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Fun with Franchises: The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King (2003), Part I — “The Days of Wine and Ringses”

a paToday we continue with another entry in our Fun with Franchises series, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Part I.

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 first part of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King:

The Lord of the Rings - Title Card

The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King - Title Card

New Line Logo

New Line… y’alls are amazing.

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We open on a… worm.

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And Buffalo Bill.

(“Put the fucking taters in the basket! Yes it is, Precious, it’s gonna get the hose!”)

(“Oh, wait… was he a great big fat hobbit?”)

(Oh my god, he even talks in the third person. “Why does it cry, Smeagol?” This is a revelation.)

(Also, I’ll use any opportunity I have to link to this.)

Colin:

You’d link to that in a college essay if it was a digital submission.

“I’ll drink to that,” said Mike, who would drink to opening a new roll of paper towels.

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Colin:

Worms are cool.

Andy Serkis is so good, you can see the hint of sociopath in him just as he goes to put the hook in.

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Smeagol and Deagol are going fishing.

Colin:

We used to use fishing poles to catch fish. Not anymore.

Rings. Dirty, disgusting, rings.

Colin:

I’m so glad you got that. Everyone needs someone who can get their references.

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They got a fish.

Colin:

Smeagol used OLD ROD! Not even a nibble!

Deagol used OLD ROD! Oh!  It’s a bite!

Yeah, right. Find me a Magikarp that pulls you overboard like that.

It would be funny if they got a Gyarados and it just ate Deagol.

Isn’t it bizarre that with a Super Rod you can just catch a Gyarados?

Colin:

It’s AWESOME that you can do that. I remember you could hook them at L15 with a Super Rod in the water behind that house in Fuchsia City. Most things in life evade me, but I’m always ready with knowledge of the Pokemon games.

My favorite is that you can surf down below Pallet Town and catch Gyarados there and also run into Tangela. I always remembered that. Here’s a town that, just north of it, are level 2 and 3 Ratatas and Pidgeys and here’s a fucking bush with feet capable of raping Japanese women separated by some water and whatever barriers those things are.

I never understood what those barrier things were. They’re really randomly placed, too. There will be straight barriers when you’re traveling up a road or something, but then there’s that area just east of Fuschia with all the bird trainers and shit. What the fuck is that? Just long stretches of road behind big trees and one little cut-down tree, and then those barrier things randomly placed like a maze.

How come we never asked this?

How come we’ve never played Pokémon and done articles like this for them?

Yet.

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With some horrible CGI.

Apparently they haven’t figured out underwater CGI yet.

(Which… have they? I guess that’s what Cameron is waiting for.)

Colin:

Aw, poor CGI fish. The ponds of Middle Earth are salty with the tears of misunderstood CGI fish.

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That’s my flirting face.

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Remember this shot?

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Oh, you thought that shit was Gollum, didn’t you?

Nope!

Colin:

Who grabs something off the ground by taking a whole scoop of earth in their palm? Isn’t this why we have opposable thumbs? You’re wasting your evolutionary gifts. Darwin is weeping.

Darwin wept.

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Colin:

Nice clam-diggers you got on there.

New pickup line.

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Eww.

Colin:

So, was it chance that he found the ring? No, right? Did the ring get this fish to grow enormous and then get it to bite a hook and to pull Deagol down there and then have him pick it up? You know how much sediment should be over that thing after 2400 years?

The ring is radioactive. It just polluted this entire stretch of river.

And it’s about to have two kills in this one spot.

And as for the sediment thing — maybe the weight of it keeps all the shit off of it or something. Since they did say the ring wants to be found. Or maybe the big fish turned up all the sediment?

What I’m more intrigued about is the fact that this is where Isildur died. No one really seems to mention that. You’d think the family would put wreaths and shit on the corner to mark the location or something.

Colin:

Eh. It’s 2500 years ago now. Do people remember where important people from 2500 BC died?

Aren’t we still trying to find Jesus’s tomb?

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And there’s the first look.

Colin:

I like seeing Smeagol back when he was a hobbit, but his voice is still really bizarre. Like, he always spoke that way?

What the fuck did he sound like as a toddler?

(Prequel!)

Colin:

What, like Hobbit Babies? 

INT. DAY CARE – DAY 
- - - - -
Smeagol and Deagol fight over who gets to play with a toy. The teacher separates them.
Smeagol quickly hides the toy in question in his pocket.
- - - - -
SMEAGOL
It’s not Smeagol’s fault. Smeagol
only wanted to play!
- - - - -
DEAGOL
He’s lying, Miss Reevgol, he took
my toy!
- - - - -  
TEACHER
Now, Smeagol. Give Deagol his toy
back. Come on, Smeagol. What has
Smeagol got in his pockets?
- - - - -
LAUGH TRACK.

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It’s Smeagol’s birthday, and he wants it.

Colin:

It’s always creepy when someone lashes out at you and keeps smiling. That’s super menacing.

Deagol looks like he’s gonna punch him in the face.

Also, Gollum’s ears are horizontal. Can we talk about that?

Fuck Kevin. What about those ears?

Colin:

Some people just have horizontal ears. 

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Struggling.

Colin:

MIDGET FIGHT!

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This is really like any good brotherly relationship.

Colin:

I had a relationship like this with my brothers. There was never a ring involved, though. It was just the choking.

I never had a brother. But I would fight with my friend’s brothers.

I was a dick, too. Because I was always smart enough to know, “They won’t really do anything to hurt me,” since my friends were all two and three years older than I was, and their brothers were about the same age older than them. So they’d be holding my arm, and would expect me to give up, and I’d go, “Fuck that, break it.” (Because I’m crazy.) And they’d never do it.

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Well, maybe except for this part.

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Colin:

This is good sound. It’s not often the sound gets to me in a movie, but this throbbing, pulsing sound is like the blood in your ears as you’re suffocating or being strangled. Goddamn. His heart is pounding, and now it’s slowing down.

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Who gets his wand clam diggers?

Colin:

That was his cousin, by the way. They’re Stoor-hobbits, which is a slightly different race of hobbits from further south and east of the Shire, and that predate its founding. A lot of them migrated up to the Shire around the time it was being settled, so the Shirefolk at the time of the War of the Ring are kind of descended from these sorts of hobbits.

He’s clearly an ancestor of the Sacksville-Bagginses.

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“Well I guess I’ve done murder.”

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“I won’t think about that now. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

Cause now the Precious is his.

What if this was Sauron’s cock ring?

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Doesn’t even bat an eye for murder.

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His Precious.

Colin:

Bilbo and Frodo both refer to it as “my” something after a long time carrying it, but Smeagol says it immediately. This is sort of clumsy. Like he had to say it so that the audience would be like, “Oh right, that’s Gollum before he was Gollum.”

He can’t help it. He really loved the novel “Push” by Sapphire.

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Colin:

God, he looks gross.

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Colin:

Wouldn’t you be smart enough to hide the body? You know how fucking easy it would be to get away with murder in the Middle Ages? People died EVERY day and there were no forensics. CSI: Middle Earth went like this: “Is he dead? Where’d you find him? A pond? Must’ve fallen in and drowned. Next case!”

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What’s weird is how this only happened to him. No one else. It fucked up Frodo mentally, but other than that, he was fine. I think Gollum was pre-disposed to male pattern baldness and that’s what it was. And lack of sunlight and anything other than fish for 300 years.

Colin:

Again, not sure that’s how evolution works, but okay.

Yeah right, like evolution “works.”

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The first ‘gollum.’

Colin:

It’s like The First Noel, but with more angels being peeled and eaten alive.

I’d watch that.

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See? Lack of sunlight and proper body care.

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Into the cave he goes.

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He looks better now than he did then. What kind of exfoliation has he been doing in the cave?

Colin:

That’s fucking GROSS.

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GPOY

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Anyway, that’s where we start.

Colin:

This is the movie where their arc is pretty much about his attachment to it. It’s like…The Days of Wine and Ringses.

Jack Lemmon could totally have been Bilbo.

Colin:

That’s actually what I thought when Fellowship first happened. I didn’t know Ian Holm at the time, but I was like, “Who’s this guy who looks vaguely like Jack Lemmon?

I know he had cancer, but if he died of AIDS, there would have been such great pun opportunities there.

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“As you fools play your silly games, I stare out into the darkness. For I am evil.”

Colin:

Aw, Draco. I liked him as evil.

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It’s not for eating. It’s just for lookin’ through.

Colin:

Don’t make me miss Chief Dan George any more than I already do.

“Sam says he doesn’t copulate with horses, but of course he is lying.”

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“Wake up! Wake up wake up wake up! Up you wake up you wake up you wake!”

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Weird how that alcove is perfectly triangle shaped.

I like that people have clearly built little rest holes into the mountains in this place.

It’s kind of like westerns. How there are always places for people to camp out because someone just built them.

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It’s getting darker.

Storm’s coming too, right?

Colin:

Sam keeps his optimism and his perspective the whole time. It’s basically him and Aragorn who never really fuck up throughout the franchise. Even Gandalf fails to see Saruman for what he is at first and kinda fucks up there. Aragorn and Sam? Pretty much handle their shit. Gimli makes them go through Moria and gets them all fucked by running into that side room. Legolas loses his composure at Helm’s Deep. Merry and Pippin pretty much just exist as failure. Frodo clearly fucks up. Boromir, obviously.

Sam completes the journey having saved Frodo’s life a shit ton of times, goes home to marry the hot town midget, has 13 kids and gets elected mayor of The Shire seven times consecutively before leaving for the Undying Lands to become immortal. I should give him more credit than I do.

I kinda want that on my resume too. “Married the hot town midget.”

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Sam’s been rationing out the lembas bread. There’s just enough for the journey home.

Colin:

What’s the urgency? Get some bread.

Especially since — don’t you think when evil is expunged, people will come and get you? The only reason they can’t send a car into Mordor now is because Sauron is there. But if he’s dead, they’ll bring you the fuck home.

Fuck bitches, get elf bread.

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Colin:

I like how he keeps telling them to hurry, and they’re just walking at a leisurely pace.

He’s like a dog or a small child. That’s exactly how we treat their enthusiasm.

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Here we are at Verdun.

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Colin:

What’s with all this hanging moss in the forest? Are we near a bayou?

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Leitmotif!

Colin:

Know what’s creepy? The South.

There’s a reason the compass points north.

Colin:

Even after the battle’s over and they could easily get another horse for Gimli, he still rides on the back of Legolas’ horse. I think they’re just into it now.

They sleep with their backs to one another so they don’t have to get their heads in the mud.

Gimli knows all there is to know about the mining business.

Colin:

Better tuck in that beard, he’s gonna get it caught in a tripwire.

Lieutenant Gandalf, I got you some elf bread. Lieutenant Gandalf, elf bread!

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Isengard.

Colin:

Now we get the opening title? This is like The Departed, which has to be one of my favorite opening title moments. That shit came out of nowhere.

Yeah, definitely one of my goals for the future. Unanticipated title card drops.

We’re all trying to reach Ichi the Killer status.

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They’re just getting high and watching Middle Earth.

Colin:

This is so great. They’re smoking weed, and when Merry tells Pippin he ain’t never done a hard day’s work in his life, Pippin’s like, “You right about that, son! Workin’s for suckers!”

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Hey… Saruman… you missed some trees.

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And drunk.

Colin:

Never mind running to them. Stay where there’s booze and food.

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That’s the life. Just pillaging Orthanc.

Colin:

They’re crossfaded as shit.

Considering their importance to the plot and what they get to do (and have to do), Merry and Pippin make out like fucking bandits in this trilogy.

Think about it — they show up while stealing crops, then go with Frodo and Sam to Bree because Frodo is in danger. So, they’re young and stupid, but are willing to help out a friend. Then they go along and continue being stupid, but they get to eat “nice crispy bacon,” while Frodo gets stabbed. Then they get a nice room in Rivendell and get to meet the elves. Then they go on the hike with everyone, and learn how to fight with swords. And they never really have to fight all that much, because they’re small and everyone throws them around and carries them like children. They do get captured by orcs, but they’re told they can’t be killed because Sauron wants them alive. And then they escape and get to hang out with giant talking trees for a while. And then they hang out on the tree as the trees destroy Isengard. And now they get to eat salted pork and smoke weed all day.

These motherfuckers really don’t have to do much. They just sort of take the odd task here or there that makes them brave and useful despite their usual stupidity. These motherfuckers have it easy.

Not to mention, they also get to shoot off fireworks.

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“You motherfuckers! We search everywhere looking for you and here you are, drinking?!”

Colin:

“And….and SMOKING!” Yes. This supposedly occurs on March 5th (pour out one for my man Crispus Attucks), but in the Shire Reckoning, I’d say it was April 20th.

Lotta people gonna get stoned in this movie.

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“The salted pork is particularly good.”

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“Hobbits…”

Colin:

Gandalf ain’t got time for your bullshit. But check out Legolas in the background grinning like an idiot.

Legolas enjoys a good dick joke.

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I like how Theoden is just with them. There’s really no reason for him to be here at all, but he is.

Eomer too.

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Treebeard’s taken over.

Isengard’s under new management.

Colin:

It’s pretty clear that Treebeard enjoys calling Gandalf “young.” We don’t know exactly when Treebeard was born, but he’s the oldest of the Ents that are still living, and he remembers when the elves taught the trees to speak. That’s almost 50 years older than Galadriel, and she’s supposed to be 8338 years old at this point. So he’s like 8386? Give or take? Gandalf in his physical form is 2019 here, but his spirit is as old as Middle Earth, so it’s kind of iffy about who’s the “young” one. Either way, that’s way too many years to live. You’ve got nothing left to do. You’ve done everything.

Apparently he’s never done a hobbit before.

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They locked Saruman up in the tower.

(Big fan of that wheel.)

(In fact. Big fan of water wheels in general. I want a water wheel on my property.)

(Everyone reading these articles, you all know exactly what my estate is gonna look like when I get rich.)

Colin:

It’s gonna be your own Puerto Rican Neverland.

La tierra de nunca jamas? Si.

Si.

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He has no power anymore.

Which… how does that work? How can you take away a wizard’s power? Is this just decided? Was there a higher wizard council from up on high who took them away? How can you make the claim, “Oh, he doesn’t have power anymore,” and leave it unsubstantiated?

And basically they’re just gonna keep him under tower arrest.

I’d like to see those deleted scenes, where he tries to sneak out during the night like The Great Escape or something. Just theatrically tiptoeing across the property, looking around for ents, and then he turns back forward and there’s one just standing in front of him, shaking its head in disapproval, picking him up and putting him back on the tower.

That also reminds me of the deleted scene, where Saruman actually is killed. (I guess they didn’t want to waste time with them going back to the Shire and finding him there as “Sharkey.” And then Wormtongue cuts his throat and everything.) Legolas just puts an arrow into him during the scene and he falls from the tower.

But what’s even better than that deleted scene is what the internet did with it. Great stuff.

Colin:

Yeah, I don’t get the “no power anymore” bit either. Just like with Wormtongue, people in this franchise are way too quick to just let people live after they’re defeated. Which is NEVER a good idea. I’m the sort who does things like they did in all the ancient civilizations — you defeat someone and have them and their whole family murdered.

Let’s pause to appreciate that statement.

Colin:

I mean, this is the fictional me who is someone of power and influence in a universe like this that we’re talking about. I don’t do that in real life.

Sure you don’t.

It’s not like you’ve ever woken up with blood all over you with no knowledge of how it got there, right?

Colin:

Like, show up to someone’s door with a knife in my hand, saying, “Hi. You don’t know me, but your son lost to me in NFL Blitz, so now this is happening.”

I guess that car got lost on its way to hit you while you were sleeping.

I also like “so this is happening” as a phrase. It’s almost my movie/article version of, “Well I wanted a banana, but I guess I’ll have to eat this piece of shit instead.”

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Pippin sees something.

(He’s so fucking high.)

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It’s a Dragon Ball.

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Or the Palantir.

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Gandalf snatches that shit up REAL FAST.

It’s weird that he does this, because it sets up the classic parent thing of taking something from a child and not explaining what it is. So naturally the child wants to find it, because you just made it exponentially more interesting.

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“Don’t make me fucking backhand you.”

Colin:

Why does he look at Pippin like he did something wrong? He just found it and gave it over. They should be thanking him, not treating him like a douche.

They’re not used to treating Pippin any other way.

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Leitmotif!

Colin:

Leitmotif is great, unless your kingdom’s song happens to be a whiny violin.

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Nice to see Edoras back to normal.

Colin:

The weird thing about these films is – this franchise doesn’t skip a lot of time between films. After Bilbo left and Frodo hid away the ring, there were like 20 years before Gandalf came back and the quest began. And that was right in the middle of Fellowship of the Ring. But between that and Two Towers? Like a day. And between Two Towers and this movie? Three days. The battle at Helm’s Deep happened on March 5th, and this is March 8th, supposedly. The whole quest is only like three months long. It feels so much longer. But they left Rivendell on Christmas day (not that they have Christmas) and shit is over by March 15th, basically.

That’s when they stop serving Caesar dressing.

Colin:

Aw, fuck you.

Quick story —

Colin and I are at dinner one night. And it’s like, February. For some reason it was just the two of us, so I imagine either everyone else was doing real work (and Shiho ran out of points) or we were going to see whatever was on the film series. That’s generally how that went. Or, actually, it might have been the first day back on campus for the new semester. I think that’s what it was. And that was the only place open. (But everything else is accurate.) And he came back with a salad and was like, “I was gonna put Caesar dressing on it, but they didn’t have anymore.” And I just sort of said, under my breath, “Wow, that’s weird. Usually they don’t get rid of it until the end of March.” And I did it in that way I have of saying it with a measured tone, the way I’d say, “Yeah, I didn’t see it there last week either,” the kind of thing most people just roll over and don’t think about. So he just goes, “Yeah, I — you son of a bitch!” Midway through the sentence, it finally computed what I had said and the reaction was instantaneous. It was glorious. I love making puns under the radar and having people catch them midway through their next thought.

One of my favorite pastimes.

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This chick does nothing but sit outside all day, does she?

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Church?

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The church of BOOZE!

Colin:

Party time, bitches!

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More celebrations like this.

I’m going to start having parties like this. In wooden rooms, with meat and beer. No silverware. It’s gonna be great. And then everyone’s gonna go fuck in a hay loft.

I hope you all can come to my Meat and Beer party.

There’s a subtitle. “Meat and Beer Party.”

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She’s gonna roofie him.

Colin:

Oh, quit contemplating shit and just drink your beer, Aragorn.

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Ro-hypnol, indeed.

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Why are you drinking like a douchebag, Aragorn?

Colin:

What, is this a loving cup? Is Aragorn a Rohan now? Gobble gobble, one of them?

He bows to her after this, too.

Colin:

Wow, I’m impressed with their knowledge of bows. As someone who’s lived in Japan for years, I can confirm that as the appropriate bow for, “Thank you for the mead, [female].”

What’s the liquid version of an ookie cookie?

Colin:

Rum ‘n cum?

That’s amazing.

I remember writing that and going, “I really should think of something for this,” and spent about three minutes trying to, and just couldn’t. So I left it alone, hoping I’d think of something later or that you would, and there we go.

Also, be aware, this will be a thing. Pretty sure I’m gonna ask what every single place’s, race’s, species’, and franchise’s version of an ookie cookie is. And I’m pretty sure, between the two of us, we will come up with names for all of them.

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Nope…still not gonna get the dick.

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Colin:

“I am happy for you. I saw his dick in the locker room.”

Eowyn:

I haven’t :(

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DRINKING SONG!

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More drinking songs, please. In life.

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Drinking songs are really the only excuse to dance like a white person.

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Gandalf does not understand your young people music.

Colin:

Every night is for young people. That’s how the world works. I accept this now and will accept this when I’m no longer young – if you’re old, I don’t care what you’re doing on a given evening. It’s not for you. You’re just partaking. But it doesn’t matter cause when you’re old, other things are for you, like nice cars and big houses.

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That’s how you finish a beer, Merry.

Colin:

A haiku: [Midgets singing and / cavorting on a table / then they chug their beers.]

I’ll make one as well / Fuck bitches and get money / West side, mo’fucker!

But yeah, I hope Aragorn sticks one in Eowyn’s hai-cooter.

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Gandalf and Aragorn have a talk about Frodo.

Colin:

Aragorn’s such a Debbie Downer. Better than a Goofy Gwendolyn, I suppose.

Gandalf says his heart tells him Frodo is alive, but he seems doubtful.

Colin:

“What does your heart tell you?” “That I need to cut back on the McNuggets.”

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I love that he’s still carrying a skillet with him. Just in case Mordor just happens to have a nest of coneys.

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Gollum’s getting paranoid. It’s weird how you could sleep right next to someone who mutters, “Kill them. Kill them both” in their sleep and not notice.

Colin:

Do schizoids actually talk to themselves like this? I think that’s the difference between a schizophrenic and a schizoid – schizoids have freaky conversations with themselves out loud. That’s why I’m better than Gollum from the get-go. It’s called an inner-mono(dia)logue and it really helps keep your crazy in check.

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I like how they find different ways to show Gollum’s personalities each time they do it. The first time was the awkward cutting from one to the other, the second was the really great thing with the trees, with him going from one side to the other. This pool one I think is my favorite. The reflection and the actual face. It’s kind of a representation of this franchise in a nutshell. The first one is kind of choppy, filmmaking-wise, though when you’re just watching it, you don’t really notice (but closely, it’s choppy), and then it gets better as we go along.

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But, to save repetitive shots, Smeagol wants them dead, but doesn’t have the nerve to do it, and Gollum’s like, “You did it before, so focus. We’ll take them to the winding stairs, then the tunnel, and in the tunnel, they’ll be dead. “She” is going to kill them.

Colin:

It’s weird how the “Smeagol, losing his nerve” line is delivered the same way Liv Tyler said, “A ranger, caught off his guard?” The same inflection. I wonder if Peter Jackson just likes things said that way.

It’s kinda creepy how he’s gay for himself, though. You think when he beats off, one of the personalities is giving the other a handy? Like Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Phillip Seymour Hoffman?

It’s weird though, how one of the personalities always has the Capote voice.

Colin:

Smeagol is excited about shit. Gollum is serious. It’s like Pinky and the Brain.

He’s gonna feed the hobbiteses to “her,” since she really only eats nasty little orcses most of the time anyhow.

Colin:

Possibly the best delivery of a line in the whole franchise. “And they doesn’t taste very nice, does they Precious?”

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Sam hears him.

Colin:

Sam’s awake, of course. This is all rather incriminating.

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He looks like he’s doing the jerkoff motion.

(Or rolling dice.)

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This is a great shot. He “gollum”s and some spittle drips down his chin.

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“The Precious will be ours, once the hobbits are dead!”

Colin:

For us. Which is still for ‘me,’ cause you’re a fucking crazy person.

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That CGI looks about as good as Harry fighting the troll.

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WHAM!

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Why wouldn’t you just wake up Frodo first so he could hear it?

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Now you just look guilty.

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Colin:

Driver’s license photo.

Jeez, he’s playing this victim thing to the hilt, isn’t he?

Colin:

This guy is a good actor. “Oh fuck! Blood!” Not really buying the “wouldn’t hurt a fly” thing though, especially after we’ve seen him attack them and kill all sorts of animals. Do we need to go back fifteen minutes to where he bites into a live fish? Or how about to the last film where he snaps a rabbit’s spine?

Neither of those are a fly, though. He wouldn’t touch a fly.

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“We can’t do this by ourselves, Sam. Not without a guide.”

Really? Pretty sure you’re mostly there. You can probably cut him loose and be fine.

Frodo says he needs Sam on his side.

Colin:

This rhymes, and it’s weird.

How come by now neither of them have a beard?

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“I’m on your side, Mr. Frodo.”

Which I like, as a delivery, because you’d think he’d say it the way he says all his other lines here, but instead he says it like, “You don’t understand, I’M the one who is actually looking out for you here.”

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And then he just leads Gollum away.

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Nice look.

Colin:

You can’t just make that face! I would murder the shit out of him while Mr. Frodo was sleeping.

I’d murder the shit out of him in FRONT OF Mr. Frodo. And then go, “Well, it’s done. So what are we gonna do now?”

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Beautiful shot.

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I can see the way his arms are. He’s still drinking like an asshole.

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I like this place. You can see people coming for miles. Rohan is a very defensible kingdom.

Colin:

Eh, I would disagree. Too much open land. Your enemies can come at you from any direction, and with nothing in their way. I’d prefer something that had access only through certain passes or something, cause then those could be watched and reported on. And then lots of trees or whatever on the way in so that you couldn’t just march an enormous army up to the front door. You can see people coming at Edoras from miles away, but they’ll be coming fast enough over flat land that you’re still pretty fucked unless your plan is to run.

I like my imaginary place better, with limited points of ingress and lots of wooded or difficult terrain that might allow one of your forward observers to get through quickly to report on enemy activity, but would severely hinder the progress of large formations and siege weaponry.

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“The stars are veiled. Something stirs in the east. A sleepless malice. The eye of the enemy is moving.”

No joke. Exposition, and bow and arrow shots. That’s all he is to this franchise.

Colin:

Yeah, it’s called a low pressure front. Red skies mean blood has been spilled, and veiled stars means shifty shit is going down? I’m pretty sure this is all just weather.

Also, the eye’s not moving. It’s sitting where it always is.

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I like how he just pops into frame.

Random thought — how come we haven’t seen too many shifty ass A-rabs in this movie? Middle Earth seems like it would be full of them.

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And there’s dumbass Peregrin Took.

Colin:

Sleepover!

I like how there are just dead animal skins all over the floor.

“This carpet? This is straight dead panther, baby.”

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Gandalf sleeps just like Owen’s mother in Throw Momma from the Train.

Colin:

He sleeps with his eyes open? That’s gotta be really bad for your eyes.

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Look at those stubby little fingers.

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Why does he sleep with the palantir? Why wouldn’t you hide it somewhere else? Put it in the fucking tomb with Theodred. How is it safer with you?

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That’s your plan?

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It’s like trying to open your Christmas presents early.

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This part always seemed underdeveloped in the movies. I remember in the books understanding why this was happening. Here, it just sort of happens and feels like it’s taking up screen time.

Colin:

What is it with people in this universe having no self-control? I wouldn’t be surprised if Tolkien was a horrible binge eater, because he seems to write that sort of character really well. The sort that just can’t stop themselves from doing something they know to be wrong.

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Colin:

Why are you touching it like that?

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Eye vagina.

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This is like trying to jerk off when the internet is out.

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Can we set this to “Sandstorm”?

Colin:

This is fucking hilarious in a horrible way. Like that video someone made of an actual guy having a seizure with Sandstorm in the background.

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Maybe call for help sooner, Merry.

Colin:

Merry, maybe you should do something.

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Wouldn’t it be funny if he got up and started stabbing people?

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This is actually a game of hot potato.

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Toro.

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“Fool of a Took!”

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Gurgle gurgle.

Colin:

Aw, Helen.

That was my Skype picture for the longest time until my mother got one. And I was showing her how to add me and realized that was my picture and went, “Well, I should change that.” And she went, “Why, what was it?” And I explained it to her. And she laughed and said I was weird.

Still have the picture, though. Refuse to get rid of it. Maybe one of these days I’ll make it a full size.

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This is a nice moment. He goes to berate him, but sees he’s actually messed up, so he runs over to help.

Colin:

He’s only pretending to be catatonic. Watch, in a few minutes – “Ferris Bueller, you’re my he-ro.”

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I don’t like the way Gandalf is bending.

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Is he touching his dick?

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He saw a white tree on fire.

Colin:

He looks and sounds like he got shot.

“I saw Blue… he looks GLORIOUS!”

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Minas Tirith.

Colin:

He’s never been to Minas Tirith. He doesn’t know shit.

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He heard Sauron’s voice in his head. He didn’t tell him anything. Not even about Frodo and the ring.

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“There was no lie in Pippin’s eyes. A fool, but an honest fool, he remains.”

Colin:

I wish I could tell when people were lying like that. Maybe he’s just good natured and naïve. But then, Gandalf is USUALLY right about stuff.

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“Sauron moves to strike the city of Minas Tirith.”

Can I just say that I love that this dude’s throne room is also the dining hall for everyone? I would love to be that guy. The king who hung out in the dining hall with everyone. It would be clear that I was king, but I’d hang out with everyone, so it would just be cool. And I’d only pull rank when I had to, and would drink with everyone and slap wenches on the ass and stuff.

I’d make a great medieval king.

Colin:

I think we can all agree on that. This is important, by the way. People’s lives are built around moments like these, where you have the realization, “I’d make a great _________.” The more of those moments you have, the more likely you are to be successful and happy in life. Here at the B+ Movie Blog, we also strive for self-exploration and improvement.

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He says Sauron knows Aragorn has come forth as the heir of Elendil, and doesn’t want to risk all the peoples of Middle Earth uniting, so he’s gonna burn Minas Tirith to the ground.

Colin:

How does he know ANYTHING about Aragorn based on the battle for Helm’s Deep? How was Aragorn identified? And even if he was, how did they know WHO he was or get word back to Sauron when they all pretty much got…murdered? Was it Wormtongue who figured it out? Told Saruman who then told Sauron? If so, it has nothing to do with the battle.

“My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw the heir of Elendil pass out at 31 Flavors last night.”

He says that if the Beacons of Gondor are lit, Rohan must be ready to answer.

Colin:

Gandalf’s basically a pundit. He speaks with such authority about some shit he got a basic hint about from someone else. It’s basically piecemeal third-hand information, and he’s telling them all of Sauron’s motives, intentions and strategies. Even his feelings. This is kind of bullshit, to be honest. And I say that as someone who’s made money writing as a pundit.

Also, can we note and appreciate the design of this stand thing for holding your pots over the fire, or whatever it is? I like the serpent design.

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“Tell me – why should we come to the aid of those who did not come to ours?”

A fair question, but also – kind of a dick move. Theoden really blurs the line between cool and a dick quite a lot in this franchise. Every time I want to decide one way or the other on him, he does something to make me hold back my proclamation. I can’t figure out which way I feel about him.

Colin:

Theoden wins the biggest prick award. Yeah, Gondor didn’t come to your aid because you flat out REFUSED to call for help. What, you think they all have ESP? That they should just fucking SHOW UP whenever you feel like you need help? I’m a completely impartial observer, and this is fucking infuriating to me. If someone’s in trouble, you can’t just hang them out to dry because they didn’t help you before if they never knew you needed help. I’m sick of Theoden. I hope he dies.

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Aragorn will go. They must be warned.

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Gandalf says he has to go another way. By the river.

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He’ll ride for Minas Tirith.

“And I won’t be going alone.”

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I really do like Edoras.

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Ha ha – it’s like Farraj and Daud.

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Pippin’s gotta go.

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“You’re coming with us, right?”

Colin:

It’s really kind of a burden to keep from making jokes about them all being gay. There’s like two girls in this whole franchise. Three. Three girls. Basically.

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Uh, yeah… you see, what had happened was…

This is like that moment in New Hope. I don’t trust people exchanging looks like that. This is the, “He knows too much” look. I never want to be the person who is the reason for one of those looks.

Which is why, if two of my friends were planning world domination, and I randomly said something that suggested that I knew they were doing it, and they exchanged these looks, it would never end with, “We gotta get rid of him.” It would always end with, “Nah, he ain’t no threat.” I will never be the person who knows too much and needs to be eliminated. Ever.

Colin:

Now that Gandalf is white, I miss the Hobknoblin.

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Merry explains to Pippin that Sauron thinks he has the ring. So he put himself in beaucoup danger.

Colin:

Why would Sauron think Pippin has the ring? There are a shit ton of Palantiri, and Pippin didn’t say anything about the ring…so why does that even come into play? I really don’t see how Sauron could be so stupid as to assume ANYONE that looked into the Palantir was the ring-bearer. Couldn’ve been one of Isengard’s janitors for all he knows.

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“We’ll see each other soon. Won’t we?”

This is that moment the person’s intestines are splayed everywhere and they ask if it’s gonna be all right.

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And Gandalf just breaks out. Fuck your sentimental shit.

Colin:

“Show us the meaning of haste.” That’s actually a pretty badass line. I suppose he could whip out a dictionary, but on the other hand – what Shadowfax is about to do, people will talk about for years to come as being ‘hasty.’ They’ll be like, “Be hasty about it? You mean like…Shadowfax hasty?”

It lowers defense, though.

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Merry yells after them, too. And Aragorn’s like, “What the fuck are you doing?”

Colin:

Why do big people always yell at the hobbits whenever they’re running somewhere? Remember when Pippin jumped off the horse into the water earlier, and Aragorn yelled his name? He’s a fucking adult, he’s not gonna run into traffic, which doesn’t even fucking exist here. And now, he yells out Merry’s name as he runs up the steps of the watchtower. What exactly was Merry doing that required you to yell his name? Was he going somewhere and not coming back? Or was he climbing some stairs that lead up to a watch tower which is clearly used for WATCHING? The name being yelled felt like a matter of course and I don’t know why anyone would have said it.

I think they treat hobbits like children. Watch a parent when a child gets too close to the street or stands up in a shopping cart or something. That’s exactly what that is.

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Colin:

Yeah, we don’t have to run through the water, but let’s. I like the spray on my beard.

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Man, these elves take a long time to walk.

Colin:

Elf voiceover. But it’s Elrond, so it’s cool. Did you guys know he’s actually Galadriel’s son in law? Arwen is Galadriel’s granddaughter.

That sucks to have to make elf Skype calls to your mother-in-law all the time.

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She looks thrilled.

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Visions of a child.

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Her child.

Colin:

Yeah! This kid’s rocking a linen shirt. I bet he grows up to be Colin Farrell in Miami Vice, which is an awesome movie and I don’t care what anyone says.

It’s a good thing I know your full feelings on that movie, because, based solely on that comment, I’d have called you out on it.

But I understand. And I agree.

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This is like a nightmare you have before an abortion. “Why did you kill me, Mom?”

Colin:

It’s creepy that the kid knows he’s a vision and stares at her.  It’s like the opposite of the Chappelle version of Ghost. “Oh, you know I see you. You, the elf, bitch!”

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I never understood this. What does the child have to do with her decision? Presumably there would be children if she went and stayed with Aragorn. Is the child gonna be half elf and have a longer life span? Is that it? So she won’t be alone the whole time? It seems weird that she wouldn’t take this into account beforehand. Kinda seems like Jackson is trying to spread out a plotline that gets decided a lot earlier on and very quickly.

Colin:

No, it’s just like — she’s being sent away because Elrond is telling her that there’s no way shit is gonna work out and she’ll be with Aragorn. But she sees this vision, and Elrond explains that it’s one potential outcome for the future that could still happen.

I forget that he can see the future. But it’s still weird to me, how they spend about two whole movies of screen time and seemingly countless scenes that are basically, “Go on the ship.” “No.” “He’s gonna die.” “I’ll die with him.” “But he will die.” “Okay.” “But I saw a kid.” “Well… he’ probably gonna die.”

Credits.

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There she goes.

Apparently no one else gives a flying fuck.

Colin:

This is funny to me. This elf is so confused, cause why would anyone do that? It doesn’t compute.

I like how all the elves get to go to the undying lands, despite not doing shit most of the time, but for men and hobbits, you need to destroy all the evil in the world before you can go.

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Colin:

God DAMN Rivendell. Best looking place in the franchise, hands down.

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It’s always fall here.

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Colin:

Elrond’s doing his income tax return and Arwen just sheds this cloak in the yard.

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“Why didn’t you tell me about my son?”

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“That future is almost gone.”

Colin:

For that matter, he’s kind of given up to the fact that the world is ending…what the hell is he writing?

Probably writing her out of the will.

Or maybe he’s trying to get started on his stand-up career.

“What is the deal with these rings?”

Colin:

He’s WAY better at the future stuff than Yoda. He seems to know what the future possibilities are and what their respective probabilities are. Elrond would have been on the Jedi Council for like seven minutes before he was like, “So…what are we doing about Palpatine? You know, the Sith lord who’s pulling all the strings? Should we maybe go stop him?” And Space Boromir would be like, “One does not simply confront a Sith lord.”

Space Gimli:

What are we waiting for? Those are our specialty!

But yeah, she says the future is almost gone but not lost.

And Elrond Hubbard says nothing is certain. Which goes both for and against his argument.

Colin:

Some things are certain. Like how cornbread is DELICIOUS.

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“If I leave him now, I will regret it forever.”

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Time to go fix that shit.

Colin:

Why does she need to put on this shroud thing to go pick up the sword? This is like Jimmy Smits at the end of Revenge of the Sith – I can’t accept that you’re doing anything urgent or in a hurry when you take the time for a full wardrobe change.

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And she’ll just go back and read.

Seriously… who do these elves do all day?

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Uh oh. Aragorn is Keyser Soze.

Colin:

OCD people everywhere were upset that this book landed the way it did, with pages curled back instead of evenly divided along the spine.

Come in with the milk.

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Apparently it means she’s becoming mortal now.

Colin:

Wait, now she’s back to this conversation, but wearing a different dress? I’m confused. They’re having intermissions during this conversation, is that it?

And now he’s pissed. His daughter just gave up her life. And she’s only 2777 years old.

She’s got her whole elf life ahead of her.

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Wait… Elrond Hubbard isn’t doing it himself? So then why the fuck do it now? You wait until the heir comes back for it? He could have used that shit two movies ago!

Colin:

It seems like nobody else was in Rivendell, but these elf smiths were. And they’re awesome. Swordcraft is some cool shit.

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They’ve just entered Gondor.

I must say, I really respect when people know when they’ve entered another state, when there are no markings of any kind to really tell you as much.

Colin:

Three days’ ride, as the Nazgul flies. Thank the Valar for montages.

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Goddamn, New Zealand.

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Minas Tirith.

Nice place. Still partial to Edoras, but it’s nice.

Colin:

Yes, miniatures!

Gondor is the best, though. It has its issues, but it’s the best. Clearly. Look at this place compared with Rohan.

That is fucking gorgeous. That’s going on the shots list. Or maybe a lot of this is.

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So far I think my favorite places are Edoras, Rivendell, the Shire. I would swap the first two, but I feel like Rivendell is more of a vacation spot. It seems too nice and quiet all the time to be fun. Edoras, you know some fun shit is happening there. Plus they have Helm’s Deep – I think that overcomes the fact that it seems like it’s much too windy all the time. And I like the Shire more than Minas Tirith, just because I like that people live inside of hills and that it’s so laid back all the time. Minas Tirith seems so formal. That seems like the place everyone would want to go. The Shire is pretty awesome, though. So I think it’s that and Edoras for me. Probably the Shire at number one. They’re a little too poor at Edoras for me. Plus, at the Shire, they don’t do shit and somehow are self-sustaining. And then you can go pick up chicks and bang them at Bree — I think I’ll take the Shire.

These are the things we think about here at B+ Movie Blog.

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Though Minas Tirith is nice too.

Honestly, if I had one of the life spans they have here, I’d live at all of these places.

But not Moria. There’s a real difference between living in the side of something and actually living underground.

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It’s too white. Things that are too white scare me.

Like high society.

Colin:

I’m fine with stuff being white. White is white — I’m a “white” person, but my skin sure as hell isn’t white. So white things don’t bother me. At least not the way….pale things do.

I won’t link to it. Doing it too often dilutes the enjoyment of when you get freaked out when I do do it.

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I do like that it’s basically a giant spiral, though.

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And that Gandalf doesn’t give a fuck about riding his horse up a thousand feet of concrete.

Or that he doesn’t care who gets in his way and assumes they’ll move.

I think that’s Aladdin stealing a loaf of bread over there.

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What if there was a drive-by horsing right now?

That’s really the key to a good universe, where any little nation you have could be host to its own movie.

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Holy shit. LOVE this shot.

Colin:

How did I miss THIS?

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I like that their capital is on top of a giant spiral city. That is really nice. And it overlooks Osgiliath from on high — this place is nice as shit, though. Still not my favorite, but nice.

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Nice helipad up top.

Colin:

Oh, I’m all about this shit. Not wild about how much that building looks like a church, but whatever.

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See? Look at those roads. It’s too structured. I don’t like that. I don’t like a place that seems like it was designed to look the way it does.

It looks like Cast Away ended down there.

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Gondor: Even the Trees Are White.

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Time to go meet that bitch ass steward, Denethor.

(Glorious shot, by the way.)

Colin:

That’s also kinda whack, though. That they set their place up like this, and now even on their best evening they have to walk outside and be reminded of evil over there. You wake up and it’s an otherwise nice day, but your whole horizon is straight up evil.

Told you they shoulda built condos there.

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I love that these wide shots clearly have children in them. It makes me happy to think that they just had a child and said, “Now you walk forward to those steps,” and they got to walk with Ian McKellen and be in a movie.

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Gandalf tells Pippin not to say anything, about Boromir being dead, or Frodo, or anything, really. Just shut the fuck up and stand there.

Colin:

I like how he shits all over Denethor before they even walk through the goddamn door. “He is a steward…only.” If you were going easy on him, you’d say he was ‘only a steward,’ so as to emphasize the steward title. This is emphasizing the ‘only,’ as in — you ain’t shit.

“Caretaker of the throne.” It’s so condescending it’s great.

Jack Nicholson was a caretaker, too.

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This place is the Bruges of Middle Earth.

Colin:

Nice hall. Living well for a bitch-ass steward. I could be mistaken, but the striped arch over the door feels reminiscent of Middle Age-era Arab architecture. Like something you might find in Saladin’s palace.

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This is too sterile for me. No meat and beer here. This is a wine and cheese place.

I don’t fit well in these places.

Because you can’t stumble around drunk in a place like this. You stumble around drunk here, people look at you disparagingly. In Rohan, you stumble around drunk, they’ll join in. “By the light, by the light…”

Colin:

I think I’m like this, deep down. I enjoy high society and formality — and the finer things — on some level, and I want to go to an after-party like Rohan. Gondor in the streets, but Rohan in the sheets, if that makes sense.

See, I’m more — Rohan in the streets, and I’ll fuck anything in the sheets.

My problem is — I hate high society and I hate peasants. Which is why I like The Shire, politically. Since there’s just people you like and people you don’t like, and that’s it. So I gravitate to Rohan more because I know people party there and have fun and are less formal. But on the other hand, they’re peasants. There’s really no place in Middle Earth that I’d really enjoy socially, which is why I’d go for the Shire, since my existence would be chilling, smoking weed, drinking with my friends every night and writing books and shit over elevensies.

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I always wonder what people like him do on their thrones all day. Do they just have to sit there? Is it like office hours? What do you do when you’re on a throne for ten hours?

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I like how they make them walk the entire length of the hallway before anyone says anything.

Colin:

Can anyone just waltz in here?

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“What up, Denethor?”

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If Denethor had a son and named him Jon, would he be Jon… Steward?

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“Hail, Denethor, Son of Ecthelion, Lord and Steward of Gondor. I come with tidings in this dark hour – and with counsel.”

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Colin:

He got more of a response out of Theoden in the last film. This guy has nothing to say.

He knows.

Also, I like that he has steps to his throne.

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Colin:

Someone broke my trumpet!

“Perhaps you’ve come to explain this. Perhaps you’ve come to tell me why my son is dead.”

Colin:

Or killed his son. Ooops.

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“Boromir died to save us.”

Which is always what you want to say. “You know that son you loved above all else? He died to save me.” Now it’s, “Well what makes you worth it?”

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“Motherfucker, did I NOT just tell you…”

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“I offer you my service.”

Colin:

Pippin’s a fucking moron.

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“This fucking idiot…”

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Reaction shots are the key to comedy.

Because how else do you react when a midget shows up and offers to work for you?

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Gandalf says, “What the fuck, man? You’re in charge of this shit. Where the fuck are the armies?”

Colin:

Gandalf’s like, “Fuck you, we have real problems.”

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“You think you are wise, Mithrandir.”

I love that he has a different nickname in every city. He’s Mithrandir in the city and Gandalf in the country.

The Importance of Being Gandalf.

Colin:

And of course they have their own name for Gandalf. Cause Gandalf has 37 names.

(“Try not to get any names on the way through the parking lot!”)

But yeah, Denethor thinks Gandalf is trying to supplant him. He knows about Aragorn.

Which is funny, since, he’s basically saying, “I know the rightful heir to this throne is with you, but I want to keep it.” The word steward is in your title, this is not something that’s yours by right. You lucked into shit.

Colin:

This guy is paranoid, but also not.

That’s Shiho’s autobiography title.

What kind of sense of entitlement is that, though, to think, “Oh, well, the rightful heir hasn’t shown up for a while, so rightfully, this shit is mine”? Plus, your son is dead, and you hate the other one, so what the fuck do you care? It’s not like he’s gonna throw you out on your ass. You still get the second best table and wealth and power for your family forever.

Colin:

I’d probably have an issue with Aragorn myself if I were him. As an older dude, that is. Faramir’s cool with Aragorn, and as a result, he gets named Prince of Ithilen and leads the armies and all this shit. AND he stays steward, so when Aragorn’s off doing whatever it is he does, Faramir leads. So he’s not the supreme ruler, but in terms of titles and overall baller-ness, yielding to Aragorn got him promoted. Plus they can just be buds. But Denethor has been working at this shit all his motherfucking life and probably isn’t too popular. He must be clinging to whatever he’s got.

Those hair extensions, too.

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“Authority is not given to you to deny the return of the king — steward.”

TITLE DIALOGUE!

I love when movies work their title into the dialogue. Especially if there’s a subtitle involved.

Colin:

Apparently you can say “steward” the way most jerks say “Jew.”

Or like Maggie Smith says Slytherin.

Way to say steward like an asshole, Gandalf.

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“He is not back!”

“I’m not at home!”

“The rule of Gondor is mine!”

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I love these two shots back to back. The first is imposing, the second makes him look like an idiot.

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Now don’t you feel good about pledging your service?

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I like this. You know Gandalf is figuring out how to do shit himself.

Colin:

Someone took the time to dirty up the hem of Gandalf’s robes. Good work.

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So I guess that’s what happens when you spend ten years in Bolivia you’re on a throne all day. Get b paranoid.

Colin:

More people named Strother.

Amen.

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Colin:

So I guess you pissed off the steward, but you still get a sexy ass pad with a sweet balcony? How does that work? Is this a legit hotel? Is Gandalf paying for this? They just show up in a city and expect to be provided for?

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Pippin’s nervous. He doesn’t want to fight. But he’s more nervous about knowing a battle is coming.

Colin:

Waiting on the edge of one you can’t escape is not worse. The actual battle is way worse. You’re just saying that. And you’re full of shit.

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“Is there any hope, Gandalf, for Frodo and Sam?”

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“There never was much hope.”

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“Just a fool’s hope.”

I get it. Because he’s a fool.

Colin:

I don’t get this. In the book it’s explained more clearly, but in the film, he just pledges himself to the steward, gets shut up and then runs away with Gandalf. Does Denethor even remember this? Did he tell someone to go find Pippin and give him some hobbit-sized gear? Or did Pippin follow up with this and go to the armory to tell them that he’d pledged himself to Gondor? Cause I doubt that the armorers would be cool with just giving out a bunch of their shit to some rando who shows up asking for it without a letter of introduction or anything. This is one of those continuity things where we see Point A and Point B, but no logical path between them.

Pretty sure this place moves at a slower pace. Like, “I pledge myself to you.” “All right. Come back in a couple of days and we’ll find some shit for you to do.” It’s like trials. “How do you plead?” “Not guilty.” “Great. We’ll start shit in like, two months. Even though we have everything we need to start right now.”

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“Our enemy is ready.”

Is the enemy’s body ready?

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He’s got legions from the south.

Colin:

Of course Sauron has the support of the South. As we’ve all known for our entire lives, the South is mostly an evil place. But the food’s good so we keep it around.

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Mercenaries from the coast.

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Hey kids, it’s Peter Jackson!

Colin:

I think this was supposed to go two shots earlier.

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“This will be the end of Gondor as we know it.”

And I feel fine.

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So gorgeous.

And somehow this is the movie that wasn’t nominated for cinematography.

Colin:

This is what I love most about the Alps. Driving through Austria and Switzerland, you’ll come around a bend or out of a tunnel, and there’ll just be a huge fucking meadow and a lake or something, with a village smack dab in the middle, and then in the background, it’s just MOUNTAINS, BITCH. The whole place is gorgeous. 

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“Here the hammer stroke will fall hardest. If the river is taken, if the garrison at Osgiliath falls, the last defense of this city will be gone.”

Colin:

I’m wondering why the garrison at Osgilliath is even so important. It’s a flat plain with a river running through the middle, and we see later that the orcs aren’t even using bridges. They cross by boat. Couldn’t you do that where there’s no city, and then surround the city to take it down easily? It’s not like anyone even lives in Osgilliath. I’m pretty sure you could cross down river a little bit, assemble your huge force BETWEEN Osgilliath and Minas Tirith, and the small garrison in the city would be completely cut off from supplies. You wouldn’t even have to fight them, really. Starve them out. I should be the orc commander. I’d fuck this place UP.

Ever notice how in fantasy stuff like this, the various races follow the same archetypes? Blizzard got this down with the Starcraft and Warcraft series, Starcraft being the simplest. There are humans, a race of mysterious, intelligent beings, and the seemingly mindless horde of alien creatures that swarm at you with incredible numbers. The Protoss are totally the elves — they’re strong and have psychic abilities, but they’re few in number and get overwhelmed. The Zerg are just like orcs in that they’ll throw numbers at you and don’t really worry about losses.

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“But we have the white wizard. That’s got to count for something.”

Colin:

Why you have to bring color into this?

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“Sauron has yet to reveal his deadliest sin. The one who will lead Mordor’s armies in war. The one they say no living man can kill. The Witch King of Angmar.”

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“Say what now?”

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I love how we just cut to him getting ready. For no reason at all. But it’s great.

Colin:

I like that he’s the one who smacks Theoden around. Cause here’s a REAL king who can get his shit on before a battle without whining and being dressed by his cowardly lieutenant named fucking GAMLING.

Theoden has a Gamling problem.

We all know it.

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“You’ve met him before. He stabbed Frodo on Weathertop.”

I love that. I love when we find out we’ve met a major boss before, when we didn’t know they were a major boss. That’s one of my favorite reveals.

Colin:

How do you know he was the one who stabbed Frodo?

That is true. He wasn’t even there. He was too busy getting prison raped when his Isen-guard was down.

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“He is the lord of the Nazgul, the greatest of the nine. Minas Morgul is his lair.”

Colin:

I want a lair. I guess a lair is just your place, but you call it a lair.

No. There is a definite difference. If it’s just a place and you’re calling it a lair, you’re a loser and you probably live in a basement. You know when something is a lair. The key is that other people need to call it a lair, because once you do it, you become almost as bad as people who refer to places as “man caves.”

Colin:

That’s true. You don’t call it a lair. It’s understood to be a lair. It’s like how when my oldest brother was like a junior in high school (so I’d have been in the 4th grade — oh no! My head!) he appropriated the playroom we had in our house cause we were all old enough to not really use it for that anymore, and he put bookshelves up and a desk in it and table lamps and stuff in there. I know he referred to it as his “manly study” on at least a few occasions (which I feel is decidedly better than “man cave”), but we all just sort of knew it to be the room where he went to read books about vintage boats and shit. Which is pretty cool.

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So naturally that’s where they are.

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Imagine Gollum rolling a quarter over his knuckles like Jude Law in Road to Perdition.

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This is straight out of Oz, don’t nobody try to tell me different.

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Colin:

Minas Morgul used to be a Gondor city. But clearly some bad dudes took it over.

These guys, right?

I love how they’re just walking across the lawn. This is like having to walk past Boo Radley’s house in order to get home.

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Frodo has a real problem with lingering.

Colin:

Again, with Tolkien characters and their inability to control themselves.

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The Stairs of Cirith Ungol.

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I like how they call them stairs. That’s basically a ladder etched into the mountain.

Colin:

Those aren’t stairs. If you can’t get a sofa up or down it, I refuse to call it stairs.

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Colin:

Look at that. Those stairs give me nasty vertigo.

By the way, this is the Mountain of Shadow.

This is where “A Night on Bald Mountain” took place, I’m pretty sure.

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It’s hassa hassa time.

Colin:

(“It’s Hassa Hassa time! It’s Hassa Hassa time! It’s Daddy’s favorite show! It’s Daddy’s favorite show!”)

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Colin:

This is the upsetting part about all this — Frodo and Sam have been walking nonstop this whole time since the end of Fellowship of the Ring, and they’re RIGHT up the street from Gandalf and Pippin. Pippin, mind you, is the one who was taken to Fangorn Forest, was stuck in there wandering around with Treebeard, then hanging out at the Ent Moot, and then smoking up at Isengard. And only THEN did he go back to party at Edoras, and finally ride to Gondor. Notice how he’s taken a roundabout route and spend half the time smoking and drinking, and he’s a stone’s throw from Frodo and Sam, who’ve been chugging along constantly, practically starving themselves. Yeah, maybe Frodo and Sam shouldn’t have split from the group.

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You idiot.

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“Where the fuck is the beer?!”

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And a one, two, cha cha cha…

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Twister.

Colin:

I don’t know where that green light is coming from, but I like it.

Bruce Willis just told Leeloo he loves her.

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These two shots are great. The first on looks amazing, and then we cut to Gandalf like, “What the fuck?”

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I love that they keep cutting to this thing.

Colin:

Check out the Gene Simmons gargoyle.

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Now would be a good time to run.

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This is Gandalf’s moment to make his move.

Colin:

You know, I must apologize. In another article, I made the claim that this shot was erroneous; that they were looking at this beam of light coming from the north instead of the east. And here, it looks like it’s probably north, given the way they’d likely be facing from the city. Mea culpa.

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This is Gandalf’s “Don’t let’s ask for the moon,” moment.

Colin:

My coworker and I sometimes talk to each other in ridiculous Jimmy Stewart voices, cause why the hell would you not do that?

Just so we’re clear, people who don’t watch old movies, that line has nothing to do with Jimmy Stewart. It’s a great idea to do that, but I am very picky about making sure people are informed about old movies.

But you should all know that, since AFI has listed that as one of the top 100 most famous movie quotes of all time. (Not that you should buy into that sort of thing, but, on the other hand… we do remember what won Best Picture, so, believe it or not, titles do something.)

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Clearly Oz.

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Colin:

That’s a great way to puncture a wing.

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I guess that was just his alarm.

Colin:

Turns out this is coincidental; they’re headed out right now anyway, just as Frodo walks up to the bridge. It sure looks like one of those things where maybe Frodo crossed the seal while holding the Holy Grail, though, doesn’t it?

That is pretty strange, that they just happen to be heading out for war just as Frodo walks through the front gate.

Do you think he felt the ring? Because they said he feels it at all times? You’d think he’d know it was close and look around or something.

And if they weren’t about to go march on Gondor, would there be an alarm that went off when Frodo did that, or no?

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Frodo says he can feel the dude’s blade in his shoulder.

Colin:

He can feel his blade. ….ew?

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They have a little storm drain weakness too.

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This is actually where the Wicked Witch lived, though.

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Colin:

So, knowing that this used to be a city of Gondor, you have to question the decor? Did they evil up the place a lot, or…?

Honestly, they just added the green light.

Maybe to piss off Middle Earth Gatsby or something.

Since if you take away the perpetual darkness (which… there isn’t perpetual darkness here, is there? We just only see it at night. Mordor, I know. That place is evil. This place just seems like Gondor, but with a poor choice of lighting. Too much Uranium.)

Colin:

I dunno, cause it’s pretty much all dark when they’re on the stair, and I bet that took more than a day.

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Colin:

These orcs walk strangely. “Left, right, left, right, left, right…” It’s like they’re stomping something with each step. Who walks like that?

Nazis?

Colin:

I hate Illinois orcs.

It’s also really dark and they’re wearing helmets. Can they… Nazi, where they’re going?

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Love this shot. Love the way this place looks.

Colin:

This place’s features are arbitrarily pointy, and they totally work. Kinda like late 50s titties.

We should comment on architecture.

We should comment on everything.

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How big is this place, by the way? How did they fit an entire army in there? It’s like a clown car, almost.

Colin:

Uh, I dunno. Look at how high this part is, and how teeny the army looks from down there. I bet they fit in just fine, and I’m assuming there’s more to the interior than just what we can see. Like, Helm’s Deep looks like it could hold about 50 people.

I’m just thinking actual logistics. Like, people, places to sleep, maybe places to hang out, places to eat, toilets, all that. I’m just wondering how that structure lends itself to what we’re seeing.

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Imagine how much easier this all would be with cell phones.

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This seems dangerous. Maybe wait until they’ve gone.

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“The war is set. The pieces are moving.”

Always liked the war/chess metaphor. Especially when it extends to those little battle models they have in war rooms.

Colin:

Aw, I really want to have one of the holo ones like in Attack of the Clones. That really was sort of the high point of that movie for me.

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Gandalf has a task for Pippin.

Colin:

He says this like Shirefolk have multiple ways to show their worth.

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Oh, I am a fan of this little marketplace in between the stone walls, though.

I love the idea that you can leave your house and go down to the market and buy shit and not have to walk more than like, fifty feet.

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Pippin is going to light the beacon.

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Really like this shot.

It also reminds me of Diagon Alley, that first shot of Gringotts.

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This place can either be awesome or creepy as shit.

Colin:

I’d hang out here in a second.

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Oh, I like that. Silent boats coming in for an attack.

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Colin:

You’re being careful about not making noise, but you have like fifty dudes with torches. Even through fog, you would see a light coming off the water. That’s pretty obvious.

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Colin:

And the men of Gondor have heard you. Good.

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Colin:

NOW they make a shit ton of noise?

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Colin:

Why wait for them to pass? Now you’re surrounded.

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Colin:

Duck!

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Fight time.

Colin:

Faramir does work here, though.

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Yeah, this probably won’t end well.

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That is how you storm a place, though.

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This place is awesome, this shot is awesome, but you’re fucking crazy if you think I’d ever walk on that fucking thing without guardrails. Unless it was like, fifteen feet high. I can handle that.

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Colin:

That’s WAY too high up. Oh FUCK no.

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I like how he climbs up there like it’s nothing. I also like how they have wood and shit stacked, all ready to go. These beacons fascinate me. The whole concept of them, and everything about them. We’ll get to more in a second.

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Isn’t it more suspicious when you do that? Do you really think these soldiers give a fuck what you’re doing? They don’t know.

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Colin:

These guards are just drinking. Good job.

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That’s pretty great.

You know, if I could get that job right now, I’d take it. Put me in a remote location, babysitting something that almost never gets used, and I live in a little shack like that? Fuck, I’d do it in a second. Pay me money, give me internet and a phone signal (maybe not even that), and stock me up on food and booze. I’d move there TODAY.

Colin:

He ain’t lying, folks. He’ll do it. The best bet is one of those gigs manning a missile silo out in the middle of nowhere. You have to be ready to launch a nuke at pretty much any time, but other than that you can just chill.

And if there’s one thing I’d have no qualms about doing it’s launching a nuclear missile at pretty much any time.

Though I must have legitimate assurances that I will not be exposed to any chemicals or radiation. Since I am also about not dying, despite what my liver would suggest.

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Way to think that one through, Pippin.

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Colin:

Oh, they totally shat the bed on this one. Pippin just got some dudes fired.

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Love how this works.

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“Hmm.”

I like how he never does anything about this. Doesn’t banish Gandalf, doesn’t order Pippin to be killed — nothing. He just sits and eats chicken.

Colin:

He can only surmise that it was them. He can be PRETTY sure it was them (almost completely sure) but not perfectly sure, although when you’re steward I doubt you need to be PERFECTLY sure to have someone executed. I assume he’s too into his own shit to really give a damn.

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Beacons are such a great idea.

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Where do those guys have to sleep every day?

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Colin:

I like how they just need to get the shit started and there’s no stopping it.

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What do you think it’s like for the people who have to live near that beacon?

Do you think they live in the side of the mountain? That would be great.

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Colin:

They have a few dudes working at all of these places. That’s awesome. It’s only convenient because the only message is, “Help!” Some of these places seem a bit inhospitable, though. What if both dudes working at one of them died? What if one died and the other came down the mountain to ask for a replacement? It seems like they’re at a distance too, where if one of them messed up, it’d stop there.

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What’s your favorite beacon?

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The Beacon of Eilenach is my personal favorite beacon.

Colin:

Calenhad, bitches. Because:

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That’s cool. A beacon above the mist on the Misty Mountains.

Here’s an idea: Where in Middle Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?

She puts the Mis in Misty Mountains…

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This is very Japan.

Colin:

Eh, not in my eyes. I think it’s just the upward slant of those crossbeams and the U shape of the piece of wood on top of this structure that might remind you of a samurai’s helmet. This still looks very Norse to me, which makes sense cause I’m pretty sure that’s the motif they were going for.

I’ll rephrase:

This looks like what American movies think Japan looks like.

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Colin:

It had to be Aragorn.

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He was run-ning!

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It’s always awkward running up steps with that much space between them. My dorm used to have steps like that. And it was always a stride and a half to get up them, so either you had to overshoot it and almost trip or undershoot it and take a half-stride in between. Really annoying design.

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Also weird how there was nobody loitering about that he could tell so they could both rush up there.

Doesn’t Eowyn always hang out at the top of these steps?

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“The beacons are lit!”

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“Gondor calls for aid.”

Thought you ought to know.

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“And Rohan will answer.”

I always liked that line.

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That guy’s life must be interesting.

His only job is to ring a bell.

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“Muster as many men as you can. You have two days. On the third, we ride for Gondor. And war.”

What about sandwiches? Why do you never ride for sandwiches?

Colin:

I ride for Baby Boo.

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Colin:

You know, for a nation that was on the brink of collapse a week ago, they look to be in pretty damn good shape. I guess it’s all the bros that Eomer brought back.

Well, this is a nation of horsemasters. So when they all get banished, you figure their families are coming with them. But you figure the families go on Oregon Trail wagons and shit, since the guys gotta keep up appearances with their horse gang and shit. That’s probably why the place was so deserted last time.

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She’s gonna ride with them to the encampment.

“It’s tradition for the women of the court to say farewell to the men.”

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Uh huh.

Colin:

She’s bringing a sword — so what? Maybe there’s gonna be some shit along the way? Maybe she’s worried about her ride back to Edoras without an escort.

A lesser director would have had a scene where Eowyn was almost raped by two guys and fought them off with that sword.

You know they would have.

Colin:

I know of another franchise that we might get to in the near future that features a flashback of a second-tier female protagonist getting sexually assaulted.

(He means Spy Kids.)

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You guys remember that movie Just One of the Guys?

Colin:

The feudal system sucks.

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Multiple planes of action! I just nutted everywhere.

Colin:

That’s a lotta horsemasters.

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Oh yeah… lots of fighting here too. Most of it’s shot pretty close and doesn’t work well for screenshots.

Colin:

These orcs are runnin’ train on this garrison.

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Colin:

Nice work with the arrows. But you’re bleeding just a lil bit there, champ.

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Colin:

Oh, never mind. He got taken the fuck out anyway.

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It doesn’t go well for Gondor.

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You’re all so fucked.

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Colin:

You don’t want to be alive for this. I’d off myself before they got to me.

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That’s pretty great. Just shows up and harpoons a guy just because he can and because it fits with his point.

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“The age of men is over. The time of the orc has come.”

Colin:

What is wrong with your face?

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Beautiful.

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Ze Germans got there.

Colin:

That’s why I love WWII so much. WWI dogfights were still just this side of jousting. Air power during WWII was crazy. Shit got real.

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Colin:

It’s so perfect that they have a few miles of open plain to ride across. Tolkien was right to add some air power to the scenario. I bet if he hadn’t fought in WWI and witnessed the rise of air power in the world, this wouldn’t have gone down like it did. Eagles and flying Nazgul and stuff.

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And here’s Gandalf.

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Why would you bring Pippin with you?

Colin:

WHY WOULD YOU BRING PIPPIN?!

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Attention George Lucas — this is how you use wide shots.

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Wilhelm scream!

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Wow, it just picked up a guy AND a horse.

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Bowling for Gollumbine?

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That light protects against pretty much everything, doesn’t it?

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Colin:

What, are they afraid of UV, or something? Why do they fly away from the light?

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Colin:

This shot is amazing cause you might be looking at Gandalf’s light shining at them, or them flying away, or even the riders charging back to the city, but my eyes are fixated on all the black dots that are strewn over the plain, not moving anymore.

It’s like in Oregon Trail when you shoot like three buffalo even though only one is required to have enough meat to feed your party for two months.

America.

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I love how he turns to lead them in. Gandalf becomes a real general in this movie. Kind of like what Lucas did to Yoda in his trilogy, only, here, we actually see some shit.

Gandalf really takes control of Gondor for a while.

I guess you can say he took the… reins, of Gondor.

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Nice doors.

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Nice courtyard.

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Is this where they all gather after a raid?

Where did they put all the bags?

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Go home Pippin, you are drunk.

Colin:

Faramir seems to know Gandalf, too. How are they acquainted?

Everybody knows Mithrandir. All the great party stories involve him.

You didn’t hear about the time Mithrandir pissed on the chapel steps?

Colin:

Oh man. I wanna do that now.

I love how that started as something we made up to tell someone they did after they blacked out, and then it became something someone actually did as a joke for the person who we told did it, and then it just became a thing we did because that was the joke.

I peed everywhere on that campus.

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“This is not the first Halfling to cross your path.”

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“You’ve seen Frodo and Sam?”

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“In Ithilien, not two days ago.”

Colin:

Right, so see how Frodo and Sam passed through here like a day before Pippin showed up? And Pippin’s been partying his ass off this whole time.

I am the Peregrin Took of college.

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“Gandalf, they’re taking the road to the Morgul Vale.”

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“And then the pass of Cirith Ungol. Faramir, tell me everything.”

I love these last three shots. Make it four shots. Look at the progression. Faramir has stone face, Gandalf is pleased. Faramir has same face, Gandalf is sad.

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The only time I’ve had to do this when climbing stairs, I was beyond blackout drunk.

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How are they not dead already?

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Colin:

Oh HELL no. The worst part of this is, there’s no taking a break for anything. You can’t stop to sleep until you get to a flat spot. Once you’ve started up, you have to continue.

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The armies are still marching down there too. Does that mean this is a really big army or does it mean that they’re really fucking fast climbers?

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“Come to Smeagol.”