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Fun with Franchises: The Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers (2002), Part IV — “Hobbits: The Puerto Ricans of Middle Earth”

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

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 fourth part of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers:

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We begin Part IV at Helm’s Deep:

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Multiple planes of action. A+

Well… A. Still, good job.

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Helm’s Deep, which is just such an awesome location.

I love anything built into a mountain like that.

Colin:

They’re talking about being safe, and the fortress is still miles away. I bet like 12 people die of disease before they even get there. These people just look sickly. I have no idea how the human race made it through the Middle Ages, cause there is nothing here ANYTHING should want to fuck.

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So they just have people chilling there at all times? Well, I guess that makes sense. It’s a military garrison, and that would be the natural place to keep reserves.

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Might want to plug in some of those cracks.

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I like how whenever there’s something to do with Rohan, there’s that little fiddle leitmotif.

Colin:

That part there right in the middle where the rocks aren’t smooth — is that supposed to be a patch job? The original rocks fell apart, so you had to put lots of little rocks in there instead? This is the part that strikes me as kinda fake, because the rest of it looks like huge stones thin lines of mortar in between. But these smaller stones don’t appear to be held together by mortar; they look like someone carved them into that shape out of a single piece of rock. Or in this case, probably foam. I still remember seeing them do that in the making-of portion of the Wishbone episode of Ivanhoe. Most of the things I know are from either Wishbone or Bill Nye. Keep funding public television.

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Colin:

Hooray for LOCATIONS. When they pull out, it’s pretty obviously a miniature, but I don’t give a shit. In fact, I’m even more excited.

Seriously, filmmakers. Sets and models. They’re better than computers.

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“Mama!”

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Aww.

You know, I’m okay with this. It’s kind of pandering, but on the other hand, it doesn’t take up screen time that’s not gonna be there anyway, and it puts a lower class emphasis on this whole thing, which is really what’s overlooked during all these battles. How regular people are going to be affected.

Colin:

Thank the Valar these kids’ mother didn’t die. Cause then they’d be orphans and then what if one of them got powers?

I like that we reward regular readers. We’re like the Arrested Development of blog articles.

Colin:

Like I said, though – look at these kids’ mom. That’s the Middle Ages for you. There are two kids here, which means someone fucked this, made a baby, and then decided to go back for MORE.

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I like that they just ride horses up stairs and shit.

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“So few of you have returned.”

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“Lord Aragorn? Where is he?”

(Almost the equivalent of, “Who’s that Hagrid’s carrying?”)

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“He fell.”

Wow, that screenshot does not do justice to the amount of emotion in his voice.

Coin:

Or the amount of awesome in his beard.

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Colin:

Don’t make that face, baby, you gonna make my eye holes wet.

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What’s that look about? Like it’s his fault? Or is that more of a, “Now I’m never going to get married”?

Colin:

This actually looks like Miranda Otto’s “stabbed” face to me. I don’t like that her eyes are so wide here. It always bothers me when I meet someone whose eyes are always super wide open. The sort where if you told them to try an open their eyes wider than normal, they couldn’t, because half of their eyeball is already out. Everything they do looks urgent. Or like they’re going to catch a fly with their tongue. Now that I’ve been staring at this for a little while, I’m convinced her eyes aren’t pointed in the exact same direction, which has now sold me on the chameleon theory.

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He feels bad, because he knows.

Aragorn has been…Eo-murdered.

Colin:

This is my image of Rohan. Sad, blond people.

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“Saruman’s arm will have grown long indeed if he thinks he can reach us here.”

Colin:

Go-go-gadget orc army!

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Cue educational voiceover as to exactly how they can reach them here.

But fuck, this place looks nice.

Colin:

This miniature is working for me.

That’s what I say when I dispatch my little people henchmen.

Colin:

Your…mini-ons?

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“Helm’s Deep has one weakness.”

Colin:

Bullets?

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“Its outer wall is solid rock but for a small culvert at its base, which is little more than a drain.”

Colin:

Don’t let kids play by the shitty water!

Fuck that, let them play by the shitty water! I played in shitty water all the time when I was growing up, and my immune system is great. When I was 8, I showered like, every other day, I ran around, got dirty as shit, would constantly be reaching into the sewer in front of my house to retrieve handballs and stuff that fell down there, and never worried what was on my hands before eating. And that’s good for you. It exposes you to germs. If you grow up using Purell and shit and drinking purified water, your immune system is gonna be a giant pussy.

It reminds me of that George Carlin bit, where he says the big thing when he was growing up was polio. Everyone was worried about catching polio. But not him and his friends. Why? Because they swam in raw sewage. It gave their immune system practice. It’s a brilliant bit.

So go ahead, play in the shitty water. Maybe you’ll live to 26.

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But I guess if Saruman’s army can breach that thing, it would be pretty… grate.

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Getting the pipe ready.

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Oh… that was gunpowder.

Meh. You can probably smoke that.

Colin:

This assclown clearly doesn’t know how fireworks…work.

He was just about to put Saruman… on blast.

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“If the wall is breached, Helm’s Deep will fall.”

I like this line. It sets up stakes and sets up tension. Since when the wall does come down, you go, “Well that’s not good.”

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Wormtongue also says it would take a number beyond reckoning. Thousands.

“Tens of thousands.”

I always like when a person is talking how impossible something is, and the person who is supposed to meet said requirements ups the stakes on their own. “It would take thousands…” “Tens of thousands.” “To do that.”

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“My lord, there is no such force.”

He said, suddenly feeling like an asshole.

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Well now don’t you feel like an asshole, Wormtongue?

(There’s a great line out of context.)

Colin:

Isn’t it funny how in Middle Earth, 10,000 is a world-class army?

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Yeah… he does.

That’s why these conversations always work. “It would take (x).” “Please…. (x times three).” And then, “By the way, I did that shit before I walked in the room.”

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I love this, too. He just raises his arm, and everyone shuts the fuck up. He’s way up on this fucking tower, like the Pope or something, and they all just know when to shut the fuck up.

Colin:

That’s the best. These uruks are all waiting for Saruman to walk outside. He’s probably hundreds of feet up, but they all shut up when he raises his hand slightly. Christopher Lee got it like that. His “to war!” is glorious.

Christopher Lee:

It seems all I’m able to say right now is… Or-thank you.

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And then he makes a speech that basically says, “Go to Helm’s Deep. Kill, maim. But be home for dinner. We’re having pork chops.”

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These shots are always the ones that look the most CG.

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“YAHHH!”

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The single tear is nice. That’s that moment of, “Well damn… I just got a lot of people killed.”

Or maybe it’s, “It’s so beautiful…”

Colin:

The cut back to Wormtongue shedding a tear is well-placed. He’s clearly a bad guy, but this is one of those where – he didn’t quite know the scale on which they were dealing until now. There’s no turning back, but he’s clearly overwhelmed by what he sees. He’s like Lucious Malfoy in that respect; he starts out as a loyal servant, but when shit starts really ramping up, he gets squeamish.

I like how he’s never seen again after this in the theatrical trilogy. He does this, has his little tear, and then he’s gone. And we’re left to wonder what happened to him for the rest of his days.

I mean, even in the books, we’re left to wonder. He’s stuck palling around with Saruman after he loses his powers, and then slits his throat, but still, the last we see of him, he’s scurrying off into the woods. He’s a pretty interesting character.

Colin:

Yeah, these guys never really make it. He’s the Joseph Goebbels of this movie, basically. Now everyone knows him as the asshole sidekick of the evil dude who got vanquished. Probably couldn’t get a job mopping up hurl.

He could probably talk his way into a job helping out a blind innkeeper or something. Or he’ll be the guy sweet-talking the old lady into putting him into her will, and then living off that the rest of his life.

But, right now, it seems Grima is Worm…tongue-tied.

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“There will be no dawn for men.”

So I guess you can say you’ll be… breaking dawn.

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“I don’t know but I’ve been told / Elvish pussy is mighty old.”

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Treebeard’s just hanging around Isengard.

“There is always smoke rising from Isengard these days,” he says.

Colin:

Of course that’s Treebeard’s contention. He’s an Ent. Next year he’ll be regurgitating Gordon Wood.

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What would it look like if an Ent was blowing another Ent?

(This is your cue, internet. Work your magic.)

(Somebody’s gonna get sapped.)

Colin:

You know Treebeard has young tree bitches all over the forest. Keep some green piece on the side for when he needs to bust a nut.

If there’s leaves on the branches, play ball.

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“Well fuck.”

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When’s the last time you think he bathed before this?

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I like how we see what she’s really doing as this happens.

Because what the fuck else is she ever doing?

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Uh… okay.

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Colin:

What’s with people on the verge of death and distant, echo-y women singing in unintelligible languages?

The power of Enya compels you.

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Oh… I get it. She kept him from dying.

I’m just gonna pretend that was a hallucination, because… what?

Colin:

What are we willing to bet that his wound in this shot is just a piece of raw beef or a pork chop under his shirt?

Uhh.. the piece of meat itself?

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“Hey yo… get up, motherfucker.”

Dogs and cats do this shit to you every day. “Hey yo… motherfucker. Feed me. I gotta go piss.”

Colin:

Look at that wound and tell me that isn’t a pork chop.

This is the third reference to pork chops in this article.

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I REALLY hope when he thought Liv Tyler was kissing him, it was actually the horse.

Colin:

He just frenched a horse.

Good thing he didn’t Catherine the Great that horse.

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That’s a great horse, though. Kneels down next to you and shit. I respect this horse.

But, he’s gonna be sore for days now, after that fall.

He might need to get some… e-quinine.

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Colin:

That’s not how one gets on a horse, nor do I buy him getting on it.

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Time for her to go to the undying lands.

(Seriously, why would you want to marry an elf? That’s all they do all day, is just lounge around and shit. You know she doesn’t fuck well. You know she doesn’t. She just lays there. Eowyn is the one who’s into the freaky shit. Rosie Cotton? You know that chick wakes up the neighbors. Aragorn is fucking up.)

Colin:

She’s been around for 2777 years — do you really think she’s that into fucking RIGHT NOW? She can wait another five years and it’s not a big deal.

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Colin:

That’s how dad knows his daughter’s turned against him. We speak ELVISH at home. What’s with this ENGLISH? You’re going to stay with that boy, aren’t you?

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He tells her that even if Aragorn doesn’t die during the war, he will eventually, and then she’s fucked.

Colin:

How horrible! Aragon will die! #ElfWorldProblems

Viggo’s quite the silver fox, though.

Also, she’s almost three thousand years old…how are her teeth not shitty?

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And basically she’ll just hang around alone and die eventually.

Colin:

This was a pretty cool sequence. I like the idea of this civilization pretty much coming and going as she stands there grieving.

Why wouldn’t you go fuck somebody else? What’s grieving gonna do? Go do shit. There’s peace. If I lived as long as an elf, I’d go fucking everywhere. Spend five years in the Blue Mountains. Because why the fuck not? Go hang out in the Shire. Start a pedicure business. You got options.

Start a phone sex hotline. You got the voice for it.

Or maybe start a restaurant. Ar…Wendy’s.

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Am I the only one who saw this and said, “This is the template for all of Zack Snyder’s movies”?

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Light is really focused in these movies.

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“Arwen, there is nothing for you here. Only death.”

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Sex hair.

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I don’t like that elves have bedrooms.

Colin:

Elrond turns around and realizes he’s been saying some shit that’s just a little too real for his daughter to handle. Let her keep SOME of her innocence, man. She’s only 2770.

How come she never moved out?

Colin:

Student loans.

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Wait… WHAT?! What the fuck is THIS about to turn into?

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So that’s how it is in their family…

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Oh, wait… I… forgot the way these things usually play out in polite society.

Colin:

Elves are too perfect. I can’t decide if they’re more German or North Korean. Cause the precision thing is a very German trait – and it’s something the Germans should be proud of. But the elves are also so regimented and rehearsed that I can’t help but wonder if they train for these things under the tutelage of the Great Leader.

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And now they’re going to the undying lands. Because this is apparently how they travel.

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Seriously… if this is what elves do, why would you want to hang around that forever and ever?

Colin:

This isn’t a place you leave like that. I haven’t seen where they’re going, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t look like this.

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Oh, but you’re not leaving? I thought it was the last ship, motherfucker.

You just mean the last ship before shit goes down. So you’re basically just pressuring her into doing this now so she doesn’t just go off with him.

That’s some cold blooded shit, Elrond Hubbard.

Colin:

Well, either way, he could build a ship and go himself. That’s the thing about elves. They’ve got the time to do whatever the fuck they need to do.

That’s another thing. Are the Undying Lands exclusive or something? Is there a limit? Seems not to be. Seems like they can go whenever the fuck they want, and he’s just obsessed about going now because Sauron is probably gonna take over.

But here’s the thing. If Sauron takes over, you can still get out. I’m sure it’ll be more difficult, but you still could. Sure, we find out later that (somehow) if Sauron wins, Arwen dies. Apparently she’s got that Natalie Portman thing — “Bad day? Guess I’ll DIE.” So I guess there’s that. But it seems pretty stupid that he’s like, “You gotta go, and you gotta go now.”

How about you go and he comes with you in like, thirty years? He stays here, fucks Miranda Otto, has a kid, and then goes off to be with you? Don’t all these fucks end up in the Undying Lands? Can men not do that? It seems like it’s everybody but men.

This whole thing is vague enough to come off as shady.

Do you think they make drug deals to and from the Undying Lands? You think Arwen is just being used as a mule?

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She knows.

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“Mr. Anderson.”

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And here’s Cate Blanchett speaking Elvish.

“The power of the enemy is growing. Sauron will use his puppet Saurman to destroy the people of Rohan. Isengard has been unleashed.”

Unleashed sounds like one of those words Palpatine should say.

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“The Eye of Sauron now turns to Gondor, the last free kingdom of men.”

That door is shaped like Hugo Weaving.

Colin:

I know a few other things shaped like Hugo Weaving.

That came off like Willy Wonka. “Spitting is a dirty habit.” “I know a worse one.”

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I love how they work in exposition so obviously and yet we almost don’t notice, just because that’s how they talk. It’s kind of like how people give old people passes on those marginally racist and homophobic asides, just because – “that’s what they called them back then!”

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“His war on this country will come swiftly. He senses the ring is close.”

How many senses does he have, exactly?

Colin:

Probably more than you :(

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Colin:

Sorry, econ major. These are largely agrarian societies, but there’s no farmland anywhere. Not a single farm surrounding Osgiliath. Nothing between Osgiliath and Minas Tirith. I guess the people of Gondor eat…nothing.

I also like that Sauron is like, “Well, I have a big army, Saurman’s got this Rohan shit on lock, so let’s go fuck up Gondor now.” He’s already got Helm’s Deep won in his mind and is moving onto phase two. Which is funny to me, that you’d do that. And probably pretty good strategy. And the other thing that I’m wondering – does he not give a shit about any other species? Is it only men? Do the elves not matter? No dwarves or anything? Are men the only ones he has to defeat?

Colin:

Pretty much. The dwarves don’t have the numbers, and the elves are either outnumbered or disinterested. The dwarves are the ones who choose to live in their caves and ignore the problem until it comes to destroy them (so, Republicans), and elves are the ones who have always had the choice to just leave this place and go to a land where there ain’t no problems.

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“The strength of the ring bearer is failing.”

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“In his heart, Frodo begins to understand, the quest will claim his life. You know this. You have foreseen it. It is the risk we all took.”

Colin:

Claim his life…is that like, he’ll die? Cause he’s pretty much the only one of the crew that NEVER dies. Oh, I guess Gandalf doesn’t. And Legolas and Gimli and Sam eventually make it to the undying lands.

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Wait, so they’re just talking telepathically?  You can just initiate Elvish skype whenever you want to?

Colin:

Blanchett’s at one window and Weaving’s at another, and they’re looking at each other from miles away. It’s like Anakin and Padme, only these ones have telepathy so it makes sense.

Are the Undying Lands that big Somewhere out there?

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“In the gathering dark, the will of the ring grows strong. It works hard now, to work its way back into the hands of men. Men who are so easily seduced by its power.”

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“The young captain of Gondor has but to extend his hand, take the ring for his own, and the world will fall.”

Well that’s not so bad.

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Colin:

Nice waterfall.

I feel like every article almost should have been subtitled something to this effect. “Nice waterfall.” “Nice tree.” “Nice miniature.” And then the occasional, “Goddamn, New Zealand.”

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“It is close now, so close to achieving its goal. For Sauron will have dominion over all life on this earth, even unto the ending of the world.”

Jesus, Blanchett, way to be optimistic.

Colin:

…even unto the end of the world? Does he have nukes? I find it hard to believe that the world could end with just a bunch of orcs with swords. When someone says the world is ending, that’s like – the planet is blowing up, or at least all life is being extinguished.

What does that eye run on?

Colin:

Barad-duracell.

Thanks, I’m out.

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“The time of the elves is over. Do we leave Middle Earth to its fate? Do we let them stand alone?”

Colin:

Stop hating on men. She’s such a lesbian.

It’s funny to think that China basically called itself Middle Earth for thousands of years.

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Colin:

I love maps. This is also just a nice recap of what’s going on and where shit is. Faramir needs to be up on this, so it makes sense his homey’d be telling him.

I also love maps. These are always some of my favorite shots from this movie. I love a good shot of a map. Especially when it’s something that doesn’t necessarily exist. That is to say, something like this, where you know he had to sit down and create this world.

I feel like that’s at least half the battle for coming up with stuff like this. Creating the world. Then, you got that, and it’s just, “Okay, what’s happening where, and what story am I telling?”

Colin:

This is where we get to see where the last movie has taken place — and I say “last movie,” meaning the last full movie’s length of this franchise, so this time during Fellowship to now. Around this time in the last film, they were coming down the river that bifurcates this part of the map. They got to the lake, had their battle. Frodo and Sam crossed over, went through Emyn Muil and then the Dead Marshes, reaching the Black Gate. Now, they’re near Osgiliath and will head over to Minas Morgul, which is the dotted line east of Osgiliath. Also, this shows how the shot in Return of the King when the crazy green light shoots up into the sky was wrong when we see it from Minas Tirith. As Gandalf and Pippin look out straight, towards Osgiliath, the light comes from the left, which is north, rather than due east. Thought I wouldn’t notice.

The shitty part, though — look at this map and consider Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas’ path. They left the lake, went all the way north to Fangorn, then to Edoras, then north again to Helm’s Deep, and afterwards, they’re gonna show up at Isengard before booking it all the way down south to Minas Tirith. All in like two weeks. I love maps.

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Faramir. He doesn’t get interesting until the next movie. And even then…

He’s no Sean Bean.

But he does look like him. He’s almost a…Boro-mirror image.

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Gondor is pretty fucked. That’s how close their main city is to Mordor.

I also like how they point shit out plainly on the map, too. This is clearly all for the audience’s benefit, and yet – I really never noticed this shit until now.

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They bring the hobbits before him.

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“My men tell me that you are orc spies.”

I love that everyone just assumes they’re orcs.

Racists.

Colin:

It’s great that everyone who comes across the hobbits, with their tiny frames, perfect skin and curly foot hair, seem to think they’re orc spies.

Hobbits… the Puerto Ricans of Middle Earth.

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“We are hobbits of the Shire. Frodo Baggins is my name. This is Samwise Gamgee.”

(Look at the guy behind them. It’s like he’s baked out of his mind. He swears he sees two giant potatoes right now.)

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“Your bodyguard?”

“His gardener.”

Somehow only this universe could make that line sound halfway decent.

Faramir asks where Gollum is.

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“There was no other. We set out from Rivendell with seven companions. One we lost in Moria. Two were my kin. A dwarf there was also and an elf. And two men. Aragorn, son of Aragorn, and Boromir of Gondor.”

Colin:

He glosses over who the other people were, cause they don’t expect a man to know an elf or a dwarf, but he gives both of the men’s names. It’s like if you were talking to a black person who’d never seen Ocean’s Eleven, and when they asked you who was in it, you said, “Oh…uh…Don Cheadle and Bernie Mac. And some other guys.”

Carl Reiner is the blackest motherfucker in that movie.

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“You’re a friend of Boromir?”

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“Yes. For my part.”

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“It’ll grieve you then, to learn that he is dead.”

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“Dead? How? When?”

Colin:

Dead? You should know how. As for the when? About 30 seconds after you peaced. Remember when the other two hobbits made a distraction for you? Then THEY needed rescuing, and he died. So it’s your fault.

If he knew that, I bet he’d be Boro-mired in self-doubt.

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“As one of his companions, I hoped that you would tell me.”

Colin:

Good business, with the waterfall playing with the light on the cave walls.

I want a waterfall.

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And then we get this really weird, really long track into Faramir that’s clearly another scene. It’s almost like they want us to reframe everything we know about him in light of the fact that we just found out he’s Boromir’s brother.

But we don’t know anything about him, and it just comes off as awkward cutting.

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Life goal: Achieve a status where people come up to you and whisper all information.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1011

They even sleep in a gay way.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1012

Well that’s creepy.

Colin:

“Come with me if you want to live.”

“I don’t like Nelly Furtado.”

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Doesn’t this look like him waking them up in the middle of the night to tell them they have to see the view?

Lotta random late night booty calls happening in this movie.

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Yes, follow the dude who took you captive to a cliff at the edge of the waterfall and go see what he’s pointing at. That’ll end well.

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And there’s Gollum, just chilling.

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“To enter the Forbidden Pool bears the penalty of death.”

Really? Who made that rule?

Colin:

I’m pretty sure this “Forbidden Pool” thing is bullshit. I think they just want an excuse to give Frodo about why they’re killing him. “Oh, he stepped on the Forbidden Stick! Pretty sure he touched the Forbidden Tree! He whistled at the Forbidden Bird!”

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Oh man, they’re ready to take him the fuck out. That’s like snipers up on the roofs.

Imagine someone getting riddled with arrows like Bonnie and Clyde.

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“Shall they shoot?”

Yes. Take the shot.

Colin:

Faramir’s pointing around, making sure Frodo sees just how many dudes he has ready to cap this fool.

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“The rock and pool / Is nice and cool / So juicy sweet! / Our only wish / To catch a fish / So juicy sweet!”

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And then he beats the fish to death.

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That almost looks like his dick is hanging out.

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This is a nice little version of Russian Roulette. Only it’s someone about to have another person killed, so it’s more like Soviet Roulette.

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“Wait. This creature is bound to me. And I to him.”

Like, civilly?

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1028

“Oh, so you were lying to me, huh, motherfucker?”

(Or… “So that’s how it is with you hobbits, then?”)

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“He is our guide!”

(Or… “No, it’s not like that!”)

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1030

Crinkle Crinkle.

Well I guess it’s time to tell this story, then.

Didn’t realize this film is home to two very important stories. We’re spoiling people.

Colin didn’t immediately tell the story in his notes, even though this story, more than the other one, is one he should tell. But I guess I’ll tell it and he’ll correct the inaccuracies.

So Colin shows up at college for his freshman year. He gets put into a single room with a roommate. As a lot of us tend to do. And within the first couple minutes of meeting him, the roommate told Colin, “Just so you know, I have a metabolism thing, so I have to eat something all the time.” This is as he’s moving his stuff into the room. And as he’s moving in, Colin sees him bring in like, three giant boxes of Clif bars. Not regular boxes — Costco sized boxes. (And apparently he ended up going through one of those entire boxes by the time orientation week was over.)

So, anyway, it’s the first night, and Colin is asleep. And he just sort of rolls over at like, 3:30 in the morning, and opens his eyes, because he feels something moving in the room. And he hears the crinkle crinkling of a wrapper. So he looks over, and his roommate is awake, perched atop the bed, eating a Clif bar. And the big window they had (the single rooms in the dorm we lived in basically had a wall of windows. One wall was all windows, with the radiator underneath it) was open, so the moonlight was coming in right on the bed.

And he told us this story like a month later, and he’s like, “There he is, perched atop the bed, the moonlight coming in through the window — he looked like Gollum eating a fish!”

And it was fucking hilarious. Because we know what this guy looks like, and we all immediately pictured this exact moment as he said it — and it was perfect. Just the image of someone perched atop the bed, with a Clif bar, “crinkle crinkle, crinkle crinkle” — just like this — is hilarious.

What’s great is that we have like, a hundred more stories just like this.

Colin:

Seth turned out to be a pretty neat (if idiosyncratic) guy, but that image will be burned into my memory for as long as I live. Cause you have to understand — it was the first time I’d shared a room with a complete stranger, and I’m in a new place and everything. So even waking up in the middle of the night, there was that feeling of, “Where the fuck am I?” for a second before I remembered. But then, on top of that was the added shock of, “And holy fuck, what the shit is that?So I did the only thing you can do in that situation. I rolled over to face the wall and tried to go back to sleep.

Like Jenny’s roommate after Forrest came in his pants.

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“Come, Smeagol.”

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I love that little head turn. This motherfucker is suspicious as shit, and I approve.

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Never trust the man.

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I like how he’s like, “Come on, you must trust me,” and not, “If you don’t do this, they’re going to kill you. Just listen to me and we’ll be all right.”

Colin:

Why would you do this? Show up out of nowhere and tell someone to follow you, then keep repeating how they have to TRUST you? That immediately makes me doubt you.

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Even he knows something is up.

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“We must, go now?”

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GPOY

Colin:

I really hope they made Andy Serkis slink over to him with a raw fish hanging out of his mouth.

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Look at that look. That’s the look your pet gives you when you’re sending them to cut their balls off.

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Whoa, shit. It’s a black bag job.

Or maybe more like a black… Baggins, job.

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I love how they toss him on the floor like he’s a piece of shit.

Because… ehh.

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“Where are you leading them?”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1046

“Smeagol… why does it cry, Smeagol?”

This is fucked up. We’re seeing him change in a single shot. Before they did it with awkward cuts. This is so much more effective.

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“What the fuck is going on here?”

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“I told you he was tricksy, I told you he was false.”

I love tricksy and false. It’s such a good way to describe people.

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“Filthy little hobbitses! They stole it from us!”

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“What did they steal?”

Colin:

Faramir is loving this. “Yeah, tell me what they stole!”

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“My –”

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PENIS PRECIOUS!”

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It’s the hiss that makes it.

Colin:

The scream after he says “my precious” is pretty awesome. Wholly unnecessary, and yet…I need it there.

This is just an all around good scene, particularly with how they handled the multiple personalities. Little Gollum A, little Gollum B. 

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They just left them there with all the salted pork?

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1055

Sam tells Frodo to use the ring and escape. Which is pretty hypocritical. That’s like someone in Harry Potter saying, “You can’t use the Cruciatus Curse… but this time, it’s okay.” Either it’s okay or it’s not. Why would you say, “Just this once?” How about just, “Put it on and get out of here. I’ll be fine”?

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He can’t. The ring is taking him.

For a ride?

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“If I put it on, he’ll find me. He’ll see.”

Colin:

At least he apologizes to Sam, who’s been right about pretty much everything and sticks by him for who knows why.

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Well hello, Faramir.

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“So… this is the answer to all the riddles.”

Colin:

String? Or nothing?

What Does The Hobbitses Have in Its Pocketses? by Middle Earth Dr. Seuss.

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“Here in the wild I have you, two halflings and a host of men at my call, and the Ring of Power within my grasp.”

Colin:

His own fucking fault for not searching them when they were captured. Don’t you search your prisoners? I’d search the hell out of my prisoners.

Also, I thoroughly enjoy the term “host” to describe a bunch of dudes. Like when they cut to Theoden in a little while and he goes, “Great host, you say?” And Aragorn’s like, “Yeah, you gotta meet Elrond, he’s the life of the party. Rivendell has one of the best bars you’ll ever see in your life.”

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“A chance for Faramir, captain of Gondor, to show his quality.”

Which is a great line… once you know the backstory we don’t find out until the third movie.

But still… a great line.

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“NO!”

Colin:

I feel some hassa hassa coming on. Elijah Wood is good at making possessed eyes.

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“What the FUCK?!”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1065

“Don’t you understand? He’s gotta destroy it! That’s where we’re going. Into Mordor. To the mountain of fire.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1066

Gondor is under attack. Need an answer, Farry.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1067

“Will you not help him?”

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“The ring will go to Gondor.”

Colin:

Now you’re just proving the lesbian right.

But it is his prerogative. I know he’ll make a just steward. Or a fair…emir?

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Colin:

Aragorn’s up now. For whatever reason. Riding on horseback restores your strength somehow.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1071

Every movie with horses should do the Monty Python thing with the coconuts. I’d go along with it every time. Even if we don’t see the coconuts, they should just have that sound.

Also, doesn’t this shot look like a ringwraith stumbling home after a long night? Like he’s about to fall so he’s reaching out to lean onto the rock so he doesn’t fall.

Oh my god, what’s the Middle Earth walk of shame like?

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It’s pretty funny how relatively small that army is, all things considered. This is nowhere near the scale of battle that’s gonna happen next movie. And yet, when you watch it, it feels like this huge army.

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Colin:

Where’s the reverse on this thing?

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It’s funny to me that he almost died, now has to ride full out to get to Helm’s Deep, and will, once there, have to fight this gigantic fucking battle.

Remember this when an athlete has a sore tricep and sits out a game.

Colin:

Fuck Aragorn, this horse is the one who saved Middle Earth. He’s been riding for fucking days across all sorts of terrain without stopping. After it found him by the riverbank, put Aragorn on its back and started off by itself. This horse is one of the only things in Middle Earth that actually runs its shit. Shadowfax will be pleased.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1076

Colin:

Sometimes the music picks up and they have to do an aerial shot to remind you that New Zealand looks good. I hope they paid for part of this film to be made, because this is the best tourism video they could ever possibly have.

They just ran an ad in the Hollywood Reporter a few weeks ago with Peter Jackson standing in Bag End that just said, “Film more shit in New Zealand.”

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“Where is he? Where is he?! I’m gonna kill him!”

Looks like Aragorn is in Helm’s… Deep shit.

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“You are the luckiest, the canniest, and the most reckless man I ever knew.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1081

“Bless you, laddy.”

Colin:

Is that your axe, or are you just glad to see me?

I think he’s glad to see him. They all thought he was an… Ara-gonner.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1082

This is a fun shot. Aragorn is walking to Theoden and stops short and is like, “Oh… hey… Legolas.”

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Reaction shots.

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“You look terrible.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1087

“Ahhh.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1088

“What? Dick?”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1089

Fifteen bucks, little man, put that shit, in my hand.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1090

Then she realizes it’s the vagina necklace.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1091

Oh… you ain’t never gonna get that D.

Colin:

Legolas, being a sarcastic dick…which I’m on board with. Miranda Otto gets all stoked to see Aragorn, just in time for her to be reminded that he already got an elf chick.

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“I open doors, motherfucker.”

Colin:

I open double doors with both hands, motherfucker!

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He tells him about the armies and stuff.

Ten thousand strong at least.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1100

“It is an army bred for a single purpose – to destroy the world of men.”

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“They will be here by nightfall.”

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Reaction shots.

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I guess you can say Theoden is between a rock… and a hard place.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1102

He wants every man and boy with strong arms to be ready to fight.

Yeah… this’ll end well.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1103

I’m sure a couple of planks of wood are gonna hold those giant doors shut.

You think this is what Hogwarts did during the Dark Ages?

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1104

He says no army has ever breached the Deeping Wall.

But if they do this time, I bet they’re gonna let up a real…breached wail.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1105

Gimli says these aren’t orcs – they’re uruk-hai.

(Glorious shot, by the way.)

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1106

“I have fought many wars, master dwarf, I know how to defend my own keep.”

Look at Legolas.

Colin:

Gimli just got fucking sandbagged.

But he says he’s fought many wars…against whom? Was it other men? Certainly not elves. Who’s he fighting SO MANY times?

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1107

“If this is to be our end, then I will have them make such an end as to be worthy of remembrance.”

He’s got a point. If you’re gonna go down, make sure they remember how you went down.

Colin:

Kings sure are into glory.

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“You must call for aid.”

“And who will come? Elves? Dwarves? We are not so lucky in our friends as you. The old alliances are dead.”

Actually, the elves are going to come. So, you’re gonna feel like a dickhead in a little bit.

Also, why are they not so lucky in their friends? Is it because they’re assholes? They seem like assholes.

Colin:

I think he’s just bitter about Gondor cause it’s better than him. Just sayin’.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1112

“Gondor will answer.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1113

“Gondor? Where was Gondor when the Westfold fell? Where was Gondor when our enemies closed in around us? Where was Gon–”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1114

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“No, my lord Aragorn, we are alone.”

Colin:

Did you think to send up a flare? I think the Carpathia might be close enough to help.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1116

“Get the women and children into the caves.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1117

“We need more time to lay provisions…”

“There is no time. War is upon us.”

I’m gonna start using that. “There is no time. War is upon us.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1118

This a nice visual callback, too.

Colin:

Oh shit, I didn’t even notice that. That’s cool.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1119

I like how Treebeard has just been walking around for three days with these two on his head. And he’s been telling those stories your senile uncle tells, that last twenty minutes.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1120

It’s time for an Entmoot.

Colin:

Is that sharp rock sticking out of the middle of the clearing the… Moot Point?

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1121

They’re gonna decide if it’s time to go to war.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1122

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Look at that Rasta looking motherfucker.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1125

Colin:

It sure is convenient that they all showed up at exactly the same time, having traveled from various corners of this enormous forest.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1126

What’s the Ent version of an ookie cookie called?

Colin:

A tree-cle tart?

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1127

Can somebody photoshop me a picture of Ents shooting dice?

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1128

They must be from the south.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1129

Women and children into the caves.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1130

Those are the worst looking stalactites I’ve ever seen.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1131

“ZION! HEAR ME!”

Colin:

Here we are in Zion. I’d chill in this place all the time. I bet the acoustics are great.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1132

“Farmers, farriers, stableboys… these are no soldiers.”

Colin:

Men fight. Women fight in US combat units now, but you have to wonder if they’d be drafted into front line combat units if the draft was ever reinstated. Cause men don’t have a choice with that shit.

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“Most have seen too many winters.”

“Or too few.”

Oh, I guess now these winters are your… discontent.

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“Then I shall die as one of them!”

Way to keep that morale up.

Colin:

Awkward.

Maybe keep that shit in Elvish next time.

Here’s a fun fact – I remember watching the movie Blade in like, 2003, after I’d seen this movie. It was on like, TNT or something like that, on like, a Saturday morning, and I just happened to flip it on. And there’s a scene pretty early on in a club or something. And some vampire says, in whatever the vampire language is supposed to be, “You’re going to die,” and it’s exactly the same thing Legolas says up there in that scene. They blatantly stole Elvish for Blade.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1139

Colin:

What’s behind this wall? Just some open space with nothing in it. So the fortress itself is really the part built into the mountain. That means that you can lose the Deeping Wall or whatever and it’s fine, because there’s still no way from inside that courtyard up to the inner fortress, really. But the ramp goes from the outside right into the inner fortress, and it’s blocked by a wooden door. So Theoden, here’s my free advice for you — turn that ramp into a draw bridge and you’ll have like zero problems.

I don’t know about any problems. I think it would be more like — he has 99 problems… but a breach, ain’t one.

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“Who am I, Gamling?”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1141

“You are our king, Sire.”

Colin:

“No, no, say my name, bitch!”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1142

“And do you trust your king?”

“Your men, my lord, will follow you to whatever end.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1143

And then we watch as Gamling dresses him.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1144

You’d think a king could dress himself.

Colin:

Must be nice being king. He’s got people to take care of all the important preparations, so he’s free to hang out in the great hall, just putting on his armor and whining.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1145

“Where is the horse and the rider? Where was the horn that was blowing? They have passed like rain on the mountains. Like wind in the meadow. The days have come down in the west, behind the hills. Into shadow.”

WHERE THE FUCK IS THE BEER?!!!

Oh, I’m sorry. That was important, wasn’t it?

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1146

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“How did it come to this?”

You didn’t call for help and backed yourself into a corner. That’s how.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1148

He’s outside, stewing.

Colin:

If anyone’s stewing, it’s Denethor.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1149

Colin:

These little kids are NOT pleased. That they’re trying to make us feel for the little blond kid goes to show just how deep-seated first-world problems are. There are child soldiers younger than this in Africa. In REAL LIFE. But let’s feel bad for this made-up blond kid.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1150

“Give me your sword.”

Colin:

When you’re a long-haired blond boy surrounded by grizzly, older dudes, and one of them tells you to give him your sword…rape is coming.

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He also asks his name. Because that’s what you have to do after demanding someone give you their sword.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1152

“Haleth, son of Hama.”

All I see is Hilary Swank.

Colin:

He has the highest voice…I think I’ve ever heard a boy have. He could join the Vienna Boys’ Choir and keep his balls.

Also… son of Hama?

Colin:

This isn’t actually a girl, by the way. The actor is a legit boy, and he was born in 1986, which makes him a few years older than either Mike or me. But I promise you my voice was an octave lower than his when this movie came out. Also, he’s done almost nothing else, but he played Geoffrey Rush’s son in The King’s Speech.

Anyway, he says the men are saying they won’t live the night, and that it’s hopeless.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1153

“This is a good sword, Haleth, son of Hama.”

No it’s not. You just picked it up back inside and gave it a, “What a piece of shit” look.

Colin:

He checks if it’s straight and then twirls it around, and decides that it’s a good sword. By that rationale, I can claim that a car antenna is a good sword. This thing doesn’t look sharp worth a damn.

Also, you didn’t answer his statement at all. He said everyone says they’re fucked, and you said, “This is a nice sword.”

At least have the decency to tell a Lincoln anecdote or something

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1154

“There is always hope.”

Colin:

Trying to imagine how many cows gave their lives so that Aragorn could be clothed.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1155

War time.

Oh, and Legolas apologizes. Whatever.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1156

Colin:

“Aw, I can’t stay mad at you.” We’ll ignore how condescending this comes off, as a 90 year old forgives someone who’s 2019 years old.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1157

Colin:

Stop playing with your…bosoms.

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“It’s a little tight across the chest.”

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Oh, but wait… a horn.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1163

“That is no orc horn.”

They should probably start calling it… Elfsposition.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1164

What if they showed up like, an hour later? Or even like, ten minutes later? The army can’t be that far behind. How did they not cross paths with the ten thousand soldiers who are also headed this way?

Colin:

This was the part where, when I saw this for the first time, I thought the orcs had no chance.

Of course. They got the Vietnamese.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1165

Haldir.

Colin:

We met Haldir in Lorien in Fellowship of the Ring. He’s the one who called Gimli out for breathing heavily. Since he works for Galadriel, it’s confusing why he says Elrond sent them; what’s more, none of this happened in the book. No elves came to Helm’s Deep. It was Peter Jackson’s choice, and I’m cool with it.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1166

“How is this possible?”

(aka, “We have friends?”)

Colin:

Theoden is such a stubborn piece of shit that because he already said no one would come, he’s almost upset that the elves came to help without his invitation.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1167

“I bring word from Elrond Hubbard of Rivendell. An alliance once existed between elves and men. Long ago, we fought, and died, together. We come to honor that allegiance.”

They got a whole crew of guys now. It’s kind of like Ocean’s… Elven.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1168

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1169

This is kind of like the Voldemort/Draco hug.

Colin:

He looks like he could be a member of the Malfoy family, actually.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1170

But at least Haldir hugs back.

Colin:

“Ahh…you humans and your…touching.”

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1171

“You are most welcome.”

…to come here and die with the rest of us. Is the rest of that sentence that we don’t hear.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1172

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1173

Syn-chro-nici-ty!

That creeps me out, when soldiers are in sync like that.

Colin:

See that? I was saying before how they’re like Germans because of the Ayran thing and the precision, but that move was pretty clearly North Korean.

The Lord of the Rings The Two Towers - 1174

“We are proud to fight alongside men once more.”

Colin:

I bet this pisses Gimli off to no end. “Oh, so you’ll show up when MEN are in trouble, but not dwarves, eh? FUCK YOU ALL!”

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is Part V, and all the good shit.

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

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