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Fun with Franchises: The Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers (2002), Part II — “’I Will Draw You, Saruman, Like One of My French Girls'”

Today we continue with another entry in our Fun with Franchises series, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. 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 Two Towers:

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - Title Card

I only now just realized this movie came out after 9/11.

We begin Part II back with Sam and Frodo and Gollum:

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Colin:

Oh. I forgot that Frodo and Sam were in this movie. Shit.

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Gollum led them out.

Of where?

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Eww.

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Is it weird that I’m more grossed out by their feet than this oatmeal?

Colin:

Look in front of you, idiot. It’s obviously a bog for as far as the eye can see. You had to step in it before you noticed? In fact, once they cut to a wide shot, you can see that they’re already sort of IN the swamp by the time Sam notices.

Reminds me of that great sight gag in The Naked Gun, where Leslie Nielson goes out at night to think, and they show a close-up of his feet as he walks along the sidewalk, with the noir voiceover going the whole time. And then all of a sudden the sidewalk just ends suddenly and the ground is all forest-y and it sounds like he’s in the middle of the woods out of nowhere.

Love that movie.

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The Dead Marshes.

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This is a really cool place to go walking.

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“Orcs don’t use it. Orcs don’t know it. They go round, for miles and miles.”

Which is pretty cool. The shortcut no one would think to take.

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Colin:

He found the way through the marshes. But that was from the other side, and it was some time ago after he was tortured. Maybe he just has the best sense of direction in the [middle] world.

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Colin:

So already, this place is freaking me out. All it takes is a submerged corpse to turn me off of most places.

Subtitle.

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Apparently this is where one of those final battles took place right before Isildur cut the ring. All the corpses are still in the mahsh.

Colin:

All these men and elves and orcses (I love that Gollum throws ‘es’ on most plural wordses) fought a long time ago, and they’re still there in the water not really decomposing? Remember the guy that washes up in Cast Away? That was after like no time, and it looked awful. Just saying. That’s a good-looking drowned corpse.

Also subtitle.

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“The Dead Marshes. Yes, that is their name.”

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“I want that purple stuff.”

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“Come quickly. But don’t follow the lights.”

Colin:

I also don’t understand the lights. It’s as though they want you to fall in, as if they’re going to feed on you or whatever. Is that what it’s about? Is it now their job to kill people walking by?

I thought that was just good philosophy for living life. “Don’t follow the lights.” They get into some shady shit and steal your land.

Fuck the palefaces.

(Can I get a shirt that says that? With a Native American giving the finger?)

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“Careful, now. Or hobbits go down to join the dead ones, and light little candles of their own.”

Nice that he’s showing some concern over Sam’s well-being.

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You fucking idiot. He JUST told you not to do that.

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Saudi A-lake-ia.

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Colin:

This is like the cave of evil part in The Empire Strikes Back in that I don’t really get what’s going on other than some weird, supernatural shit. Is this drowned corpse supposed to look like Elijah Wood? Is that why he walked over there? Is the corpse aware of him? Is that why its eyes opened like that? Which, by the way, that’s some freaky shit. And does that then hypnotize Frodo? Cause he just falls right in, and in my experience, I don’t fall forward unless I REALLY want to or I’ve had tequila.

I Don’t Fall Forward Unless I Really Want To or I’ve Had Tequila

But, that corpse looks more like Al Jolson than Elijah Wood.

My interpretation of this has always been — Frodo is hallucinating. Or rather, he’s sort of out of it because of the ring, and he just imagines the corpse opening its eyes, and he just sort of zones out. I can’t really make too much sense of it, except to think — isn’t this another situation where, if he dies, the ring ends up buried for another thousand years? Since now it’s in the dead marshes. Ain’t no one gonna come here looking for it. Even orcs don’t fucking use this place. So who’s gonna happen upon the ring here? Especially with whatever the fuck is down there in that water.

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I guess now would be a good time to get into it.

This, dear readers, is the place where the famous “Doo Doo Cloud” story took place.

I guess I should let Colin tell it, since, after all, it’s because of him that it exist.

But his notes also said that I should tell it. So I guess I’m telling it. And he can comment on it.

What had happened was, my junior year, on a random Sunday afternoon in November (because I remember the exact day. The only reason being it was football Sunday, and I kept leaving to talk to my father about the games. It was the day the Steelers beat the Chargers 11-10 and Polamalu had that crazy interception on the last play of the game. Only sports people will know exactly what I’m talking about. Everyone else, disregard), Colin, Shiho and I decided to just watch all three Rings movies in a day. Because we didn’t have shit to do, and it’s not like we were gonna do work.

Us doing work in college was like when Slughorn told Tom Riddle to “look sharp,” because he didn’t want to be caught out of bed after hours. That head tilt he gives? That’s us and work (and going to class). Formalities.

So we decided to watch the movies, and we started early. It’s a 9 hour thing. So I imagine we started after brunch, at like… 12 or 1. (Either that or we just picked up lunch after we started.) And we went through til like 9. I’m sure we brought dinner back and ate it in my room, as you do. But anyway, midway through, we were at this movie and this part, and we’d seen the movies a bunch of times, so it’s not like we were watching watching. We all had our computers and were doing other shit, or playing Pokémon, you know.

So we’re basically sitting there, cracking jokes and doing what would essentially become these articles. Calling out shots, lines, logic flaws, or getting into discussions like, “Do you think it would be better to get your dick sucked by a female hobbit or a female dwarf?” It’s literally just these articles, only out loud.

So anyway, we’re watching this part, and Frodo falls in the mahsh, and this shot happens. And Colin just says something to the effect of, “Oh, shit! I don’t fuck with those things. That thing shows up while I’m underwater, you’re gonna see a giant doo doo cloud floating behind me.”

And for some reason, the phrase “doo doo cloud” made Shiho and I immediately break out laughing. Like, hard. I guess it was the inherent humor of the phrase “doo doo cloud,” plus the instantaneous image of a giant shit cloud just appearing in the water that did it. But we just lost it. And I imagine Colin was sitting there, going, “No, but I’m actually being serious.”

But that was so funny to us. And you could tell it was really funny to us, because I remember the rest of the day, during the movies, whenever doo doo cloud was brought up, we started laughing again.

And that just became a touchstone story for us.

I like that a lot of our stories can be indexed by single phrases. “Doo doo cloud.” “Crinkle crinkle.” (Which is also happening in this movie!) “Bye, bitch.”

But yeah, that is the doo doo cloud story. It’s probably not as funny to absolutely anyone else, but goddamnit, that shit was hilarious, and now we’ve told it. So from now on, when we say the words “doo doo cloud,” that’s what we’re referring to.

Pretty much our entire friendship is based on consolidating things into smaller references.

“This is why you have people.”

“And a bucket.”

“Ahhhhhh.”

“One less thing.”

All of these you have probably seen quite a few times so far in the articles.

All of these are complete shorthand for other things.

We’re the kind of people who will alienate someone who isn’t ready for us within five minutes of sitting down at the table. It’s awesome.

Colin:

I was totally serious, though. This would literally scare the shit out of me. But yeah — even if this wasn’t funny to you, it’s a good thing that you get our jargon. Cause we say these things, and they have meaning. Shorthand that comes from years of throwing references back and forth like very few people can. I’m so attuned to references now, from hanging out with these people, that even when I haven’t seen what it’s from, I can usually tell what a reference is and how to respond appropriately. It’s a sad but awesome skill.

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This is the image I remember burning into my brain while we were laughing, because I was picturing a doo  doo cloud appearing behind it.

So this may be the exact frame just as/after Colin said it.

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Ghost photobomb, for the win.

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Colin:

Imagine Baywatch, but with Gollum instead of Hasselhoff.

♫ “Some people stand in the darkness…” ♫

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“Don’t follow the lights.”

Otherwise it’s… lights out.

Colin:

It’s pretty good that they threw this in, cause it makes Gollum a little more complex. You know he’s a devious little bastard, but when Frodo’s in real trouble, he’s going to try to save him EVERY TIME because of the ring. That’s made explicit in a little while, but this was a nice touch.

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Sleeping outside of Mordor must be like being at Verdun. Just hearing rolling thunder across the sky all night.

This is kind of like No Man’s Land, too.

Good thing this isn’t World War I, otherwise Sam and Frodo would be… Ver-done for.

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Stroking the Precious before bed.

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We can all relate.

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Maybe he’s pretending it’s a clitoris?

Colin:

I don’t even want to say what he’s stroking that like.

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“So right. So beautiful. Our Precious.”

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“What did you say?”

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“Master should be resting. Master needs to keep up his strength.”

Colin:

“Massuh this, massuh that.”

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“Who are you?”

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“Mustn’t ask us, not its business.”

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Gandalf told him all about Gollum. He was no different from a hobbit once.

Colin:

He WAS a hobbit once.

“Smeagol.”

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“What did you call me?”

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That was his name once.

Lotta people realizing what their names used to be in this movie.

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But uh oh.

I guess having this conversation was an ability Frodo couldn’t… shoulder.

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He looks like Danny in The Shining. When they randomly cut to him when the twins show up.

Colin:

He looks like me when the twins show up. That part freaks the shit out of me. Most of that movie freaks the shit out of me.

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This is actually an acid flashback, though.

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“Wraiths! Wraiths on wings!”

That’s awesome. That’s like Middle Earth’s version of Bananas in Pajamas.

Shouldn’t Sam know by now this is going to happen?

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Colin:

Yeah, Gollum. Scream while the bad guys go by within earshot.

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“Sup baby, whatchu doin’ tonight?”

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Colin:

I want one of THOSE things.

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“You think maybe three eight balls was too much?”

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“Mmm… black tar. My favorite.”

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Driver’s license photo.

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Jesus, Sam.

Colin:

Once again, Sam gets Frodo to stop touching his dick.

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“There’s not enough room in this closet for the two of us.”

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So, I don’t get it. The ring is calling to him, right? So he has a sense that the ring is near, and goes flying around over this place. And his will, or whatever it is, his connection to the ring — that’s what makes Frodo want to put it on. And once he puts it on, that’s when they know where it is. So the guy flies around, and if Frodo doesn’t put the ring on, the guy is just gonna go, “Oh, well, I guess it was a false alarm”?

This is like video games. “What’s that noise?” You stay still in the darkness for five seconds while the guy stands twelve inches away from you. “Oh, well, I guess it was nothing.”

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And then we cut to Gimli licking a plant.

“Orc blood.”

Colin:

Some people are just into tasting random fluids they find in the forest. This reminds me of Raiders of the Lost Ark at the beginning, when Alfred Molina tastes the blow dart, spits and randomly knows that the poison is three days old. Did he have a poison-tasting class where they learned the taste of various ages of poison darts used by this random group of natives? Did Gimli have a class where they made him drink orc blood by the pint and told him to remember it?

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Colin:

“These are STRANGE tracks.”

That’s basically this franchise’s “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

See, to me, it sounded a lot more like, “This isn’t where I parked my car!” Not like, “This is something we shouldn’t be fucking with,” and more, “What’s a red-headed Korean doing in Biloxi?”

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“This forest is old.”

Can we all stand up and applaud that sentence? That was brilliant.

Colin:

What the hell are you saying, Legolas? So the forest is old, very old, and full of memory and anger. So’s my left nut.

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The trees are speaking to one another.

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“Gimli, put down your axe.”

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I love that. “I didn’t do it!” This is the correct po-po pose.

Colin:

First of all, what’s gonna happen if Gimli keeps his axe up? Second of all, why does Legolas decide to speak to Aragorn in Elvish now?

I think he’s speaking to him in Elvish under the assumption that the trees don’t speak it. It’s one of those interesting movie conventions where, since everyone is speaking English, it’s assumed that most people speak English. (When in fact, the trees do speak English.) But another language, it’s one of those things where you just sort of go along with the fact that only they can be understood, because they’re treating it as such.

Honestly, it’s one of those things I do generally go along with. It’s like the idea of the cut. When they cut from one scene to another, you automatically go along with the idea of a time lapse unconsciously.

And as for the axe thing, I think the idea is to soothe the trees. Like, “Hey, this implement of destruction can chop you down. So we’re gonna put it down to show we’re not a threat.”

But it’s not the sword or the bow that gets put down, it’s just the f-axe.

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Something’s up, though.

“The White Wizard approaches.”

Colin:

I also don’t get how Legolas knows who or what is coming without seeing him. And if you see him, shouldn’t you recognize him?

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“Do not let him speak. He will put a spell on us.”

This line always made me laugh. It’s like a bunch of eight year olds playing or something. Who says that?

Colin:

THE FLOOR IS LAVA

At least we’re not dealing with xenomorphs, because then the floor would be… larva.

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He’s just like a little boy, playing with his dick when he’s nervous.

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“When you got that glow…”

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“GET THAT SHIT OUT MY FACE!”

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The sword is lava.

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Colin:

Notice that Gandalf blocks a thrown axe, an arrow from almost point blank range, and manages to heat up Aragorn’s sword so that he can’t even hold it. Why do we never see this shit from him later, like when he’s fighting orcs?

Because here, it’s entirely defensive. There, he cuts bitches.

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“You are tracking the footsteps of two young hobbits.”

This is what Fed Ex and UPS should do when you look up the status of your packages.

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“They passed this way, the day before yesterday.”

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“They met someone they did not expect. Does that comfort you?”

Colin:

They obscure his face AND his voice (although Ian’s dulcet tones and nose shine through), which really just means that Gandalf has a flair for the theatrical. Otherwise, he’d quit messing with them and just show himself.

Really, though. What a bizarre thing to say. “You’re looking for these people. They were here bout two days ago. They ran into someone they didn’t think they’d see. Feel better now?” No, motherfucker.

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“Who are you?”

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“Show yourself!”

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Re-veal!

But still, everyone involved handled this so poorly.

“Who are you?” What the fuck is that? Why not just say “show yourself”?

But I guess now that he did show himself, they won’t get fooled again.

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Colin:

You gotta have something to hold in your hand for sexy reveals. Like a white staff, or a purple lightsaber. How great would it have been if Gandalf had a purple lightsaber?

Are we referring to his dick when we say that? I can’t tell.

Now, my question about this moment is – what’s with all the theatrics? Why not just roll up like, “Hey guys, it’s me, I’m not dead. Those two are fine. I sent them off with the tree yesterday”? It seems like he was deliberately being an asshole to them with that entrance.

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What the fuck are you bowing for?

(Gandalf likes young men in that position.)

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See?

Colin:

They kneel. He smiles. We like it when they kneel.

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“You fell!”

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“Yes, motherfucer, I know. I was there.”

Colin:

“You fell!” “Really, motherfucker? I’d forgotten.”

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“From the lowest dungeon, to the highest peak, I fought the Balrog of Morgoth.”

Colin:

That’s the craziest thing about this whole story. It’s from the place they landed in the water, way down in the roots of the mountain, all the way up to the top of the highest peak, where they finish the fight. They were fighting that whole way! How is that possible?! It would take days – weeks – just to climb that distance! And they did it while FIGHTING the whole time? This is actually one of the moments that stands out most for me in the whole franchise, because I’ve always imagined a two-week long scene of Gandalf fighting the balrog like Peter fights the giant chicken in Family Guy. Which I want. For them to make that.

I actually read the story of what happened on the Wikipedia, so I could answer a question I’m gonna ask in a second. It’s actually a pretty cool story, of how that fight went.

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This would be a pretty cool cake topper. Gandalf fighting the Balrog.

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Only like three people will get this, but fuck it, here it goes:

Der Golem.

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Isn’t this place technically Weathertop?

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UNLIMITED POWER!

Colin:

Also, charge your sword with lightning. If you don’t charge your sword with lightning, you a busta. Oh, but I guess that’d make IT a…busta sword.

Look at that fucking hair, though. That’s Billy Connolly hair.

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So… Psychic with an Electric move, versus Fire and Dark?

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He stabbed it in the chest with a lightning-charged sword.

Colin:

Just like Lana Turner.

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“Until at last I threw down my enemy and smote his ruins upon the mountainside.”

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Colin:

Nice touch, how the flame goes out while he’s in the air.

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Smote.

Colin:

I wanna smite someone’s ruin upon a mountainside.

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It’s always funny to me when a corpse is just sitting there. Like General Grievous.

Especially here. Because this is Middle Earth. No one’s gonna come pick this up.

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“Darkness took me.”

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“And I strayed, out of thought and time.”

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I think Gandalf has a powder problem.

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He’s trippin’ off acid.

Colin:

Aw, is this turning into a planetarium show? Cause if you want to get on my good side, take me to a planetarium. I remember going to the Charles Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Science in Boston, and it was narrated by Tom Hanks. I mean, c’mon. That’s the best day you’re ever gonna have.

You have no idea how bad I want to go to a planetarium. I haven’t gone since like, the fourth grade, and I’ve been dying to go back since. The aquarium is a close second.

Anybody reading this in the Los Angeles area, come to the planetarium and aquarium with me.

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“Stars wheeled overhead and every day was as long as a life-age of the earth.”

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“But it was not the end.”

(Train station?)

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“I felt life in me again.”

(But not clothes, apparently.)

Colin:

Damn, what hole did they stick it in?

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“I’d been sent back. Until my task is done.”

I was never too sure about this part in the movies. It always seemed like, “So wait, was that fight happening in some sort of purgatory? Did Gandalf die? Was he sent back, High Plains Drifter style? Since it always felt like, to me, Gandalf lost his playfulness after he became a White wizard. So I always thought that it wasn’t really him and that the real Gandalf was dead and that this was just a Starman version of him, here just to do some Swayze business.

Coli:

I don’t think he lost his playfulness as much as — shit is way realer than it was in the first movie. He’s kept a lot busier in these two than he was for the first one. 

But apparently what actually happens is that after Gandalf and the Balrog fall into the water, they kept fighting, and then the Balrog ran away into the tunnels and shit of Moria (like a boss battle, where the person runs away and you have to chase them until the next battle point), and then apparently they ended up on a giant staircase that led to that tower, which was at the top of one of the Misty Mountains. And then they fought for like a week or something, and then Gandalf won, at which point he passed out and went into a coma for two weeks. Then the eagles found him, brought him to Galadriel, and they gave him white clothes, which I guess is all you need to become a white wizard.

Colin:

It’s a damned shame they took away The Hobknoblin.

RIP the Hobknoblin

I bet they did it out of… smite.

They don’t do a good job of explaining this at all, though, because until I looked it up, I really just figured Gandalf had died. Because…

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“Gandalf?”

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“That was what they used to call me.”

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“Gandalf the Grey.”

(He says it like it’s something naughty.)

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“That was my name.”

Colin:

That sort of explains why he didn’t just reveal himself, I guess. He didn’t even remember his own name? But then, why did he know Merry and Pippin? Why does he know these three? He remembers Theoden and all the other names, like Mithrandir and stuff. Is the name “Gandalf” the ONLY thing he forgot?

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“I am Gandalf the White.”

I think he’s starting to go senile. Somebody take him behind an Ent and perform the necessaries.

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Look at that fucking face. He’s the person who’ll smile and nod at anything.

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“And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.”

See what I mean when I say I thought he was dead? This doesn’t seem like Gandalf at all.

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They have to ride to Edoras.

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Please, guys, not too fast now.

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That’s the call for his bitches.

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Also, shout out to everyone who can hear both whistles in their head when they look at both of those screenshots.

Colin:

Dude can whistle. You should hear him do Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 478

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 479

Shadowfax.

Colin:

Was Shadowfax just chilling in the area? Cause if not, this is some Knight Bus bullshit (fuck that thing, by the way) where he whistles and the horse just appears regardless of where it had been when it was summoned. Which then makes it questionable why he’d have to ride the horse for days to get places instead of teleporting. But if the horse was just chilling in the area, the elaborate whistle then seems unnecessary.

You should be able to do this with Pokémon.

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That’s Gandalf’s white Bronco.

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“That is one of the Mearas.”

Seriously… that’s his only job. That and shooting bitches.

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The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 483

I love how Shadowfax is clearly being told what to do by a horse trainer, because there’s no way you take that crooked a path if you’re him. He clearly is told, “No, no, that way,” and alters course to come over to Gandalf. It’s like when they have infant children on screen, and you can clearly see them looking off-camera to where their parents are.

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Shadowfax is the lord of all horses.

Colin:

Shadowfax is a fucking BAMF though. He’s a Mearas, which makes him horse royalty. He started out in Rohan, and they couldn’t tame him. Gandalf basically scammed them, wound up with Shadowfax, tamed him in a second and then bombed around Middle Earth on him constantly. He’s the fastest, the bravest, the smartest and the stealthiest horse in the world. Supposedly, at night, his coat is nearly invisible.

One thing I really liked in the books was how Gandalf got to chill with Shadowfax.

Gandalf was chilling in Rohan at some point during the events of Fellowship, and Theoden was like, “Go take any horse you want and be gone.” And Gandalf was like, “Well fuck it, I’m taking the best horse of all. Cause I’m a G.” And Shadowfax was this completely wild colt who would not be tamed, and was supposed to be Theoden’s personal horse. But he wouldn’t let anyone ride him And Gandalf just walked up to him and was like, “You a G, I’m a G, we’re cool,” and Shadowfax let him ride him. So Gandalf left on Sahdowfax, and Theoden was like, “That motherFUCKER…”

So now Gandalf and Shadowfax are homies, and Gandalf can just call him anywhere and he’ll show up (kind of like this).

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“He’s been my friend through many dangers.”

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Colin:

Okay, New Zealand. You look good.

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Treebeard told Gandalf he would keep them safe.

Colin:

That’s…you speak weird English. ‘Safe’ doesn’t take a prepos—never mind. I’m picking a grammar fight with a tree.

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That’s it. That’s basically the point of the scene.

Colin:

What? That was like a Star Wars prequel scene. Why was it so short? It was just to establish that Merry and Pippin are with Treebeard and that they’re okay? That was it?

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They’ve reached Mordor.

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The Black Gate of Mordor.

Colin:

Slaughtergate.

That was pretty quick. Gollum is a regular… Mor-Dora the Explorer.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 493

You didn’t think this one through, did you?

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The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 495

I’m going to preface this by saying – this is not a joke.

One of my favorite games that I’ve ever played is this game for PS2 called Mercenaries. It’s incredible. Basically the gist is, you’re a mercenary, and you’re dropped into the DMZ in Korea. And you’re there to catch all the people on the playing card deck of the 52 most wanted. And the Ace of Spades is essentially Kim Jong-il. For all intents and purposes. And you start from the bottom, gathering intel on each one. And the way you do that is by doing missions for each of the factions that are working in the area – the U.S., the Russians, the South Koreans and the Chinese. And you do Grand Theft Auto missions for each of them, basically. And a lot of the time, working for one has you stealing shit or killing some of the other factions. So you have to make sure at all times you don’t piss off one faction too much, otherwise they’ll start shooting at you.

Anyway, in the game, the North Koreans actually have a place called The Black Gate, and, I shit you not – it looks exactly like Mordor. There’s a reason I picture North Korea looking that way all the time.

Colin:

That game sounds great. There are rumors of a sequel (the third or fourth game in the series, I guess) that’s been in development for a super long time because the studio went out of business and got picked up by some other company. But who knows, it could be out on PS4 or something. Which I’m gonna buy the shit out of.

No joke, it might be the best replay value of a game I’ve ever had. Including Grand Theft Auto. That game takes so long to beat, and there’s so many things to do at any given time. Definitely one of my five favorite games I’ve ever played, alongside Final Fantasy VII and Grand Theft Auto in general.

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Do you think they clock in and out for hours, or how does that work?

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Which one of them is Scarecrow?

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“Oh-ee-oh Eee-oh-whoa!”

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Don’t they look like the bad guys from Mulan?

Colin:

These guys are clearly going off to fight the Spartans.

Somehow Faramir is involved in both cases.

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Everyone has a horn.

Though this looks like he’s taking a big drink out of a flask.

Also, does Mordor have a windmill?

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Is that thing pushing with its teeth?

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So, I have to ask – did Sauron just have these people all along? It seems like there’s been peace for a couple hundred years. Did they just, at no point, make sure he was gone? Did no one come to check up on Mordor? When the war was over, did they just leave this dark, desolate land, from whence all evil has come, alone? Wouldn’t you come in and build condos or something? Clean the place up? How could you just leave it alone and let him come back and build armies and shit?

Colin:

Good question. It does seem like they left the place to its own devices. I know that they did clear it out for awhile. Barad-dur was all broken and stuff. But again, that’s like 3000 years ago. So that’d be like if Troy suddenly resurfaced as a dangerous power and we were like, “Shit, we should have been keeping an eye on them!” They supposedly managed the area for a little while, and then left because after a century or so, you’ve kinda had it.

Yeah, but the population difference… pretty sure people would notice here. Like, “Hey, did you see the new guy moving into Mordor?”

And then there’s all fire and shit, and a giant eye goes up.

Dead giveaway.

Over the course of 3,000 years, you’d think someone would notice? How do you leave all that land alone for so long? But I guess that’s what Middle Earth is. Feudalism.

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Colin:

That’s their job. To be disgusting trolls and wait to open the gate. Wow. Doesn’t get much more short bus than that.

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Try leaving a flaming bag of shit on their doorstep…

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Look at Gollum, freaking out over what’s gonna happen to the Precious.

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Colin:

Hah. If I had a nickel for every time a stone outcrop gave way under the weight of a midget…I’d have just enough money to open my own hotel in Bratislava.

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You know it’s coming.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 508

Yes, run down an incline that steep. That’ll end well.

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These things look human. What’s that about?

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Wouldn’t they see him doing this? I don’t understand.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 514

How the fuck does he get buried that high?

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Remember to spit in your hand first.

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Those are some cool cloaks.

But seriously… how did they not see him sliding down the side of the cliff?

Colin:

Again with the spatial relationships. These two soldiers notice something weird, and then Frodo slides down the mountain as they’re looking at it. They keep looking straight ahead as they walk straight towards the hobbits, who are struggling like crazy. The cloak goes over them at the last second, only moments before the soldiers would have STEPPED on them. Not only that, but it turns out when they do one of their cuts that the ranks that are passing by are only like twenty feet away from this. They ALL should have seen Frodo showing up and trying to yank Sam out of the ground. In fact, this is so blatantly wrong, it’s taken me out of the movie every single time I’ve watched it.

Peter Jackson seems to have a problem with spatial relations.

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The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 523

“Ehh.”

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Colin:

Also, how perfectly wrinkled is that cloak when they cut to it from the outside? And that lasts as long as the shot, cause then once Frodo stands up, it looks like someone just ironed it.

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Wouldn’t you wait a minute or two before you did that?

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The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 528

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They’re gonna make a run for it…

They’ve got a… Sau-rendezvous, to keep.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 530

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 531

No!

Good job, Gollum, you just added like, four hours of movie.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 532

He looks like he’s giving them a pep talk in the huddle or something.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 533

“He wants the Precious.”

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“But we mustn’t let him have it.”

So basically this motherfucker just said, “I can’t allow you to do what I’m taking you to do.”

Shouldn’t you kill him right here and go find another way around? That gate doesn’t extend all the way around this place.

Colin:

This is a pretty good moment cause Gollum’s cards are totally on the table. No matter what his sneakier motives might be, he begs Frodo not to go into Mordor through the Black Gate because he knows they’ll be caught and the ring will be lost. He’s willing to stay quiet about most things and feign ignorance or innocence, but in this instance, he has to make himself heard. Desperation.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 535

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 536

There’s another way.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 537

“There’s a path…. And some stairs… and a tunnel.” He sounds like someone who’s making shit up as they go along.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 538

Colin:

It’s always creepy when someone fondles someone else’s shoulder like that. He’s caressing it. Didn’t Peter Pettigrew do that to Ron? It’s just gross.

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I like his body movements… just like, “Don’t do this.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 540

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 541

What is up with his head?

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 542

“Lead the way, Smeagol.”

Colin:

Well, fuck you then. Don’t take my advice. See what happens. Count your fingers when this shit is done.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 543

Colin:

That looks like the landfill outside Hartford. No, no, not East Hartford.

What’chu know bout some landfills?

Colin:

Aw. Do you guys know where Mike lived? I don’t say, “where Mike is from,” because he moved there when he was 8 or so. But he did live there, and he loved it. It was the answer to a NY Times Crossword Puzzle clue in like 2008, so now we refer to it as “10-down” because he doesn’t like to utter its name.

It is my Voldemort.

But not out of fear, but out of my desire to not give it the satisfaction.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 544

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 545

Edoras.

I think this is my favorite capital of all the major places in Middle Earth. Because it’s just that. And just, land, all around it. Plus they have Helm’s Deep – big fan of Rohan.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 546

“Edoras, and the golden hall of Meduseld. There lives Theoden, king of Rohan.”

Wouldn’t you think they’d know this?

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 547

Awesome. He has a giant horse head on the wall.

He’s kind of like a Pokémon gym leader. He specializes in a type. I also like – you need a horse, you come to Theoden. He’s just like, “Haldir… booby… I’m your white knight!”

Colin:

I just realized this is the exact angle and shot from before, when we first met Theoden. They did those two shots back to back and never even moved the camera. 

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 548

Eww… Palpatine hands.

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His son is dead.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 550

Reaction shots are the key to comedy.

Colin:

How does he shit?

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 551

He looks like Leo right before she let him go.

Colin:

I love Blood Diamond.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 552

I love this room. The animal skins all around the bed so you don’t have to step on the cold stone, the thing to hold up his armor, the bottle of booze on the table.

But, too bad. He’s dead. Eowyn was… Theo-dreading this.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 553

Wormtongue.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 554

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 555

He says that Theodred must have died “some time in the night.”

Colin:

Thanks for giving me a vague guesstimate about when he died, you fuck.

You think he’s gonna use some… Ro-hypnol, on her?

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 556

I love a scene that takes place when there’s a corpse in the room.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 557

Colin:

By the way – if there’s ever a character in a society based on Norse traditions and imagery whose skin and eyes are pale and whose hair is very dark – they’re evil. That’s just a fact. Lord of the Rings moves that the motion be carried. Thor seconds the motion.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 558

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The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1804

They don’t call him Wormtongue for nothing.

Colin:

I can’t believe she lets him get THIS far. Middle Earth chicks must really get off on words, cause I could do better than that. “Yeah, baby, you like horses?! I got a gallop pole right here for ya!”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 559

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 560

Colin:

I love that they did this revolving shot around Otto as Wormtongue speaks his piece. And then when he’s finished with the first part, his eyes dart back and forth, like, “Did it work? Is it working?”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1805

“Your words are poison!”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1806

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Colin:

She just busts out the front door to look at nothing in particular.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 563

♫ “Somewhere out there…” ♫

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 564

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1809

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1810

Flag go flyin’.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1811

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1812

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1813

Colin:

I always imagine myself in a setting like this, and if that flag ripped off like that, I’d have been yelling at someone to run and pick it up cause otherwise it’d blow away and that shit took Betsy Hoss like 8 days to embroider.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1814

Colin:

There’s also a GREAT slo-mo on Aragorn, here. “Oh, damn. Did that shit fall out the sky? What?”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1815

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1816

“That’s… littering.”

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God, I love this set. I would totally live here.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 568

Colin:

This place is like…Monty Python medieval.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 569

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 570

And cue the Rohan leitmotif.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 571

I like how no one is questioning the white hair over the gray robes.

How exactly did his hair go white?

He might not have been killed, but he certainly… dyed.

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This place is a real fire hazard.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 573

It would be awesome if those were the same two who played the frowning hobbits in the last movie.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 574

They won’t let them in while they’re so armed.

Colin:

Galdalf Greyham? They all need their own name for him, don’t they?

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 575

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 576

And now they spend a good twenty seconds taking off a shit ton of weapons.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 577

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 578

“Your staff.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 579

“You would not part an old man from his walking stick.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 580

Reaction shots.

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The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 582

*Wink*

Colin:

The look this guard gives Gandalf after the ‘walking stick’ excuse is hilarious. I have no idea how to explain it. The closest I can describe it is Kathleen Freeman making a ‘gimme a break’ face.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 583

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 584

That’s pretty stupid of them. If you were any good at your job, you’d go, “We’ll get you another one.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 585

And if I were Wormtongue, the minute I saw that staff, I’d be like, “Get the fuck out of here right now.”

Everybody’s fucking up in this place.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 586

“My lord, Gandalf the Gray is coming.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 587

This is why these three are great warriors. Always on point. Check that six.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 588

The courtesy of your hall is somewhat lessoned of late, Theoden, king.”

Colin:

In the shots from ahead of them, the staff is held parallel to the floor, with most of it behind him. In the shot from behind them, he’s holding it upright and using it to walk. Continuity errors!

I noticed that too. They’re clearly trying to make it so that Wormtongue doesn’t notice the staff until it’s too late, but on the other hand, he clearly fucking has it in the shots from behind the back.

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“He’s not welcome.”

What a great line. I don’t know why that’s necessary to say, but it’s so amusing.

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Is that a giant horse hookah in the room?

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 591

“Why should I welcome you, Gandalf Stormcrow?”

Was that a racial remark? I wanna feel like that was racist.

Colin:

Gandalf Stormcrow? This is like Dana Carvey as John McLaughlin on SNL. Just a different name every time someone is mentioned.

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“Late is the hour in which this conjurer chooses to appear. Lathspell I name him. Ill news is ill guest.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 593

“Man, shut the fuck up before I stick my staff so far up your ass we can raise you like a flag.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 594

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 595

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Well that worked out nicely.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 597

Look at Gimli going to tackle that motherfucker.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 598

This is great. Everyone’s fighting around him and he’s like, “Theoden, buddy… let’s go get some bitches and cocaine. Like that time down in Mexico.”

Colin:

It’s pretty great how they just handle all the bad guys.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 599

He remembers that time in Mexico.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 600

Rafiki.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 601

Gimli just knocks that guy the FUCK OUT.

Colin:

That’s a drop kick. Yes.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1817

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1818

 

“I’d stay down if I were you.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1819

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1820

Eowyn goes to run up and Aragorn pulls her back.

Colin:

What’s she really gonna do?

Faramir?

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1821

“Bitch, what are you doing? Can’t you see the man is working?”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1822

“Watch this shit first.”

 

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 602

 

“I release you from this spell.”

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Well this is awkward.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 605

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 606

“HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!”

Colin:

And what is basically a Jabba the Hutt laugh.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 603

“You have no power here, Gandalf the Gray.”

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OH SHIT NIGGA ITS GANDALF THE WHITE!

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 611

“Yeah, marvel at the color of my robes and the size of this behemoth stick.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 612

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 613

“I will draw you, Saruman, as poison is drawn from a wound.”

Colin:

“I will draw you, Saruman, like one of my French girls.”

Oh, holy shit, I think that has to be the subtitle. That’s incredible.

Colin:

I love Blood Diamond.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 614

“If I go, Theoden dies.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 615

“You did not kill me, you will not kill him.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 616

Driver’s license photo.

Colin:

Driver’s license photo.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 617

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 618

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1830

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 619

I LOVE THESE TWO SHOTS

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 620

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The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1831

Colin:

I think it’s just the angle of it, but it looks like Christopher Lee has a big staff mark across his forehead. Which would be awesome.

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The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 625

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 626

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Weird how you can just de-age like that.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 628

“I know your face.”

Another one.

Someone get the lime and the shovels…

Colin:

Oh no! Herr Mozart!

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 629

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 630

“Eowyn.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 631

“Gandalf? What the fuck are you doing here? … this isn’t Mexico, is it?”

Colin:

Oh. Takes him about five seconds to remember his niece’s name, but he recognizes Gandalf in a second. That’s gotta sting.

It probably does sting. And I bet because of it, Eowyn’s gonna… turn on the red light.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 632

Colin:

How did he get all crippled up in the first place? Was there like a poisoned doughnut he had to eat first to get the ball rolling?

Somebody poisoned his drink.

The effects we… im-mead-iate.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 633

“Your fingers would remember your strength better if they grasped your sword.”

AKA, “Go ahead… put your hands around that sword… stroke it a lil bit…”

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Colin:

Sword grasper.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 637

Colin:

Hah. His sword’s hilt is basically two horses making a heart shape. Just a little gay.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1832

“That’s it. You grab that sword.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 638

Colin:

I like how he examines the sword like he’s never seen a sword before. This is how old people behave. “Okay, so apparently, this is my sword. I don’t know what this business down here is, but….that’s the blade. And up there…that’ll be the tip. Okay, now that we’ve covered the basics…” And you’re like, “No, Grandpa, DOUBLE click!”

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Colin:

This is basically – Wormtongue drew a dick on Theoden’s face while he was asleep, and Gandalf just woke him up with a mirror.

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Right, though?

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I’d like to give a shout out to Brad Dourif in this scene… motherfucker crawls backwards down steps really well.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 647

Colin:

All the townsfolk gather, cause who would pass up a public execution carried out on the palace steps by the king you all thought was a vegetable?

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“Nah, chill son, you on probation.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 649

“Enough blood has been spilled on his account.”

I hope my bank never says those words, because… what?

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1833

“But I wanna kill him!”

Colin:

Why? Why are you stopping him, Aragorn? Gandalf gives the whole pity speech about Gollum cause Gollum might be useful in the future. Wormtongue does nothing in the future except terrorize the Shire with a demoted Saruman, so you may as well end him here. “Enough blood has been spilled on his account?” The body count this franchise racks up, and you’re telling me you’re sparing a dangerous SPY because you don’t like blood?

Yeah, it might be better if he was just like, “He’s a little bitch. What the fuck is he gonna do? Make him run around in fear the rest of his life.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1834

Colin:

Grima BREAKS THE FUCK OUT!

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 650

 

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1835

 

“Hail Theoden, king!”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1836

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1837

“Shit. I’m kind of a big deal.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1838

Colin:

Aragorn kneeling is a little bit different from everyone else kneeling. He’s got that look of, “I’m not sure you realize it, but this is kind of a big deal. You see…I’m a king myself. Well, not ACTUALLY, but…”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 651

“Where is Theodred? Where is my son?”

Colin:

WHERE is Akeem?

This is where we’ll END PART II.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is Part III, and those taters, Precious.

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

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