Fun with Franchises: The Lord of the Rings — The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Part V — “It’s The Searchers, Just with Midgets Instead of Natalie Wood”
Today we continue with another entry in our Fun with Franchises series, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Part V.
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 fifth and final part of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:
We begin Part V as the group leaves Lothlorien.
Canoes are pretty great.
I love a good canoe. My dad has this canoe from the 50s that’s made of steel. Canoes these days are made of shitty plastic or whatever, but this thing was practically indestructible. The metal was thin, so it wasn’t prohibitively heavy, but it was still steel, so it’s basically indestructible. I used to take it out on the lake and paddle around doing fuck all, and I would ram it into rocks for no reason. And the canoe was like, “I eat those!” No dents, barely even a blemish. I love that canoe.
This looks like where Mel Gibson had his hideout in The Patriot.
Galadriel also gives Frodo the “light of Elendil.”
(Looks like a drug deal.)
She gave you a flashlight. It’s a flashlight. I would be the most badass dude in this whole universe if I showed up with a Desert Eagle .50, a flashlight and a few grenades.
“May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
If only we hadn’t heard that one before…
Did you notice how she does the same non-waving wave that the knight from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade does at the end of the movie?
This looks great.
Goddamn, New Zealand.
These places actually exist. Sheer rock faces, with normal river banks on one side. New Zealand has some of the best fly fishing in the world. Huge fish.
It’s always better to travel by boat. As we all learned from that crazy guy in Apocalypse Now.
They being followed.
This is a great set of shots coming up:
It’s like, “… what?”
I don’t get it, are the uruks running parallel to them? Cause they don’t appear to be. Legolas looks over and Boromir and Aragorn get spooked, but if they were really sure something was over there, wouldn’t they continue being worried about it later? This dreading is all but forgotten in like 20 seconds.
Also… just so we’re clear… these are the black people of this universe. Ain’t no other race gonna be specifically bred to run at great distances without stopping and be considered “filthy” and “disgusting” by all the other peoples of the world.
Tolkien was pretty racist.
This is pretty gorgeous, this image.
That shit is crazy. Who carved that? Why? You have to imagine that took like decades to do. And what purpose do they serve? Don’t get me wrong, it’s way cool. But they’re like 500 feet tall.
They’re Gondor’s former Heisman winners, in case you didn’t know.
If I were them, I’d just hang out on that dude’s foot. Who’s gonna come after you there?
Imagine a battle taking place here.
“Keep your tired and your poor the fuck away from here.”
“Did I leave my door unlocked?”
Who needs plot development when you have this?
They’re gonna pull over. Cross the river at night.
What’s funny is that they could have just landed on that other side and been there already.
Gimli’s upset that the road is so treacherous.
This sounds like bullshit again. “Razor sharp rocks?” What’s that about? He’s talking about Emyn Muil, the place where Frodo and Sam start off the next film in. I don’t remember them cutting themselves on any rocks. Maybe you’re full of shit.
Frodo be ‘spicious.
Legolas hears shit. Aragorn just stares at us.
Legolas knows some shit.
Frodo and Boromir are gone.
(Why wouldn’t you take your shield?)
Forests are the shit.
What are hobbit feet made out of? How are they not constantly getting shit in there?
Of course there’s gonna be a scene involving Sean Bean and a bunch of statues.
What the hell is this huge statue head? Where did this come from? Is this a mistake from the huge statues we saw a few minutes ago? Like, they started the head and it sucked, so they threw it over here? I love that there are random hints at bygone civilizations strewn about this whole world.
I think that’s what it is, actually. They fucked up the statue, so they tossed it over here. And no one ever moved it.
Kinda like what happened with the Panama Canal workers.
I like this scene. Because you’re not sure if he’s trying to be cagey or is being sincere.
He wants the ring to defend his people? Dude, it makes you invisible. Exactly what do you think it could do beyond that? You think it’s got a bazooka in there or something? Cause it don’t.
I’d be nervous that the statue head was gonna start talking to me.
“You are not yourself.”
Which I like. It’s not him that’s doing it.
But on the other hand, we haven’t met him as himself, so he just seems like a giant prick.
Naturally he has to try to grab it.
Oh, now he’s getting really rapey.
Hey Boromir – there are better ways of getting the shit you want. “Hey, does this cloth smell like chloroform to you?”
Of course he has to put it on.
What’s weird about this moment is a few things. First — shouldn’t Frodo know at this point that the ring is a GPS when he puts it on? Second, didn’t Galadriel tell him this was going to happen? Shouldn’t he have told everyone else so they could be like, “Hey, Boromir, don’t go over there with Frodo”? Shouldn’t he have maybe told someone he was gonna wander off? There’s really just stupidity all around right now.
And Boromir keeps shouting.
Like, “I saw what you are gonna do! You’re gonna give the ring to Sauron!”
Which… why the fuck would he do that?
And trips and falls.
And then realizes – “I fucked up.”
Oh no. Leaves in your hair. I guess it’s not as bad as sand in your clothes.
Leaves aren’t so bad. With sand, you might as well kill yourself.
Sean Bean actually does a really good job with this, because you see a really noble dude here dealing with shit beyond his control. You do feel empathy for the character past the empathy you’re going to have in a few seconds regardless.
I love that you hear him shout, “Frodo, I’m sorry!” over this.
Just like Tom Hanks said to Wilson.
That ring ain’t even worth the trouble. Every time you put it on to run away from a rapist, you have to look at this big eye that looks like a Visine commercial.
Man, that shit is dangerous.
It’s like tequila. “Wait… where am I? What did I do? Where are my pants?”
Yeah, lie around in the grass. Bring on the ticks!
What is this, Middle Earth’s make-out spot?
How the fuck did you find him here and not before when Boromir was trying to rape him?
“It’s taken Boromir.”
“To the zoo?”
“Where is the ring?”
This is justified. Like the rapist’s twin brother showing up and shouting – CLEARLY you run.
“I swore to protect you.”
Which is funny. Like, “I said I’d protect you, why the fuck do you think I’d do anything?” Like swears mean anything. Last I checked, Boromir swore too.
“Can you protect me from yourself?”
Sure. It’s only the biggest temptation for men this side of Elvish pussy, so take it out and show it to him.
This is like offering drugs to an addict.
“Would you destroy it?”
So, because Boromir said he wants the ring for Gondor, he can’t have it, but because this guy didn’t say anything, he’s cool?
Viggo’s gonna wait til marriage. Rest easy, Frodo.
“I would have gone with you to the end.”
That might be my favorite line in this entire franchise.
It’s at this moment that he uses the conditional and you’re like, “Wait, is it understood that Frodo’s going alone now? Why didn’t this get discussed? Why would Aragorn assume that or not want to discuss it with him?
Sometimes you just know shit.
All right, Han, let’s take it easy with that shit.
I don’t get why Frodo has to go by himself now. It’s a foregone conclusion now. Why? You know Aragorn’s trustworthy, and so is everyone else. Even Boromir came around. Why do you have to go it alone now? Mr. I Can’t Fight Worth A Damn.
How did they all manage to show up right where he is and not anywhere else?
He looks amused to see them.
Right here is where this motherfucker becomes the biggest badass in this franchise. Tells Frodo he’d have gone with him all the way into Mordor, and now doesn’t even blink about fighting a hundred guys by himself. He’s ready to die.
Biggie was ready to die. Aragorn’s ready to slice bustas.
Gotta respect a guy who isn’t about winning, he’s just about taking out as many people until (if) he loses.
I always wonder if he had this shit planned or this is just where the fight took him. Since he seems very deliberate about going up the stairs, but I’m wondering if that’s just cause he wanted some higher ground, or it was just something that happened and he rolled with it.
Cool place to fight, though.
Peter Jackson is good about exploiting all the nice places to fight.
Now THERE’S a tally ho!
Now THAT’S a tally ho! He just jack-knifed into a bunch of uruks!
And he continues stabbing them. And somehow they don’t pile on like a bunch of Agent Smiths.
Right on cue.
Legolas has a thing in these movies about stabbing dudes with arrows and then using the same arrow to shoot a second dude. Awesome every time.
Gimli wins this scene. He shows up and fucking LAUNCHES an axe in that uruk-hai’s chest.
HOOOOOOOOLY SHIT! HE WENT FOR THE LEGS!
Nice situational awareness, uruks.
“Frodo! Hide here, quick!”
“What’s he doing?”
Beautiful little moment amid the chaos.
I like that everyone has a moment of bravery and/or awesomeness. No truly useless characters in this franchise.
Partially useless… all right. But truly useless… none.
Noble, but stupid.
Time to break out, son!
So he just pulled an Anakin.
Legolas has long knives. Long knives are great. And machetes. Which, what if when the elves show up to Helm’s Deep in the next film, they panned over the ranks of flawless, blond elves, and then one of them was just Danny Trejo? That would be the most amazing thing ever.
And then he just spins and stabs a motherfucker in the chest.
(He also looks like he’s apparating.)
And the fuck you.
And this guy takes a swing at Gimli and Gimli pimp smacks him with his axe.
How bad must it feel to get pimp smacked with an axe?
They look like Putties from the Power Rangers.
I like him running out of the (random) beam of light.
And here comes Boromir.
And pretty quickly, they get surrounded.
When you’re on a bridge and bad guys are coming at you from both sides, you need to jump off that bridge. That’s the sort of scenario you get into where you like to think that under such extreme circumstances your body would do some crazy shit and repel them all. Like Togepi in Pokemon, how every time they were in trouble, Togepi would use Metronome and save everyone without them noticing. Never was there such a badass on the show that was more useless in the game.
I love people throwing shit into other people’s faces and chests.
Throwing knives is badass.
He just took out three dudes in a single take.
This is why I’m such a Legolas fan even though I sort of hate his voice, appearance and just about everything else about him. At the end of the day, he’s the one on the battlefield who handles his shit. Everyone else is getting sweaty and chopping uruks and stuff. Legolas is like, “One…two…three…let’s get this next one in his LEFT eye.”
“The horn of Gondor!”
I told you – that’s all he says in these movies.
FRANK THE TANK! FRANK THE TANK!
I like how, even when running over to help somebody, they still stop to cut bitches.
It’s funny how the horn calls everyone, not just the good guys.
The Horn of Gondor…is a vuvuzela.
I like how they set this guy up as a boss fight waiting to happen.
I love that this uruk has dreads.
I like how he just calmly walks up, takes aim, and shoots him in the fucking chest.
That arrow looks armor piercing. That’s more like a small ballista.
That is the proper “I just got shot in the chest with an arrow” face.
That’s not good.
What is it with Sean Bean and getting killed all the time?
Now THAT’S badass. Arrow in his chest, fuck you, keep on fighting.
Why does that statue look like Zoidberg?
Why not go after him? He’s the one shooting you.
Give him some credit. Dude has two GIRDERS going through his chest and he gets back up.
The shot of him getting hit with the third arrow is priceless. They don’t even show it hit him, just his face and the force of the impact knocking him backwards. KA-KAH! And we’re all thinking the same thing.
This is the look you give people when they’re like, “How bad is it?” And you’re like… “Uhhh… not bad.”
Cool Hand Boromir.
That is a nice moment, though. He sees Merry and Pippin and realizes how badly he fucked up with Frodo, so he spends the rest of his energy defending these two.
It’s a noble way to go out.
Though that uruk is a fucking idiot to be taken out by a guy with three arrows in his chest and one foot on a banana peel.
I like how arrows keep coming. It’s like, “Oh, maybe he’ll be all right,” BAM BAM, two more fucking arrows.
Peter Jackson really wants you to be certain this motherfucker is not making it out alive.
They got the hobbits.
That’s so pathetic it’s funny. They run at the uruks to fight and the uruks stop them with hugs.
It’s pretty fucked up how they just leave him for dead, knowing he’s pretty much done.
He’s seen everything but Middle Earth Jesus no way.
He has his hair done up the same way Jade Fox does in her fights during Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Is that weird? That I made that connection? But seriously, the night fight where she kills the policeman? Same hair-do.
I like that he just walks up to him like, “I’m gonna kill you. You ready? You ready?”
I also like that little head tilt.
“I want that purple stuff.”
This is just cold-blooded.
He’s not gonna let you die, he’s gonna make you watch him kill you.
And the way he shoots it — totally silent, so you’re just waiting to hear the thud of the arrow slam into his chest.
Aragorn outta NOWHERE SON!
Give the guy a break, though. He’s 90 years old.
Oh, nice. I like this. Traps you with a shield, tries to behead you, you duck down and stab him in the leg.
This is real fighting.
Now that’s a fucking punch to the face.
He stabs you, you punch him in the fucking face.
What a punch.
That’s great. He pulls the knife out of his leg, throws it at Aragorn, and Aragorn swats it away with his sword.
Note to George Lucas: This is what your Episode I fight ending should have been.
Oh man… get ready for a true badass, right here:
(Everyone be losing limbs in these franchises.)
Just pulls the blade in more, like, “Do something!”
And he does.
How much force do you think it actually takes to cut someone’s head off in one motion like that?
I feel like I’d have done a lot better in AP Physics if they phrased the questions to us like this.
“Goddamn, that was fucked up.”
“Oh, Bubba no!”
“Frodo. Where is Frodo?”
“I let Frodo go.”
“Then you did what I could not.”
It’s good that Boromir comes forth with the confession that he tried to take the ring. Cause otherwise, he’d be there dying, and trying to be bros with Aragorn, and Aragorn would be like, “So…this is awkward, but…I heard what you did.” And as Boromir’s eyes glazed over, there would be music.
It must be awkward when you’re touching your dying friend’s chest to comfort them, and all around your hand are the arrows that are sticking out of him.
Aragorn promises he will not let the world of men fall.
“That’s not really my concern right now, bro.”
“Is now a bad time?”
“I would have followed you, my brother, my captain, my king.”
He’s about to join the Dead Boats Society.
Oh, but yeah, it’s sad.
Just like Dobby.
EW YOU KISSED A DEAD GUY WHO ARE YOU CARRIE ANN MOSS
Aragorn. He’s dead now. Stop. It’s creepy.
And there goes Frodo.
See these steps? Where did these steps go?
That seems like a prop from a Wes Anderson movie. Tiny ass step ladder that is in the middle of nowhere, that people climb up and look out from with binoculars. And then, in the same take, they step back down and say something unrelated.
He looks like he just realized he doesn’t know how to drive.
Or that he left his door unlocked.
Naturally Sam has to run after him.
We find out he’s thinking back to Gandalf, telling him all he can do is decide what to do with the time that is given to him.
Oh, what? Gandalf’s Force ghost!
Frodo’s crying like a bitch.
What if he got hit by a car right now?
(Scary Movie 6.)
Why do the elves make everything look like leaves? Why is everything branded? This is some gangland shit.
Dude, just take the other boat.
You fucking idiot.
This was in the DVD commentary, but when they shot this, they had divers go through and check the lake bottom for anything that might hurt Sean Astin when he was running into the water, but he got a pointy stick through the bottom of his foot the first time out. He had to get stitches, and Elijah Wood rowed the boat back to shore so he could laugh at him and say, “That’s a lot of blood!”
“I’m going to Mordor alone!”
He says, like a whiny brother.
“Of course you are. And I’m coming with you!”
Sam can’t swim.
THE FUCKING BOAT IS RIGHT THERE!
People who can’t swim are hilarious. Most people are buoyant as it is, so the effort to stay afloat is minimal. I get that he’s weighed down with bullshit, but damn, man. You look like an idiot grabbing at nonexistent ropes.
Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!
… bad time?
Does he yell every character’s name in these movies? I think he does.
It would be so funny if he just went, “Well… shit,” and kept going.
That’s the “I give up” face. He was ready to drown and he was cool with it.
Oh, Eva Green, nooooooo.
Hey, you guys remember Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1? Cause I sure do.
Oh, they’re going to Mordor, all right. But on the boat.
(Sam is kind of a saucier, isn’t he?)
I make that reference all the time, and nobody ever knows what the fuck I’m talking about. My colleagues’ll be like, “Hey, I’m walking over to the store to pick up some dinner. Wanna come along?” And I reply, “Oh, I’ll go with you. But on the boat.” And they look at me like I’m weird or something.
“I made a promise, Mr. Frodo. ‘Don’t you leave him, Samwise Gamgee.’ And I don’t meant to.”
It seems less shitty now that Gandalf is “dead.”
A P-romise. Try to spit a little more on the P.
I say that to the ladies all the time.
… And then Frodo bricks in Sam’s mouth.
I don’t know how the actors didn’t bust out laughing after literally every take of every scene of all three of these films.
Honestly, just freeze frame it right here. This is Sam’s Rocky moment.
Is it strange that you see that, but I’m thinking of Fredo getting capped?
Aww… two oars rowing… together.
Too bad the Soviets weren’t bigger Tolkien fans. It could have been the BoroMir Space Station.
I hope you guys all acknowledge how miraculous it is to have a cosmonaut pun in a Lord of the Rings article.
Just wait til we get to Pirates. It’ll get cosmonautical up in here.
That’s kind of a badass way to go out.
You sent his body over the waterfall? That’s…littering.
“Hurry. Frodo and Sam have reached the eastern shore.”
You could have all been on the eastern shore. And the orcs wouldn’t have been.
“You mean not to follow them.”
Orlando Bloom is Mr. Exposition.
“His fate is no longer in our hands.”
Gimli says the fellowship has failed.
“Not if we hold true to each other.”
I don’t even know what ‘holding true’ means, let alone in this context. I’m pretty sure your quest was to destroy the ring. So yeah, hold true to one another while Sauron takes over and rapes your families.
That was pretty gay. Even I’ll admit.
“We will not abandon Merry and Pippin to torment and death. Not while we have strength left.”
Is it strange that throughout this entire franchise, I’ve been thinking that Gimli’s helmet from behind looks vaguely like Hagrid’s cabin?
“Leave all that can be spared behind. We travel light.”
“Let us hunt some orc.”
I hope you’re not hunting orcas, because they’ll fuck you up.
Might makes right.
Gimli is awesome.
Gimli’s so stoked about this. It’s like he thought he was gonna have do chores all day, and then his mom told him they were going to Laser Quest instead. Cause that’s what orc hunting is to Gimli. It’s Laser Quest.
(For those keeping score, that was the sound I made when they showed Judi Dench about to take a bath in Quantum of Solace.)
Also… does this basically qualify as a lynching party? This is some western shit. Injuns kidnapped some women and children – let’s go kill them.
It’s The Searchers, just with midgets instead of Natalie Wood.
Sam almost went Natalie Wood a few minutes ago.
(Some of you wish I Natalie Wood’n’t have made that joke.)
Don’t you mean, rear projection?
“Sam, I’m glad you’re with me.”
Really? You didn’t want him before he almost drowned.
“I’m glad you’re with me.” “Well, I wish you’d felt that way 10 minutes ago, before I almost fucking drowned.”
I like how the end of this movie is them going, “Well… we got a lot more walking to do,” and walking away.
And THAT is how you do an Act I.
– – – – – – – – – –
Tomorrow, we go over our favorite images from the film, Sunday is our final thoughts, and Monday is Two Towers.
(See the rest of the Fun with Franchises articles here.)