Fun with Franchises: The Lord of the Rings — The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Part II — “The Hobknoblin”
Today we continue with another entry in our Fun with Franchises series, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Part II.
In case you don’t know how this works — a while back, I decided to rank my favorite Disney movies and rank my favorite James Bond movies. And the Disney ones were mostly straight synopses and not too much fun, but when I got to Bond, I enlisted the help of my friend Colin (whose blog is TokyoRemix.com. Fuck yeah, promotion!), who knows everything about the Bond franchise that I do not, for those articles, and along the way, learned how to have fun with it. And, by the end of the Bond articles, we were having so much fun that I said, “Man, we have to do this again with other stuff.” Because I spent about a straight month and a half putting together those articles. That’s how much time and effort actually goes into something like that. And not once did it feel like work. It was so much fun that I knew, as long as we were doing it for comedy purposes and able to riff off of each other — we could do pretty much any film and it would work.
And very quickly, the first ones you come up with are the major franchises, because those are not only the most fun, but also the most universally known. Everyone’s gonna understand all the jokes we make (well… most of them. Some of them might be limited to three people) about them. So that’s what we’re doing. And if you’re gonna have fun with franchises, it wouldn’t be right if you didn’t franchise it. Also, just so we’re clear, this is all for parody. We’re just messing with them because we love them.
And that’s Fun with Franchises. Right now, we’re doing the Lord of the Rings franchise, and today is the second part of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:
Part II begins with this beautiful image:
Silhouettes! We’re heading for the portkey.
Gandalf warns that the enemy has many spies working for him – “birds…beasts…”
Which – weird to think that birds can just do what you say and communicate back to you, but I guess you just go with everything pertaining to “wizards.”
This is like when your parents go away for the weekend. “Don’t do this, don’t do that, remember to do this and that.” It’s like he’s giving him care of a Gremlin.
Gandalf tells Frodo never to put it on. Always rawdog that sumbitch.
And he just leaves them. Takes the keys with him too.
I can’t imagine what kind of bugs must be living in these plants. Grass is one thing, but when the ground is covered by low, leafy plants, there are bugs EVERYWHERE. This is why you never walk in these areas. Unless your feed are made of Raid.
They have no fucking idea where they are or what to do.
And they’re on their way.
Are those llamas at that house over there? Does The Shire have llamas?
I love how these shots are basically them walking through the New Zealand countryside and nothing more.
But really. New Zealand? Lookin’ pretty good. I bet they all know it, too. New Zealanders are all like, “We’re a middling economy and we don’t have much to offer in the way of excitement, but the entire world agrees that our country looks better than pretty much anywhere else. So there’s that.”
Also what’s funny about these cuts is that I can see where he would take more time in the extended editions to flesh this stuff out. (Though having watched The Hobbit, that’s not always for the best.)
Maybe later we can talk about how fucking indulgent that movie was. And how the next two are going to be as well. And how just the fact that there are going to be another two of similar length is itself indulgent.
I originally had it planned to be the fourth movie of this franchise after this trilogy, but I realized I’d be doing a disservice to that trilogy. So I’m sure we’ll get to it eventually, and do all three of those movies.
Because how could we not?
Gotta save some stuff for the future.
“This is it. If I take one more step, it’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.”
Remember this in two movies when he’s in a fucking volcano.
Funny that he knows this down to the step. Like he’s been counting them. Maybe you’ve been farther in another direction.
“Come on, Sam.”
Ever realize how Sam’s arc in this trilogy is basically doing all this stuff just so he could work up the courage to ask a girl out?
… actually not that far off.
It’s like he just came through the womb or something.
And then we voiceover back to something Bilbo once said:
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
Which I love, because in that, you can see the good writer that Tolkien is. You don’t really see these kinds of universal statements (or platitudes, depending on your attitude toward the whole thing) in Rowling, and you sure as shit ain’t seeing them in anything Lucas writes. Lucas’s idea of brilliant writing is “knowledge is treasure and treasure is knowledge.” Tolkien actually has a bunch of this shit, which I like, because a good writer will create a strong universe for their characters (sometimes quite literally, like in this case), tell an interesting story, and manage to have some universal truths along the way.
You don’t really need that third one all the time (like with Rowling), but it does help if you can.
But I like when Tolkien makes statements like this. It takes a particular sensibility to like stuff like that, I feel. There’s a fine line between “motivational quotes” and “observational comedy.” I’ll cringe whenever people are really into motivational quotes, and will repost or retweet shit that’s like, “Be the best person you want to be today.” That’s just fucking disgusting that people need something like that and more so need to tell other people that. That stuff, to me, is empty platitudes. But a good observational statement goes miles. Why? Because it’s not inherently selfish.
Posting a motivational quote isn’t about everyone else. It’s about you. Whatever you post is because it reminds you of some shit that you feel you need to work on or do better with, or something you feel applies to you in some way, and when you tell other people about it, you’re not thinking about everyone. Whenever someone retweets it or likes it or responds, “So true,” at the bottom of it, you’re not sharing it with someone who is seeing the universality in that statement, you’re sharing it with someone who thinks like you.
Whereas, you make an observational statement like, “It’s weird how you’re never more convinced that there’s a serial killer about to murder you than when the shampoo gets in your eyes,” then it’s something everyone shares in, because it’s a universal experience that we all have. And if we don’t have it, we get why everyone else has it.
So Tolkien is a good writer and fuck motivational quotes and the people who quote them, is what I’m getting at.
See that? These articles aren’t just about comedy. I’m here to educate as well as inform.
Is this where they had the third challenge?
Oh jam. Horse in the frame.
Yes. Ride low. This is how we can’t tell that’s not Ian McKellen.
Gays don’t like riding horses.
Aren’t CGI masks fun? I’d say something about how they so clearly moved behind a tree so they could superimpose Isengard on the screen, but honestly, this is how Hitchcock hid his cuts in Rope and even if you notice it, you want to go along with it to maintain the illusion.
Let’s talk about how much I absolutely love Rope. Everyone needs to watch that movie, multiple times.
New tagline: Watch Rope, you dope.
Why does Isengard have fence posts?
Cause…keep off the grass?
Love me a good overhead.
Seems unnecessarily complex, like a lot of shots in this movie, but whatever.
Really like the framing of this one, with the tower taking up the entire top half, encircling Gandalf down below.
This reminds me of a random shot in North by Northwest.
Oh shit, here’s Saruman.
Did you ever consider that Saruman didn’t expect Gandalf to be coming? Was he just waiting for Gandalf to show up so he could start making the army? What if Gandalf showed up and they were already ripping the trees down and birthing orcs out of mud wombs and stuff? And Gandalf would get to the doorway, see all of this, and slowly back away.
I don’t think Sauron tells him to make the army yet. I feel like Sauron is building his army, and then Gandalf is like, “Oh hey, by the way, I found this ring,” and Saruman is like, “Ain’t no one ever gonna hear about this,” and locks him up. And then he starts building the army. Since it seems like Saruman is like, “Well… word’s out. We gotta move forward with the plan sooner than expected.”
What I’m more confused about is how Saruman creates this army in like, a month. Since doesn’t this all happen over the course of like, a year?
What up, Christopher Lee?
Yeah, Christopher Lee! Bet you didn’t know Saruman has three nipples.
Isn’t it great that we have two old men walking around in robes with sticks, and this isn’t weird at all?
Saurman then throws a nice dig at Gandalf, at how the ring was under his nose the whole time and he didn’t “have the wits to see it.”
His love of the halflings’ leaf has clearly slowed his mind. Gandalf: Havin’ Money and Blowin’ Hella Chronic Smoke.
It’s weird that Gandalf just sort of takes it, too. I get that they’re friends and all, and it would probably come off as him just busting his balls, but what’s the underlying sentiment there? Is it because he’s really working for Sauron and is pissed that he could have found it sooner but didn’t because his friend was blind to his love of hobbits? Or is it that Saurman is racist toward hobbits? Like, “You and those fucking creatures. You shouldn’t interact with them. They’re making you lose your wits.” You know… like they used to say about black people in the south or in old movies. Or is he subtly pulling rank here? Like, “I’m a white, you’re a grey, and I’m smarter than you.”
There were some who originally wanted Gandalf to wear the white. The weird thing is that until I really looked into it, I thought that having the white robes and hair made you more powerful. Like, you were on a different level from all the other wizards. But it turns out that the rank was just chosen by the dudes who sent the wizards to Middle Earth, and that was just the uniform they gave Saruman as the ‘leader.’ So Gandalf the White isn’t necessarily more powerful than Gandalf the Grey. It’s just that in being “killed,” he got sent back to their bosses, who were like, “Oh…Saruman’s fucking up. You’re the boss now. Take these white robes.” But then Saruman just still has the same clothes.
Apparently (because I looked up bout Saruman and the army. There’s really no mention of it anywhere), Saruman goes hippie at some point when he allies with Sauron and decides to give up the white robe and call himself, “Saurman of many colors,” and wear a multicolored robe.
Talk about too much acid.
But isn’t that what it seemed like? That white made you more powerful? I guess because we all know Gandalf is a G, so it seems weird that he would be so easily beat up by Saruman. But maybe it’s just that Gandalf is soft for the first movie, since he hasn’t done shit for a while. He’s just rusty. And he gets his shit together after the Balrog. Like, “Man… normally I be killing those things in like, ten minutes. I gotta get my shit back together.” Since he does wake up naked on a mountain. That’s usually when you go, “I gotta lay off that Shire weed and the booze,” and he gets his life back on track.
Lotta substance abuse in Middle Earth, it seems.
This is a weird shot.
It’s a really fast track up a hallway and right up on Christopher Lee, as he talks about Sauron’s “potency.”
It’s just a weird choice, to rush in on a line that’s not really that big a deal.
Holy shit, this is me, this shot.
Also, now’s a good time to point out – Christopher Lee was both a good friend of Tolkien and cousin to Ian Fleming.
This motherfucker is a baller of the universe. I would buy that he’s a white wizard. He’s a true badass if there ever was one.
Also, I love that they’re drinking. Apparently this is what you do when people come to visit. Day drink.
Just noticed that for the first time and was gonna mention it. Day drink. Cause when you’re 2000 years old, morning and evening don’t mean shit.
Saruman talks about Sauron’s “eye” and how he’s gathering all evil to him and raising an army. You know – all that good stuff.
It’s always suspect when someone tells you how fucked “we” all are with a slight smile on their face. Unless it’s Nancy Drew, who said everything with a slight smile.
The upper hand.
What a great shot again. Gandalf asks how Saruman knows this, and he turns to the camera and says, “I have seen it.”
Like, “Please… motherfuckers… I’m Christopher Lee. I know everything.”
Pretty weird how Isengard has stained glass.
And that it’s Beetlejuice colors.
Beetlejuice… is just one of the popular drinks served at the Prancing Pony.
He’s got a palantir.
Palantir! Middle Earth came up with Skype video-conferencing way before we did. But they say there’s like a bunch – does that mean that you see all the others that are ‘on’ when you look into it?
Apparently they’re not all accounted for.
So they’re like Dragon Balls.
And here, he knows Saurman is evil.
Was I the only one who got a GoldenEye vibe?
I got more of a Raiders vibe.
Why would you have a throne when you have an entire tower to yourself? How many of those floors do you actually use? Why bother with a throne?
Just going to point it out, as well — this place LOOKS evil. It just does. This isn’t the place you walk into and go, “Oh yeah, I bet the people who live here are nice. They’ll lend us a cup of sugar.” Yeah, POISON sugar.
The nine riders (Nazgul, though they don’t tell us yet) have left Minas Morgul.
“They will find the ring, and kill the one who carries it.”
You is fucked.
You is really fucked.
It’s comical to me how Gandalf keeps on trying other doors, like there’s a chance it won’t work this time. Once the first one shuts, you know he can do it to the others; you might as well just look back at him and go, “So…what we gon’ do?”
He says they must join Sauron.
“Tell me, friend, when did Saruman the Wise abandon reason for madness?”
They look like they’re dancing to dubstep.
Dooku got that Force, baby.
Oh, this lemon party just got good.
His body is ready.
His body was not ready.
How to hang a painting, the wizard way.
This is great. Old wizard fight. They just knock each other over.
He calls that thing “The Intruder.”
Ever notice how dildo nicknames always sound like Battle Bot names?
In Canada, they call it Dickthrandir.
Just like Lana Turner.
It looks like the stuntmen are breakdancing.
Old men fighting always make me think of Geri’s Game.
Look at these two poses.
That’s how you do a wizard fight.
Or dance in a Lady Gaga video.
That’s how you break a hipster.
He got your staff.
This fight is kind of amazing. The fact that they shot it so close because the two couldn’t do action scenes, the facial expressions… I’m loving every second of this.
Though it’s weird that he’s bleeding. You don’t see much blood in this universe.
The Intruder and…I’m going to call Gandalf’s staff ‘The Hobknoblin.’
AND HE TURNS OVER TOO!
“Go ahead, do it!”
“No, wait, don’t!”
Remember what I said about breakdancing?
“That’s right motherfucker! I know how OCD you are, I’m gonna spin you COUNTER-clockwise! How you like that?!”
HE STOLE FIZZY LIFTING DRINKS!!!
He ends up on the roof later, but I never got this. Wouldn’t he just fly up into the ceiling and splat?
That was my biggest question when watching this movie for the past 11+ years. And somehow, I did not think to ask it when I watched it for this article.
That ground needs to shave its pubes.
Looks like Japanese or French ground. But probably French ground, cause it it were Japanese ground, it’d be blurred out.
Not enough vines for it to be Japanese ground.
He can’t find Frodo.
So he freaks out and starts yelling for Frodo. He’s like that nervous wife in the 40s movies who dies in childbirth.
“I thought I’d lost you.”
Look at those fucking FEET.
It’s funny to think they had to wear those while shooting this. Though I hope they made them like sneakers rather than a prosthetic, because that must have SUCKED.
It was a prosthetic. They spent like two hours every morning putting them on. The fur on their feet was yak hair, too. I once had a three-question streak at a bar’s trivia night where I was the only person to get any of the questions right. The first was, “What animal has the longest fur?” The yak. Thanks, Lord of the Rings special features. The second question was, “Which German fashion icon was responsible for designing Nazi uniforms during WWII?” Hugo Boss. Thanks, Archer. The third was, “What was John Wayne’s last film ever?” The Shootist. Thanks, me, for watching movies. But yeah. Prosthetic feet. Must have sucked.
Peregrin Took: Shire Linebacker
I was thinking ‘Merry Tate.’
No, yeah, that’s… actually better.
THAT’S SIMONE’S ELF BREAD!
Roll, roll, roll in the hay.
They be stillin’.
They’ve been into Farmer Maggot’s crops.
I’d rather be into Farmer Maggot’s daughter.
Sam immediately figures out that they’ve been stealing vegetables and knows whose farm it is without having to think about it. Remember how yesterday (and I say ‘yesterday’ because we saw them set up camp for the night) you made it farther from home than you’d ever been? How do you know about this shit like you’ve been here all the time?
As for your comment…I might have difficulty getting with any girl whose name was ‘Maggot.’ Especially if she was squishy or moist. Or both.
I hope Farmer Maggot’s son isn’t effeminate, because children are cruel.
I love that this is all we see of Farmer Maggot. That’s all we need to see. That motherfucker will scythe you.
Also, there’s a nice moment here that we didn’t mention, which is – after Merry and Pippin (sounds like a gay Vegas magician’s act) knock over Sam and Frodo, Sam picks them up and is like, “Get off of Mister Frodo!” Which is funny, because his “Mister Frodo” is always one step away from “Mastuh Frodo.” The other thing that’s both good and funny is that he immediately becomes protective of Frodo.
It’s good in the sense of character development, since that’s what Sam is – he’s there to protect Frodo from shit, even himself at times. But on the other hand, it’s completely sudden how it comes about. If you think about it, all that’s happened with Sam is – he hears raised voices, comes over to hear what’s going on, is pulled into the window by Gandalf, told he’s going to accompany Frodo on this journey – which, more on that in a second – and then they’re off. And at some point during all of this, Gandalf tells Sam, “Don’t you lose him, Samwise Gamgee.” And as we all know, Sam doesn’t mean to let that happen.
So – two things with that – first, at what point did Gandalf tell him this? Since Frodo doesn’t know anything about it. Did he whisper it in Sam’s ear while they were walking to the edge of Hobbiton? Did he say it while Frodo was off taking a piss? Or did he follow Sam back to his house when he packed his shit to make sure he wouldn’t r-u-n-n-o-f-t? Watching him, as he packed his clothes, “… no, no, no, not that one. The gray one. Put the gray one on. Yeah… put the gray one on real slow.”
Which brings me to the other thing – which is the main thing – why is Sam taking this all to heart so quickly and easily? He got pulled in through the window and told he’s going out with Frodo. Presumably he doesn’t question this because he thinks Gandalf can turn him into something “unnatural,” but that doesn’t mean he has to completely buy into the whole thing and be super vigilant about it. All we’ve seen is him lose Frodo once and freak the fuck out and be like, “He told me not to lose you, and I’m not going to.” This makes me 100% certain that Sam has closeted feelings for Frodo. It’s the only explanation for why he would be hanging around Frodo’s house at night and why he’s crazy protective of him.
That’s a good point. This is all very early. The only other possibility I’ve considered is that Sam’s such a scaredy cat at this point that he’s yelling for Frodo because he’s just found himself all alone in an unfamiliar place. And then he plays it off like he was worried about Frodo, whereas it was really about his own fear. Like, “Dude, I’m supposed to be watching out for you! And don’t leave me alone in this place! Scarecrows hang out on farms and Cillian Murphy creeps me the fuck out!”
Also, one more thing – does not one else in Hobbiton find it weird that three people up and left town within the span of a week? Bilbo, all right. Frodo… not that weird. Since he is related to Bilbo. But Sam? Isn’t it kind of weird to them that Sam is just gone, along with Frodo? Frodo doesn’t have to really do anything. So he can go. But Sam’s the gardener. He can just up and leave and nobody says anything? Who’s gonna garden now? That’s kind of a dick move. Just up and leave out of nowhere.
Though I just looked it up – apparently almost 18 years pass between Bilbo leaving and Gandalf coming back to Frodo. Which is interesting. Since the movie never gives off that vibe in the theatrical version. It makes it seem like he went off to Gondor, looked some shit up, and hurried right back. But no – this is like 17 YEARS he took to figure shit out. And during this time, Sauron is raising an army, sending the ringwraiths out, and preparing to take shit over again. Which – now this timeline makes more sense to me, since when Gandalf shows up at Isengard (or, I guess, more specifically Orthanc), all this shit has presumably been in play for a while and it’s almost like, “Wait, how come you’re only noticing it all now?” So it’s actually the movie that does a poor job of explaining the time instead of the characters being stupid.
That’s the really troubling thing. They don’t give you a sense of that amount of time passing at all. There’s almost two decades that go by randomly and without any indication. And then when we see Bilbo again, he looks much older, but you figure it’s because without the ring he’s sort of caught up to what he WOULD look like around 111, which is already crazy old for a hobbit. Cause remember when we see him in about 6 years, as he and Frodo are getting on the elf boat? He’s aged WAY more than 6 years between this point and then. So it’s like the effects of the aging are accelerating to catch up to where he should have been at that point.
But anyway, back to my original point – how are people supposed to react to Frodo and Sam leaving? Do they just figure they’ll be back, like with Bilbo? At what point do they figure they’re not coming back? Since they’re gone for about… two years. Do they jut figure the entire time that both will come back? At what point do they sell his house and loot all his shit? They have to give them up for dead at some point, right?
His place and stuff is auctioned off, and one of the shitty relatives who had coveted Bag End her entire life ends up with it. And then Frodo comes back, and she has to vacate. It’s this whole shit show. Cause apparently Shirefolk are nicer than Judi Dench and don’t clear out your apartment and put your shit in storage when you go off to Turkey to fuck bitches and drink.
Anyway – there they go.
And there they go.
That looked a lot more like a sheer cliff face from the wide shot.
“That was close.”
Which – hey George – there’s a poop joke that works. Why? Because he immediately cuts away from it.
It was a shortcut to mushrooms.
For some reason, I remember this as being a chapter in the book. I don’t know, but I’ve always remembered that.
Now all the fatasses run over to stuff their faces with fungus.
But uh oh… it’s Hassa Hassa Time.
(Look… the franchise may change, but it’s all the same.)
Reverse tracking shot!
A really good one, too. I’ve always remembered this shot.
Now that’s a nice use of the reverse tracking shot. That was surreal.
Time to get off the road.
Remember when something like whatever they’re on passed for a ‘road?’ Yeah, me neither.
Tally ho! (Times four!)
One of the most ominous scenes in the franchise.
They get off the road, which is straight, and then like 4 seconds later, the horse is walking by slowly. How did it not see them get off the road? I’m sorry, I have a basic understanding of spatial relationships.
This makes me so happy. I like knowing you, without any real kind of formal learning, are more knowledgable than 98% of all film majors.
Brilliant directing here.
Astounding shot choices.
Damn, horse. Clean your hooves, for shit’s sake.
Nice touch with the hooves. But I’ve always been curious – is that blood meant to be there because the horse just doesn’t feel any pain and can ride forever and ever? Or is it just because it’s evil? The ringwraiths just make them run, so their hooves are caked in dried blood and nails and shit because they don’t care?
And why does the horse have red eyes?
It must be really hard having to wear a suit of armor all the time.
There should be a challenge with that. Make someone wear a suit of armor all day and see how well they can do it.
I’m actually really excited about the future of body armor. They’re developing suits right now that are just layers of carbon fiber with air pockets in between, so that the bullet impacted gets dissipated through compressing the air and the flex of the carbon fiber panels. You can have a full body suit of armor and take crazy fire and be fine and not really weighed down all that much. It’s retarded boss.
So… is he making these bugs come out? Are bugs inherently evil or something? Or are the bugs running from him because he’s evil?
Nasty insects and shit. I don’t get it, are they popping out because the Nazgul is evil and summons them, or are they afraid of it and fleeing?
Either way, man – hakuna matata.
He looks like he’s getting his dick sucked. It had to be said.
Yeah, put that shit on.
Weird how he knows to stop him. Though I guess he did overhear Gandalf telling him never to put it on. So we’ll give this a pass.
Also weird how he never sees them once. I guess it’s not so weird, but this next shot is what’s going to make it seem weird.
So he throws that and the fucking thing never sees him do that once?
Frodo realizes the magnitude of what he’s carrying.
And here we are in the Dark Forest.
Love extreme angle shots.
This looks like the opening of a movie when someone’s about to get raped and killed in the woods.
Scurry, hobbits. Scurry.
Apparently that’s all these guys do – shriek and ride around on horses.
That’s a pterodactyl noise. That’s all that is.
“I have to leave the Shire. Sam and I must get to Bree.”
Bree sounds like a place where they have gay weddings.
Or a cheese. But yeah. Gay weddings too.
This is a great moment, since instead of being a little nuisance, he’s like, “I got this,” and just helps him. That’s a good dude, right there. You never once question him. I like that about this franchise. You never question people’s motivations. Even Sam, when he was protective of Frodo – I only really questioned how sudden it was, not that he did it. This one, I buy completely. Whereas with Lucas, you’re never really sure why people are doing shit. It’s always from after-the-fact rationalization. Like, “Oh, well, Han is a scoundrel, so it makes sense that he’d do that,” meanwhile in the movies, he’s not really a scoundrel and we never really see him do behavior that would make what he’s doing make sense. Here, though – it’s just kind of there. You totally buy the characters’ behavior.
Pippin wants to know what’s up. The way he says, “right…” you just know he’s the guy that would help you do something with no questions asked. Which is also one of Mike’s virtues, coincidentally. You can call him up in the middle of the night, tell him to bring a shovel, and you can count on him to show up.
The only correct response to that comment is… “Yes.”
They’re going to the ferry.
OH SHIT, SON!
I love this shot – the ringwraith is looking at roaches scattering. He’s like, “Which one of you has the fucking thing?”
So is this ferry just always operational? How does that work? Does a person wanting to use it have to wait for someone to come back from the other side if it’s not on their side? Or are there two that can be going back and forth? Also, is there a guy that operates this? Are they doing it illegally and cheating a dude out of money?
It’d be better if they did this scene like the way it played out in The Outlaw Josey Wales.
We say that about every scene.
This is like Morpheus running for the helicopter.
I fucking LOVED that shot of the minigun shells falling into the camera.
Well, we already have 1/10 of our shots list done.
Lots of tally ho’s here.
It’s like Christmas. Over the course of about 20 seconds, we get to see midgets sprinting, jumping a fence, and then doing the long jump onto a ferry. Appreciate this for the comedy it is.
They got lucky.
Hey Nazgul, how about using a blaster to shoot them? Nah, you’re right. That’d be so uncivilized.
What I don’t get is why they wouldn’t jump in or something. Swim after them. Why let them get away and wait to go get them? Fucking follow them. Call your fucking flying Nazgul.
But I guess these guys used to be kings. So they’re used to not doing shit ever.
I like this place. I want to own an inn.
If I get rich, my property is going to have an inn.
That’s great. He has two openings for men and for hobbits.
“Hobbits. Four hobbits. What business brings you to Bree?”
“We wish to stay at the inn. Our business is our own.”
“Well fuck me, then, I was just being nice.”
This guy would NOT do well at the TSA. “Who are you, what’s your story?” “FUCK YOU!” “Okay, okay, jeez! C’mon in.” He says you can’t be too careful, but apparently he can’t be careful at all.
Welcome to Bree.
This place looks like Lordsberg.
It does have that sort of German Expressionist feel too it, doesn’t it?
German Expressionism needs to be brought back.
In the form of sets, not like, political ideologies.
The Prancing Pony. The name of a gay bar if ever I heard one.
The Three Broomsticks?
Still not as gay.
It has a very American Werewolf in London vibe.
Mr. Underhill says he’s friends of Gandalf.
He ain’t seen Gandalf for six months.
I love it when people do that. They describe the person you’re asking about in detail and then tell you they’ve never heard of them.
Might as well drink while you wait.
Or do anything, really.
“This my friend… is a pint.”
“It comes in pints?”
“I’m getting one.”
Merry and Pippin are the only ones who seem to have shit figured out.
“That feller has done nothing but stare at us since we arrived.”
You’re telling me this isn’t a gay bar?
“That man in the corner… who is he?”
Sure… great way to not be noticed. Dude’s staring at you, and then you clearly have a conversation about him WHILE HE’S WATCHING YOU! What do you think is gonna happen now?
Apparently he’s “one of those rangers.” He’s known as “Strider.”
This is another thing about Lord of the Rings that’s either interesting or really annoying, depending on how big of a fucking dork you are. Every person and place in the whole universe has like seventy different names depending on who you’re talking to. It wasn’t enough for Tolkien (and whomever else) to come up with names for every king and lord of every minor city or fiefdom for a 10,000 year history; they had to be like, “Oh, his name is blah blah blah, but the elves called him such and such.” Well, fuck the elves. You have too many names.
I was reading a wiki page for one of the towns in Middle Earth, and they had its name, but since the name had never been specified in Sindarin or Quenya (elvish languages), someone SPECULATED and wrote what they might be in theory! I can’t begin to express how completely unnecessary that is.
See what I mean?
More like Peregrin TOKE!
Toke like marijuana.
Yeah, I know.
I’m just gifted like that.
Spider’s caught himself a couple of flies.
I feel like Jaws’ hand should come round the corner and grab him right now.
Always a smart decision. Make him think you’re married. That’ll keep him away.
“Oh, but I bet he sucks a mean dick… mmmm.”
There’s a great random close up.
Shiftiest motherfucker in the whole franchise.
That’s the, “Are you really jerking off under the table” look?
I get that one a lot.
I’m not allowed in at least twelve Denny’s in the state of California.
Who knows twelve guys named Denny?
O hai Denny.
My biggest problem with medieval society – the amount of alcohol they waste on their beards.
Something about this franchise I’ve noticed – characters are constantly letting booze dribble on them. Especially dwarves, but men, too. Mostly just things with beards. But they take a long sip of whatever they’re drinking, and it just pours out the sides of the tankard onto their beard and chest. If I lived in the Middle Ages and had to work in the fields or whatever, I’d be so careful that every bit of food and every drop of drink went IN MY MOUTH, cause you appreciate that more when you have to work for it.
Shit, I’m careful about that NOW, and I’m a goddamn consultant with three squares a day. But you how many times I’ve let booze go somewhere other than my mouth? Twice. Once to pour one out for Gregory Peck, and one more time for Peter Falk.
I burst out laughing by the word “dribble.” Holy shit, this is amazing.
We’re at the point now where (Shiho too), if we played a game like Apples to Apples, where it’s contingent upon knowing what the other person is going to say/go for (for example: “Cheesy.” “Cheesecake”), we’d destroy everybody. I mean, we were able to do that within six months of knowing each other, but goddamn, that’s great.
This reminds me of that great story (and fuck it… this franchise is like 15 hours long by this point anyway, so we got time), where it was the last night of the semester my freshman year, and we all got drunk in a vacated room on the hall. (Someone had gone home, and Res Life went to go make sure the person was out, and left the door unlocked. So we just went in and drank.) And as we were drinking, we decided to play Pictionary. Not officially, just — here’s a list of words, two teams, let’s draw, see who comes up with it first, and we’ll drink.
So we came up with a bunch of words, and I was like, “I gotta find words that will really fuck with people.” So the word I chose was “existentialism.” Since — how the fuck do you draw that? And we were choosing for other people, so I wasn’t gonna be involved in that game. I was just gonna watch people try to draw it and solve it. And immediately everyone went, “Fuck that, I’m not gonna be able to do that.” And I went, “Really? I’ll get that shit done in a second.” So I was drawing for one team, and we started playing. And my plan was (thank god we were all educated, otherwise this never would have worked), going back to sophomore year English class — I was gonna draw a scene from “The Stranger.” Camus. I drew a dude shooting a guy under the hot sun. And I took my damn time, too, just because I wanted to see what the other team was doing. And they drew a person inside a box, and this and that, attacking the word from its theoretical definition, and I just drew that. And my teammate was like, “Shooting a guy. Shooting shooting a guy under the sun. Shooting — an Arab guy. “The Stranger.” Existentialism.” And it was over. In like a minute and a half.
That’s the kind of level we’re at right now. I can draw a guy shooting a guy under the sun and Colin will know I’m talking about existentialism. That’s why these articles are so good. (And even better for the people who know us. Because they know what this is like.)
Humorous postscript to that story — my parents were coming up the next morning to pick me up. So I pass out at like, 2:30 or something, and I’m expecting them to get there around 10 or 11. Enough time for me to sober up and be ready. Meanwhile, I get a call from them at like, 7:30, where they’re like, “We left early, we’re gonna be there in like 20 minutes.” And I go, “Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.” Because I’m still wasted. Well.. drunk. Having had enough experience at this, I was just drunk. There was another story involving Shiho being a ninja (and a Britta filter) that involves me being wasted. But this one was just me being drunk. So they say they’re coming, and I go, “I’ll leave you my key card to get into the building right outside,” left my door open for them, and went right the fuck into the shower (I fell down in the hallway on the way to the shower), and sat in the hot water for as long as I felt would help.
And I get out, and they’re starting to unpack my room and stuff, and load shit into the car. And I start helping them. Still completely drunk. That was a fun morning.
“Baggins? Sure I know a Baggins!”
Fucking name dropper.
Look at that robe. The top three buttons are undone.
What is that gonna do? Motherfucker already talked.
I know he’s a name dropper, but watch the drink.
There’s a beverage here.
I always drop shit this way.
This is either a one in a million shot or really fucking bad aim on Frodo’s part.
That happens a lot. I fall, drop something and reach for it with my index finger only. Why is his finger outstretched? I was waiting for the “ou-ch.”
This reminds me of a story Carl Weathers told about Burgess Meredith.
(Which might be the best way to get anybody hooked on a story. Much better than, “So I was watching the MTV Video Music Awards…”)
It was on the Rocky DVD special features. (I used to watch all of those things.) They were at a bar one night, and Burgess Meredith (by the way, that motherfucker was so baller, he’d go out and get wasted like every night and drive home up PCH, and whenever the cops stopped him, they’d go, “All right, you just take it easy now.” Didn’t give a fuck. Because he was awesome) is sitting on a barstool drinking, and they’re all getting really shitfaced. And keep in mind, he’s 70. And they’re drinking, and he leans back on the stool, falls backward, flips over, and lands back on his feet.
And not a single drop of beer was spilled.
This is me whenever someone opens a bottle of whiskey.
Oh! I’m trippin’ off acid!
This looks like the Voldemort flashback in Philosopher’s Stone.
Sauron looks like he wants to get fucked in his eye vagina.
It looks like heat waves. Like it’s a flame licking the image, but…without the flame. How the hell did they do this?
93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple.
“You draw far too much attention to yourself, Mr. Underhill.”
The best part of this is that like 20 people watched himself disappear and freaked out, and by the time he takes the ring off like 12 seconds later, they’re all over it and back to the important business of DRINKING.
But I don’t think it’s ever addressed — Pippin named dropped, but only after someone ASKED about a Baggins. Who the hell was asking about Frodo? And if they were that interested, wouldn’t they still be looking?
Just like Gandalf slamming Sam down on the table by his CHEST, I want to throw someone into a room by the scruff of their neck.
Strider tells him to be careful. That is no trinket he carries.
Frodo says he carries nothing.
My favorite sarcastic asshole retort to literally anything anyone claims ever: “Indeed.”
“What do you want?”
I think that shot says it all.
Putting out candles like a badass.
Hey, guys! It’s Aragorn, son of Arathorn.
“Are you frightened?”
“Not nearly frightened enough. I know what hunts you.”
He answered with the “not nearly frightened enough” so quickly that you know he had both potential responses in mind when he asked the question. You can always tell when someone’s only asking you something because they have something snappy planned for either possible answer. If you catch it fast enough, you can fucking RUIN their day by refusing to answer in either in the affirmative or the negative. Sometimes they try to corral you into it so they can salvage their chance to sound clever, but eventually it sounds like someone trying to get you to respond “who’s there” to a knock knock joke setup – and the day is won.
I love when people do that. Just spin around and whip out a weapon out of nowhere.
Telling you – that’s an immediate comedy bonus to every scene – have someone immediately pull out a gun or a sword or something and turn around as if an unseen enemy is about to attack.
Ultra pimp bonus if ninjas suddenly attack out of nowhere.
For those wondering how a certain scenario in Clue could happen… there you go.
Hah! You think you can beat Aragorn with a stool and Lumière!
Amused Aragorn is amused.
Sam’s ready to throw down. He has a “stout heart.”
I wish James Gandolfini’d had a stout heart. :(
Either way – “They’re coming.”
This shot was always hilarious and sad to me at the same time. On the one hand – it’s fucking hilarious, some dude getting crushed by a gate. On the other hand – it’s sad, because that guy was nice. He didn’t do anything. He had an Irish accent. People with Irish accents shouldn’t be murdered.
That’s what happens when you have lax security.
I’m looking at this mud and imagining Shiho’s reaction.
I remember when you told me about that day you and him had two classes together (Japanese and… something else. Something Asian-related), and he stayed behind or something for the second one (or whatever it was. Maybe it was one class and he wasn’t awake yet so he was gonna show up late), and you’re sitting in the class, and he just doesn’t show up. Even though he was supposed to be right behind you. And all of a sudden, twenty minutes later, he comes into class wearing completely different clothes from the ones he was wearing earlier. And you found out it was because he slipped and fell all the way down that little hill thing next to Olin and got covered in mud.
I can only imagine the heart attack that gave him.
What was worse about that scenario was — we’d had morning class together, then chilled and done homework in his room, and then had lunch. So we’d spent the whole day together up to that point, which is why I clearly knew what he was wearing. He’s also the sort of person that’s typically color-coded. All blue, or red shoes and a red t-shirt, or something. That morning, he’d been wearing blue jeans, light blue shoes, and a light blue shirt. He showed up for our afternoon class wearing black sneakers, black jeans, a black shirt, and a silver puffy vest. Clearly different from what he’d had on. I just blurted out, “You changed,” pretty loudly and in front of the whole class.
Everyone looked at us like we were MEGA gay and it was totally my fault. He was shaking his head. I realized afterwards that even if it hadn’t looked gay, he could have been late to class cause he was hooking up with some chick or something. It took me a semester or two to learn how to keep my mouth shut at certain times. This episode also makes me bust out laughing every time I watch Casino Royale and hear Mads Mikkelson say, “You changed your shirt, Mr. Bond.” Cause nobody calls HIM out for being gay.
I’m picturing Tyrone calling him gay and then him shedding a single blood tear.
How funny is it when they pass through and you see the innkeeper praying silently? He has to be the worst actor in the franchise. He was pretty bad when they show up looking for Gandalf; I can’t help but laugh at this, too.
What’s with the cap?
This is how we used to do it when I volunteered at the old folks’ home.
This was a really great cut when I was 13. But now, it’s painfully obvious that they’re not in the same location. Even logically, since it’s like – how do you not hear these cloaked figures break down the gate, run into the hotel, run up to your room, walk across the floor and stand over your beds about to stab you?
There’s no way you sleep through all this if you’re in the same room. And even so – how do you sleep through it anyway?
These things look like fucking STABBING machines! Who stabs like that? “UP! DOWN! UP! DOWN!”
(We just got a big bump from the female demographic.)
FLIPPIN’ BEDS UP IN THIS BITCH!
Cans! It was only cans!
They shriek like motherfuckers all the time, these things.
This is why I refer to bridesmaids as ringwraiths.
I’m sorry, but I can’t accept that the Ring Wraiths aren’t pterodactyls.
Of course they’re all sleeping in the same bed. Of course they are.
Who sleeps with their suspenders on?
And even then…
Harry Potter shot.
“What are they?”
“They were once men.”
That doesn’t answer his question.
(Also, fun tangent (#8,433) — when putting my synopsis into this article, I pasted just the “They were once men,” part. And when I pasted it, my immediate thought was to tag it and start riffing by saying, essentially, that he didn’t answer the question and that he asked what they are, not what they were. And then I looked down and saw that the next line I had written in my notes was, “That doesn’t answer his question.” Which is always so comforting, to know that, even if I miss it the first time, if you give me enough shots at it, I will come up with the joke.)
Apparently they were the nine men who were given rings by Sauron (so… Sauron gave everyone the rings? Is that how it worked? He gave everyone the rings and made one for himself that was better than all the rest?), and they were corrupted by them. They were great kings.
They all seem to be tall and fit. What if one of them had been a slovenly, oafish king? Wouldn’t it be great if there was a fat, little Ring Wraith who had to jog to keep up with the rest of them?
I like how they just leave, instead of, you know, searching other rooms or waiting around to see if anyone comes out.
Your tracking skills are spotty at best.
“They are the Nazgul – ringwraiths (the little nod when he says “ringwraiths” is amazing. It’s like when you’re showing off your baddassery at knowing shit and throw in that extra little bit just to remind people that you are a baller and do enjoy running your shit) – neither living nor dead.”
Then what are they?
They sound like the brunch of life status. And I don’t like brunch. Floppy bacon and cantaloupe and no lunch food.
If there’s no stir fry, it’s not lunch.
“At all times, they feel the presence of the ring.”
Really? So what was going on for the last sixty years, then?
“Drawn to the power of the One.”
“They will never stop hunting you.”
“I’m a Ranger, so I say things dramatically!”
He is a ranger, and given how technologically advanced this place is, I guess you can call him… Walker.
Bye, bye, Bree.
I’d love to see a Ringwraith in the Kentucky Derby.
“Where are you taking us?”
“Into the wild.”
I would make a joke there, but something even better happens:
Aragorn’s tent pole or whatever that is totally smacks right into the camera as he walks past. It’s amazing. And they leave it in, too. You can see the camera tilt slightly. It’s pretty great.
Pop out from behind a rock; sniff. Pussy? Pussy.
Well there goes the opening scene for that Bond spec I was gonna write…
They don’t know if they can trust Aragorn.
Man, have you ever met any son of Arathorn that wasn’t trustworthy?
Maybe ‘cept Ray Ray, but that’s cause he was on the PCP for a couple years there. That wasn’t his fault. The Devil done got him.
Leave Mike and I to our own devices for more than 30 seconds and we start talking complete gibberish.
You give us too much credit.
He’s taking the hobbits to Rivendell.
The dialogue over these shots is clearly ADR. He so clearly cut this down from a longer cut. It’s so much more noticeable now to me than it was before.
Things are a lot different in a post-Hobbit world.
“What the fuck are YOU people doing?”
They’re having second breakfast.
Comic relief. “I eat like a fuck! Accommodate me!” I don’t dislike Merry and Pippin’s characters, but the way they get used in the films isn’t always my favorite.
I agree. But on the other hand, they do settle down after this initial section. It’s like they know at what point to turn the stupid off.
A lot of times comic relief doesn’t know when to shut the fuck up. They get appropriately serious when they need to, and I appreciate that.
Yo, Saruman… cut yo nails.
CHRISTOPHER LEE HANDS!
Sauron tells Saruman to build him an army.
Who is he, Noah?
Jesus, Saruman. Laying it on a bit thick? His background is actually the same as Sauron’s, back when they were both good guys. And Sauron even fears Saruman a bit. So even though Saruman’s eventual plan is to go along with Sauron only as long as it takes to undermine him and take over shit himself, it seems a bit much to be throwing out the “my lord” and shit like that. Try to act like less of a subservient bitch, dude.
Is he cold? Does he have The Monster? Why is he sitting like that? Like he’s Gene Wilder holding his blue blanket or something.
I guess Sauron needs to show him all the blueprints.
I would pay money to see Christopher Lee examining chocolate chip cookies.
Now I’m picturing Palpatine touching cookies. Eew.
And now I’m thinking about the missed opportunity for a “Palpa-teenager” joke in those articles.
I love the way this guy slinks in. One shoulder raised and then the other on every step. It’s like his shoulders are a seesaw.
These orcs walk so messed up. It bothers me. It’s like how I noticed a long time ago that a surprising number of Japanese people have messed up legs. Either their hip joints or their knees or whatever are fucked up a lot, and so I’ll encounter people staggering around every once in a while. I’ve actually made it a game on my evening commute: Drunk, or Handicapped? But really, though. People with messed up legs who walk in weird, jerking motions or with a lot of funny angles going on…bother me a lot.
“We have work to do.”
(P.S. For those who clicked the link up there… doesn’t David Lee Roth look like Buffalo Bill dressed as a woman in that video?)
(P.S. For those who didn’t click the link up there…aren’t you now feeling justified in you decision?)
You think David Lee Roth laughs every time he sees Hagar the Horrible?
“The trees are strong, my Lord. Their roots go deep.”
“Rip them all down.”
Their roots go deep? I know a guy who’s offering his axe to just about anyone who a—oh, not yet. Right.
I like how he doesn’t kill him, just leaves him atop the tower. That’s actually a fucked up thing to do to somebody. Don’t lock them in a cell, keep them completely free… a thousand feet off the ground with no place to go.
Ah… Sunday mornings.
That’s me a lot of mornings.
Driver’s license photo.
It’s so fucked up that some orcs just get off at this. This one’s snarling and acting all excited. What the hell is that about? Don’t take such pleasure in your work, it’s not becoming. And why does he have a bunch of rings through his face? What is that about?
He looks just like the homeless guy on my corner.
Goddamn, New Zealand.
Because that’s an inconspicuous place to rest.
Looks like Noah’s Ark.
Weathertop, and the ruins of the Tower of Amon-Sul. That shit was built near the end of the Second Age, like 3200 years before this. So again, like coming across Troy.
My brother bought a sword. I have no idea why, other than that it’s awesome. But it’s a broadsword with a blade that’s like three feet long. And it’s real folded steel, and all that. You can wail on a brick wall with it and it doesn’t bend at all. I thought it was just a nerd thing to buy a sword and take it places, but he’s pretty into it and how badass it is. I’m inclined to agree. Of course, I’d never own a sword unless it was a Hanzo sword.
So, I don’t wanna be the one to say it, but…
Also, how obvious is it that those trees are all fake and being propped up?
And smoke machine? Nice.
I like this shot. Because how creepy is it to see things descending upon you from below?
This is such a poor choice of location by Aragorn.
And he went and left them alone.
Yeah, that’ll do something.
You are so colossally fucked, though.
It’s weird how Merry and Pippin can be so stupid. You just saw these things go to stab the beds you were supposed to be in and spent the entire day keeping away from the major roads so they didn’t find you. At what point does starting a fire seem like a good idea?
Who taught you tradecraft?
Don’t you want to be evil enough someday that you and your friends can attack someone by approaching from like 5 different directions at once? You may think you can do that anyway, regardless of how evil you are, but you’re wrong. Only two groups can pull that off. Evil people and Velociraptors.
And these things sound like both.
This is sort of like the first Harry Potter. I don’t see why this Ring Wraith doesn’t murder Sam on the spot, because he could VERY easily. And then he pushes Merry and Pippin out of the way.
I love how when he whips out the ring, they cut to one of the Wraiths turning slowly, like, “What the fu——uck?!”
Oh, hey. That’s not your long sword that you had out before. You got a wakizashi or something?
Looks like a shiv.
It’s pretty cool that when you put the ring on, you see them for what they’re supposed to look like. But I just have to say – the White Walkers from Game of Thrones ripped these guys off. Even the sound the Walkers make…kinda pterodactylish.
So, is he able to take the ring off that way? If you take the ring off in the Matrix, do you take it off in the real world?
Evil people reach for things in slow motion.
Doesn’t he look exactly like the ghosts from the third movie?
It’s good to stab things when they don’t give you what you want.
And if not, a very valuable life lesson. Because that’s what we’re all about here.
That is the, “Oh my god, I just got stabbed” face.
(Also, I love how he just quietly says “Sam” when he comes over. Even mortal wounds can’t interrupt gayness.)
I like how he has no qualms about fighting five of these dudes.
Check out my man Aragorn doin WORK over here.
Set that bitch on FIRE!
(Do they not like fire or something?)
There’s an image.
After he duels that one off the roof, he stands there for a second with his hands up. “Ya better run, Charles!”
Maybe he’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.
He looks like Bigfoot.
This is the moment you realize you better break out before you get took out.
HE JUST HIT HIM IN THE FACE WITH FIRE!
How…does that torch stick into his face like that and not fall down? Is the end in his mouth?
“He’s been stabbed by a Morgul blade.”
AKA, “Well that sucks.”
It’s a ghost ghost ghost ghost ghost blade.
How nice of the blade to disintegrate like 3 seconds after Aragorn picks it up. I can see it disintegrating on human touch, but this makes it look like it was going to disintegrate at some point anyway. What’s the deal with this?
They’re gonna take him to the elves in Rivendell. Only they can heal him.
Elvish medicine is better, I hear. They got a killer hangover remedy.
But it’s 106 miles to Rivendell, they got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark… and they’re wearing sunglasses.
(But they’re actually six days from Rivendell.)
(Sounds like the name of a road movie, though: Six Days from Rivendell.)
It would really suck if Isengard had a Whomping Willow.
You all know how I like underground shit.
♫ Butterfly in the sky… ♫
Miyagi’d that bitch.
You have learned well, grasshopper.
This is basically how Pokémon works. Catch something and it just listens to you.
That looks like a tarantula with wings.
“I talk to butterflies, motherfucker.”
That’s a moth.
(Even when we don’t coordinate, shit still works out perfectly.)
(That did kind of look like a Venomoth, though.)
What if it just died right there because you crushed its wing when you grabbed it?
I’ve always remembered this shot.
No idea why it was needed, but I remember it.
Lots of unnecessarily complex shots in this movie. Like, crazily so.
I’m not complaining, I’m just noticing. It’s weird how unnecessary they are.
Did they dig that hole? I like to think Saruman just opened a gaping hole in the ground with evil magic.
I assume this is what they were doing on Mustafar.
Also, how exactly do you make an army like this? They need to go underground to forge shit? I don’t get it. Why must you rape and pillage the land in order to build an army? The army was there. Is this just to keep it secret? Because the secret’s out. Why not just do this shit in Mordor where you have the space?
This makes you wanna forge something, doesn’t it? Look how much fun they’re having!
I don’t think that’s how trees work.
Does this remind anyone else of the steam room of the Titanic? Just people dumping coal in there?
And how in another few hours’ worth of film, it’ll be flooded?
Good thing they don’t cut to an old orc couple in bed when that happens.
Is this what Middle Earth bootlegging looks like?
Though I guess it looks more like doo doo butter than anything.
This is like the stack of textbooks that’s been sitting in the classroom locker since 1973.
Are they playing backgammon?
It looks like he’s hoeing in the field. I don’t know what this is about.
What the fuck is this?
Is he getting the Blofeld treatment?