all the best stuff for myself, OF COURSE.) That’s why I was moving fridges yesterday—the fridge I had in the pantry is very small and it was hurting my back quite badly to try and put the fruit and vegetables in any kind of order, and someone was giving away a medium-sized fridge on Buy Nothing that means more room in the freezer (frozen meat makes all the difference to struggling families) and it’s easier to unpack things into it too.

Some food pantry items I’ve eaten during this marathon: sweet potato and pumpkin hamburger patties; beetroot and hummus dip (which I took partly because it amuses me to see Chris hiss and back away from anything beetrooty like a vampire from sunlight), Maple-Mustard-Apple Cider marinate;

So I’m hoping to watch the first disc during the day, then sleep. I’m getting “aura”—weird visual stuff that is the precursor to a migraine, but if I’m careful I can still fend it off. A nap will help. Then I’ll wake up, fetch kids, and do my arvo work (which, mercifully, has been halved today).

And in a few moments we understand uruk-hai, orcs, Merry, and Pippin—and the relationships between them.

And in a few moments we see Aragorn being skillful, Legolas’s pristine hair and skin even while running for days, and the news that Gimli is only here for comic relief (sorry again, dwarves).

Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe tried to balance a cast with six main characters, Fellowship of the Ring did it with nine.

Although The Hobbit didn’t quite succeed in managing to truly differentiate all those dwarves, it did manage to distinguish a few of them: the king (Thorin), the pretty one (Kili), his brother (Fili; no personality otherwise), the old & wise one (Dwalin I think, or Balin his brother), the dumb but kind one (Bofur, who of course has an Irish accent instead of the traditional Scottish), the fat one (Bombur). Then there’s… the one with the ear trumpet. The one with an axe in his head. Uh… there’s one more. Even after watching this SO many times, I can’t name them all.

I thought I’d forgotten one, but I’d forgotten two (googles for a photo of them): The super young dumb one, and his much older brother. No idea what their names are. Oh wait, and Gimli’s dad Gloin. That’s thirteen I think. So I forgot three.

Googles a photo WITH names:

Okay, so the super dumb young one is Ori, and his brother is Dori. Also their brother Nori, who I’d utterly forgotten. Gloin’s brother Oin is the one with the ear trumpet maybe? And Bifur has the axe in his head. Is that everyone? It is, right? ……right??

Hello Eomyr, and the lands of Rohan. Hello Eowyn. Hi Wormtongue and King Theodren. Not sure I spelled those names correctly.

Hello, grumbly forest! The ents are famously based on CS Lewis, one of Tolkien’s best friends (incredibly boring, oblivious to the world around them, slow-moving, and have forgotten what women look like).

“Oh you’re a writer?” people say to me. “Would you ever base a character on me?”

You’d better hope not.

Bog! Bad bog! Bad battle bog with grabby ghosties! This also scared me half to death the first several times. I’m a sensitive soul.

Hello new, shinier, gently fuddled Gandalf.

“I cast down my enemy, and smote his ruin upon the mountainside.” Yeah! Go shiny Gandalf!

PRETTY HORSIE!!!

Thank you, extended version, for the gentle torture of ent poetry. Where’s some pipeweed when you need it? (Did you ent lads recite a lot of poetry at the ladies, pray tell? Sort of immediately before they left forever?)

Ah, everything is so beautiful about this movie. The landscapes, the costumes, the set design, the music.

Another extended scene, with Merry and Pippin and a peckish tree that’s sick of being teased about being vegan.

And one of my absolute favourite film scenes of all time: The freeing of King Theodren.

If one didn’t already have a crush on Aragorn, seeing him soothe a grieving horse will get you on board. It certainly worked for Aowyn, and can you blame her? And he’s multilingual, too!

I had a friend make me a dress based on the dress Eowyn wears in the scene when Aragon chats to her as she’s practising her swordplay. Still got it, although it most definitely doesn’t fit any more.

It sucks leaving your home, but at least it won’t be as windy inside Helm’s Deep. Legolas and Eowyn must both be quietly pleased that their hair won’t frizz up so much. (Aragorn hasn’t washed his hair since he was 50 so it’s too oily to misbehave; Gimli’s hair became independently sentient years ago.)

Arg, it’s almost 1pm. I should be asleep! I kept having to pause to take calls or deal with other life and/or ZamZam stuff. I’m determined to get to the end of this disc, though.

Smeagol versus Gollum. An echo of the freeing of King Theodren: a person casting off clinging awfulness despite incredible odds stacked against them.

Hello Oliphaunt (ollyfant?) Not that one:

And finally, hello Faramir.


Disc two: Dwarf women. Another moment that is made better by the Hobbit trilogy.

Suuper awkward to find out that the guy you like is definitely still obsessed with his immortal elf princess of an ex. Sorry Eowyn. Don’t worry, you’ll get together with a fully-human male soon enough.

The Rohirrim + Gimli/Aragorn/Legolas face another great, hilly battle with mountain views and a handy (or not-so-handy) cliff or two. Not so great for Gimli, who gets pinned under a warg for most of it and is repeatedly rescued. The movies did you wrong, Gimli.

Speaking of dwarves and problematic choices, I wonder how Scots feel about dwarves being Scottish? Because they’re ugly and violent and drunk? I suspect Scots feel the same swell of pride as Aussies feel at the line “peopled entirely by criminals” when our very nice nation is described in The Princess Bride. All the same, someone should object. Even if it’s hilarious. (And orcs of course are cockney, because they’re dirty, violent, and perpetually hungry? Ouch.)

And here we are at the cold, crowded block of rock that is Helm’s Deep.

But the two little kids on the pony do get to see their mother again, and that is a much-needed bit of brightness.

Hello Arwen and thanks for the magic kiss. Ditto that highly affectionate and open-minded horse.

Ooh, are we nearly at the FIGWOT scene?

Arwen: “There is still hope.” Yes indeedy. Even if Daddy gives the best “You’ll regret it when the relationship ends” speech of all time. Somewhat weightier when you know he sees the future.

Frodo: “And this is Samwise Gamgee.”

Faramir: “Your bodyguard?”

Sam: “His gardener.”—said with such delicious contempt.

A flashback to Boromir and Faramir in Osgiliath, happy. At least until Daddy Denethor comes along to be a total a-hole. Like Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films, he’s not the most murderous evil, but he’s definitely the one the audience most wants to punch in the face.

Thank you ent council. Now I can get a snack. It’s 10:30pm and I don’t have a migraine but I gotta eat something to stay awake.

Aragorn: “There is always hope.”

Almost word for word was Arwen said, and I only just noticed the parallel on this watch.

Thank you for showing up, elf army. Did you bring a wagon of food again, or was that just for the Hobbit movies? Never mind, it was all salad anyway.

No matter what you say about dwarves, you’d far rather hang out with them than the elves. Better food, better drink, more fun. Although it’s clear both dwarves and elves love a good bit of violence.

Helm’s Deep, as the armies draw up facing one another in the rain.

Denethor is a great villain (although, again, clearly insane—it seems everyone turns insane at the drop of a hat, as far as Tolkien is concerned) but mostly we have a lot of orc and uruk-hai, who are clearly inhuman and inhumane. Not a bit of sympathy for the enemy there, which is usually a sign of poor writing. But if you’ve been in a real war with real humans I doubt you could ever stomach writing human-versus-human battle scenes ever again. Because otherwise the lovely mightiness of manly menfolk defending their home is just a waste of lives and an ugly thing. Like the “war to end all wars”, which… didn’t.

Sadly, way too many men (not all men…. but too many of them) walk away from films and fancy themselves the mighty weapon-toting warrior, rather than seeing the self-sacrifice and mutual affection between these heroes as the thing that truly matters.

Ents: so boring they fall asleep halfway through their own sentences.

But when they get moving, they’re great. Especially the one who bends over into the broken dam-water to put out the fire in his upper branches.

Oh, Frodo. When you nearly give the ring away to a wraith, and then nearly kill Sam.

Sam: “Even darkness must pass.”

And there’s one last flash of Smeagol, listening to Sam and desperately hoping Sam’s optimism isn’t as foolish as it sounds.

Sam: “There’s still some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”

Meanwhile, the uruk-hair retreat into the trees… and are never seen again. Om nom nom.

*switch to Merry and Pippin finding Saruman’s excellent larder, pipe weed and all*

Faramir: “The Shire must surely be a great realm, Mr Gamgee, where gardeners are held in high honour.”

Yes, Faramir. It is.

And a bit of posturing to advertise the third film, and we’re done!

Not quite. We have Sam fantasizing about other people one day telling a story about the two hobbits and their big adventure, and once again we end the film overwhelmed with love for Frodo and Sam.

And then there’s the scene in which Smeagol is shoved deep, deep down into Gollum’s psyche. The tragedy is that, for a little while, Smeagol was dominant. If circumstances has been just a teensy bit different, Smeagol could have stayed redeemed. Or perhaps he could have re-recovered later, if he hadn’t taken a lava bath.

With that thought, I shall go to bed.

Not really. There’s a new episode of Ms Marvel that’s calling my name. No full reviews for y’all, but it’s really good. Joyful and fun and it’s so good to see a nuanced portrayal of various Muslim characters (and yes, the parents are super strict and basically the opening villain… but that’s how all teens see their parents, plus lots of immigrants have a similarly “unfair” upbringing compared to their peers).

1 Comment

  1. HoLOTR Marathon Part 6 | Felicity Banks said,

    […] LOTR Trilogy Part 1 Part 2 […]

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