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Fun with Franchises: Favorite Images from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

One of the recurring features that we do in Fun with Francises (a feature within a feature) is, after we finish watching a film, we go through and pick out our favorite images from that film. These images could be anything from really famous images from the film or franchise, really beautifully composed shots, shots that are funny to us because of the facial expressions being made in them or because of what we said about them in the article in which they appeared, or simply because they have boobs in them.

What we usually do is, just how we watch the films, Colin and I go in separately and pick out about ten to fifteen shots that we really liked. Then we compare lists, and whichever ones we both picked automatically go on our final list. And everything else we talk through and discuss why we like them, and eventually we’re left with a final list of ten images we liked the best, along with ten honorable mentions, which were also as good, but just missed out on making the list proper.

It’s not very complicated (like most things we do here on B+ Movie Blog), and is just a way for us to point out shots that we really liked in the films, especially since we tend to pick stuff that’s not always on the beaten path. (We also don’t officially rank the list of shots. We just put them in chronological order. Simply picking them is hard enough. We don’t want to make our lives any harder. Plus, we’re lazy.)

That said — here are our favorite images from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:

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Clean your hooves, for shit’s sake.

All right. Time to do shots for this franchise. This will go a lot better than some of those Star Wars movies did, I assure you.

I remember Phantom Menace being particularly awful. This franchise is not.

To the point where I got a bunch of intro shots for you, just because of the amount of shots I liked in this movie that did not make the list.

So sit back, light one up and let’s look at some shots.

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This first shot I really like. Colin didn’t want me to use it because he said it felt like a Loew’s commercial. I think I just like the design on the tiles and the fact that it looks kind of like.. well, what the first official shot of the list looks like. I just really like this shot. That’s all.

This only works if you’re a badass.

I love this shot of the wraiths closing in on Weathertop. It’s like black rain descending upon white people. I didn’t put it on the list because the trees are laughably fake. But the concept of the shot is pretty great. I love an overhead where people are coming in from below to surround you. Y’all are (about to be) surrounded.

All this needs is a swivel chair and it would be perfection.

Look at this motherfucker.

Colin and I both really liked this shot. It’s very bygone civilization, and I’m a big fan of the fog.

I like this shot because of the monochrome coloring, and because I can hear the music about to pipe up. I sent it to Colin and his response was, “If only we could Photoshop an Onix going into it…”

Look at this. He fucking LAUNCHES an axe into a guy’s chest. How could I not single that out?

I love this because he’s got arrows sticking out of his chest and continues fighting. That’s a true warrior.

Anyway, that’s all the shots that didn’t fit on the list. Here’s the official list:

1. Maps

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I fucking love a good map. Especially when they take up the entire frame, and are detailed and don’t look like the stupid maps they have in school, and are of a place we don’t know about.

I will always single out a good map shot.

Colin:

This one has a SEA SERPENT.

All maps should have sea monsters on them.

2. The Shire

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I picked the first shot, Colin picked the second. Mine was more about sheer beauty, his more about composition. I’m about both, and I love the Shire, so of course both were going on. To save time, I’ll talk about the first one and he’ll talk about the second one.

With the first one — the Shire just reminds me of home. It has that warm feeling to it, where everything is cool and happy, and the people do nothing but hang out and drink all the time, and the bar is just up the street and they can stumble back to their homes built into the sides of hills and not worry about shit. I love little stone bridges like that, especially when they really aren’t that necessary. Stone bridges are awesome. It just seems like a laid back, great place to live.

Colin:

I mean, there is a great composition to this shot. The way they’re emerging from this almost-tunnel of shag-like grass is certainly symmetrical, and beyond we have some excellent multiple plane action going. What sticks with me is the length of this grass. It’s freakishly long, and the way it’s tufted makes this look vaguely like a Dr. Seuss landscape.

And, we’d also be remiss if we didn’t single out Bag End, because it looks glorious, and represents a personal goal of mine — living in the side of something.

Cuato:

You and me both, man.

3. These shots

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Colin and I both singled out both of these shots, so they had to become a pair.

Obviously there’s thematic relevance, with the second calling back to the first, but just on a pure compositional level — they look nice. The first is this nice moment with Bilbo stopping and being like, “Time to go on another adventure,” and stepping outside. The shot is made all the more better later when you hear his advice to Frodo — “It’s dangerous business, going out your front door.” It’s a really nice image.

And then the Frodo one looks really nice as well and also has the creepy overtones to it. But even if it weren’t creepy, it still looks nice because of the silhouette. I love a good silhouette.

Colin:

I liked that they stopped on both. There are so many shots on this blog that we only have because Mike was quick with the pause button. I’ll see a shot he managed to get and remember how shit was moving at that particular moment, and think, “How the hell did he get that?” But these were almost too easy. They were like, “Okay, ready? Here’s a great shot for a full two seconds. Enjoy.” Each time.

Yeah, if there’s a great shot in a movie, I will find it. That’s how closely I watch these things.

(That’s also an idea of how much work actually goes into these articles.)

4. This shot

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Because it’s fucking purple.

And it’s a silhouette.

By now, you all should know what we like.

Colin:

Reaction shots are the key to comedy? No, I screwed it up. Never mind.

5. This guy

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Look at this shifty motherfucker.

Colin:

So glad this made it on. This is the shiftiest looking dude in the franchise. So shifty that later on in the films, I feel like we should just have 30 second updates on his whereabouts and what he’s up to. Just in case. “They’re off to the wall to buy time for Frodo and Sam to reach Mt. Doom…and the shifty motherfucker’s creeping behind this tavern. We’ll keep an eye on him.”

That would be awesome if a movie did that. Just randomly updated you on one guy. It’s almost a Monty Python sketch. “Meanwhile, Derrick is walking to the store because he forgot to buy some eggs and his wife yelled at him pretty harshly. Now back to the battle…” “I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!”

6. Rivendell

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Because Rivendell is fucking gorgeous, and I don’t think we need to explain much else.

Colin:

I think I need to live there. Just..with internet. 

I also want to point out — Colin and I both singled out shots of Minas Tirith when we collected our shots, and I felt that they shouldn’t end up on the list for two reasons — we basically singled out the Shire and Rivendell on this list, plus we’re gonna go Minas Tirith crazy in Return of the King (I know we are), so I’m gonna leave these next two here and just mention them.

Colin chose this shot, which is a nice image of Minas Tirith bathed in golden sunlight. I wasn’t too crazy about it because of how much it reminds me of a similar shot (shots, even) of Hogwarts, and I generally dislike repeating myself (or ourselves) in these articles unless it’s too good to pass up or is something that I just have to talk about. But it is a really nice shot.

And then this shot I like because of the three planes going on at once. Gandalf in the foreground, with the blue of the mountain and the green of the grass, and him sitting there on the horse, and Minas Tirith in the midground, with the sunlight coming down on it, and all the white there, and then Mordor in the background, with the fire and lava and darkness. I really like the three planes of coloring (also, red, white and blue) and the three locations. Plus, it’s a really nice image on its own, without the colors and stuff. But, they’ll repeat shots like this a bunch, and we’ll feature them a bunch. So it didn’t feel too necessary just yet.

7. This shot

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We love reflections, and showing full on action happening within a reflection is just double points.

Like that scene in Milk that’s shot entirely through the reflection of a rape whistle. I love that shit.

And here, you have the arguing being reflected in the ring — here’s a shot that works thematically and visually.

Of course we’re gonna love it.

Colin:

Reflections are key. The way they did this, you can see that the ring is actually the source of the argument, and when the reflection erupts into flame, you can see that the ring is turned on by this. That’s good filmmaking. I also thoroughly enjoy the idea of a ring sitting there on a table listening to people bicker and just nutting everywhere in flames.

8. “Stop! In the Name of Gondor!”

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From the front and the back, because this shit looks gorgeous on both ends.

I don’t think we need to explain these shots to anyone. Just look at them. That’s why they’re here.

Colin:

Holy shit. We can’t have stuff like that in the real world. We’d ruin it.

Sometimes we have better subtitles in this article than we do in the actual articles.

9. This moment

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Mostly we had the second shot, but I figured we might as well put both here, because they’re both badass.

Aragorn comes over to Frodo right after Boromir tries to take the ring and Frodo’s all leery of his intentions. And then he walks up, has a crisis of conscience (seemingly) when he sees the ring, and then is like, “I’d have gone with you until the end,” which is a wonderful line. This motherfucker was willing to protect this guy until either he was dead or the job was done. Which is just badass.

And then the uruks show up and he just walks straight out, which only proves his point. This motherfucker is a KING. And here he is, walking straight into 100 uruks like, “Let’s do this.”

That’s a badass moment, when you walk into an insane mismatch and go, “I’m ready, let’s fucking go.”

Colin:

He does, too. He walks out here with authority. And that’s why you know he’s gonna be a badass king, because even in the face of 100 or so uruks, he’s still like, “Aight, who’s first? I got a job to do and you’re it.” This guy doesn’t back down for NOTHING.

Aragorn indeed won’t back down. As a king, he certainly isn’t… Petty.

10. Goddamn, New Zealand

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These are essentially a bunch of shots of New Zealand looking really good. That’s it. Look at them. Fucking beautiful.

Colin:

I’m going. Eventually.

– – – – – – – – – – –

And now, the honorable mentions, which one does not simply walk into.

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Colin:

There are a lot of things one does not simply walk into. Like secret meetings.

– – – – – – – – – –

Honorable Mentions:

  • Gollum

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It’s a nice shot. The beam of light coming down on him (where do these beams come from, anyway?), and him sitting on the rock, stroking his Precious.

Colin:

Brings me back. You’ll see why in the next movie.

  • Proudfeet

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Colin:

Life. Correct. I also love how he says ‘Proudfeet,’ and this is what they cut to. FEET! Tarantino’s feeling tingly somewhere.

I still want to be this guy. Have one line and another random close up and be one of the most memorable parts of the movie.

  • The Eye

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I liked the first shot of the eye by itself, since we all know how I like when things take up the entire frame.

But it’s a pretty generic choice, and I was gonna leave it as an intro shot, since I don’t like going too easy in selecting images for this article.

But then I saw that second one. And, for those who have read a lot of articles on the blog (specifically the Ranking Disney articles) will know just how much I love negative coloring.

Look how fucking cool that eye looks in black and white. That’s fucking badass. So the negative coloring allowed me to put them both on here as a pair.

I will freely admit to this being a selection based purely on my love of Disney and my love of two very specific types of shots, the likes of which I have singled out many times before.

But I don’t care.

I also really love this shot:

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With the eye being shown in a puddle of water with the ripples. These three shots are three Disney-type shots that I love. So there was a very little chance I was gonna allow this article to go through without them making an appearance.

Colin:

Still looks like a Visine commercial to me. I love the shots. But I also remember Visine.

  • The Wraith Encounter

(Sounds like a Robert Ludlum novel)

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First, the reverse tracking shot. Perhaps the most memorable shot in the film for me. That one has always stuck with me, ever since the first time I saw it. Love that.

Second (and fourth), the Wraith getting off the horse and looking around for them. Definitely the tensest moment in the film. That shit still gives me anxiety even now. Huge fan of this entire scene. Because on top of the shot choices (which are astounding), and the great editing to evoke the maximum amount of tension, there’s also the idea that this motherfucker is a MAJOR boss. This is most likely the same dude who is gonna stab Frodo in about twenty minutes, and the dude who is singled out as a major boss in the third movie, rides a badass dragon bird, and proudly proclaims that no man can kill him. So the thought of meeting him here, without any knowledge of who he is, makes the scene even more tense after the fact.

Huge fan of the scene.

Oh, and that third shot of the four — love the shot choice, and I love the rack focus that happens during it. Like I said — amazing direction in this scene.

Colin:

There’s a pretty serious dementor vibe to him after he gets off the horse. And I like that, since they actually did the wraiths better than the dementors were done. This whole sequence was pretty scary. A reverse tracking shot on the road to get you in the mood to be murdered, and then a series of weird shots — like the one through the tree root — that completely change the tone of the movie. It was the like whole film’s genre changed for like 30 seconds. And when the get away, Merry’s frowning. “I thought this movie was going to be lighthearted and fun.”

“A Reverse Tracking Shot to Get You in the Mood to Be Murdered.” That’s what they’re for and that’s exactly what they do.

  • Frodo’s “Stabbed” Face

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This was Colin’s idea. Singling out all the shots where Frodo gets stabbed.

The Natalie Portman’s crying face was my idea, so I couldn’t not oblige.

Plus, the shots are hilarious, so I’m completely on board with them.

Look at this motherfucker getting stabbed so many times.

Colin:

I had to. Elijah Wood getting stabbed is hilarious to me. If you’re somewhere out there, Elijah, know that I don’t wish to stab you — I’d only like to congratulate you on how fantastically hilarious you’d look if I did. The thing is, I think some of these are accurate portrayals of what it’d be like. You open your mouth, exhale, make a noise, and probably wince a bit. Through the films, I’ve noticed that sometimes one of his eyes will close a bit and he’ll show us his tongue.

I think what makes this so hilarious is that it happens A LOT. These are just the stabbed faces in THIS movie. Then we get him doing Hassa Hassa in the next film, and in Return of the King, we get what is probably his best-ever stabbed face, complete with foaming at the mouth. Oh, I can’t wait. Also, Elijah — make more movies where you get stabbed, but don’t die. This franchise was made for us to single out shots of him making the ‘stabbed’ face, since he gets stabbed multiple times and NEVER DIES.

  • This shot

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I said in the articles that this was such a heartbreaking moment. And I figured it would just be me who thought that. I didn’t pull it for this article or anything, figuring Colin wouldn’t bother mentioning it. But then he included it on his list and said it was pretty heartbreaking when he went through looking for shots. So that made me pretty happy. Because it is heartbreaking.

It’s that moment where — the hobbits were only used to get the ring to Rivendell, because Gandalf figured Frodo was small and probably less likely to be seen and captured or whatever, and that was gonna be it. They were here, they did their job, so now it’s time to go back home. We already know that Gandalf likes the fact that hobbits know nothing of the larger world and live a simple existence. So this moment when Frodo jumps in and says he’ll take the ring to Mordor is so painful for Gandalf to hear because this is not something a hobbit should have to do. This isn’t something anyone should have to do. And Ian McKellen’s face perfectly captures that in a single expression.

I really love this shot.

Colin:

That’s exactly it. It’s a young person (and in spite of his age, he seems like a kid) who’s willing to go do some crazy shit and possibly die in the process. It’s different, but I got a bit of the same emotion as in Deathly Hallows Part II, when Harry says he has to go, and Hermione starts crying and says she’ll go with him. Which, that shit was heartbreaking too. 

  • Mountains

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Because wide shots of mountains with people walking on them are really cool.

Colin:

Oh man. I did some climbing in places like this when I interned at a Japanese company in the boonies that did snowshoe tours and backcountry snowboarding and skiing. I’m sure Mt. Tanigawa isn’t as high as wherever this is, but that shit was cool. I’d be super into mountain climbing if it weren’t for all that walking uphill.

  • “I flex fire, motherfucker”

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Colin:

Oh, c’mon. It’s flexing and flames burst out. I love it when things have auras or something to demonstrate their power. Cause if I roar and flex my muscles, I look like an asshole. But if there was FIRE coming out of me as I did it? Yeah. Flames make everything better. Poses. Landscape. Meat. Wigs.

Look. We’re all picturing it.

  • This shot

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Late addition to the list. This is one of those ones I worked onto the list because I like it so much.

Keeping out all the context and such, on a pure visual/aural level, why this shot works is because this motherfucker is literally about to execute this guy from POINT BLANK range. With a bow and arrow, nonetheless, which makes it almost more cold blooded. He’s right fucking there, and the guy already has enough arrows in him to kill him, so here he is, about to do this, and it’s just all sorts of fucked up.

And then Jackson drops all the sound out, so all you hear is him pulling back the bow, and the creaking of the string and wood, and you’re just waiting to hear the thud of the arrow as it launches into Boromir’s chest. And the shot lingers for a good ten seconds or something, which makes the whole thing even better, because you’re just waiting, and waiting for it to happen.

It’s a really great shot.

(Plus it makes Aragorn jumping out of nowhere work even more, just because of how long the shot lingers. So often nowadays, directors will make lots of cuts in between this moment, and will try to create tension through editing. And the person being saved ends up coming off as hacky because you see it coming. But here, it’s the lack of editing that makes it work, because the single take is so uncomfortable, and the anticipation is so built up that when he finally comes and tackles the uruk, it’s a relief. So, here, tension is actually created through a lack of editing, which I think is something filmmakers ought to think about more.)

Colin:

What he said. I mean, let’s be honest — this is COLD-BLOODED!

  • This Badass

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He gets his arm cut off, and gets this giant sword put through his chest. So what does he do? Pulls the sword further into his chest and moves his face right next to Aragorn’s face and screams at him. He ain’t scared of you, motherfucker.

That’s some badass shit right there. How unnerving is that to stab someone and have them stab themselves MORE?

And then he gets his head chopped off too, which is really just a complete badass way to go, warrior-wise.

Colin:

Pretty sure the “Aggghhhhh!” that he yells at Aragorn was Uruk for “I! EAT! THOSE!”

I’m actually pretty shocked we didn’t end up with the “Y’all are surrounded” shot, especially since this is the franchise we used to explain the “y’all are surrounded” shot.

Anyway, that’s our shots list.

Time to go back and continue what we do for the rest of the day.

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– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is final thoughts, and Monday we start Two Towers.

(See the rest of the Fun with Franchises articles here.)

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