Fun with Franchises: The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King (2003), Part IV — “America”
Today we continue with another entry in our Fun with Franchises series, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Part V.
In case you don’t know how this works — a while back, I decided to rank my favorite Disney movies and rank my favorite James Bond movies. And the Disney ones were mostly straight synopses and not too much fun, but when I got to Bond, I enlisted the help of my friend Colin (whose blog is TokyoRemix.com. Fuck yeah, promotion!), who knows everything about the Bond franchise that I do not, for those articles, and along the way, learned how to have fun with it. And, by the end of the Bond articles, we were having so much fun that I said, “Man, we have to do this again with other stuff.” Because I spent about a straight month and a half putting together those articles. That’s how much time and effort actually goes into something like that. And not once did it feel like work. It was so much fun that I knew, as long as we were doing it for comedy purposes and able to riff off of each other — we could do pretty much any film and it would work.
And very quickly, the first ones you come up with are the major franchises, because those are not only the most fun, but also the most universally known. Everyone’s gonna understand all the jokes we make (well… most of them. Some of them might be limited to three people) about them. So that’s what we’re doing. And if you’re gonna have fun with franchises, it wouldn’t be right if you didn’t franchise it. Also, just so we’re clear, this is all for parody. We’re just messing with them because we love them.
And that’s Fun with Franchises. Right now, we’re doing the Lord of the Rings franchise, and today is the fourth part of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King:
We begin Part IV in Mordor. Finally.
Pretty sure this is where the book actually begins, so this brought back memories.
There’s something you don’t see more than like, every other day.
Look at his little outie!
If I were him, I’d just be laying there like, “I just got stabbed by a giant spider. How am I not bleeding internally? Is there still a hole in my stomach? What is this shit on my face? It feels like Spider-Man jizzed all over me. Which is funny, since people confuse me with Tobey Maguire all the time. And we both wanted to bang Kirsten Dunst in separate movies that year. That’s funny. Though technically that year won’t be til next year. Is this a bowline knot? I think I have ADD. Do you guys smell toast? Who am I talking to? I wonder how big my dick is compared to other races. Maybe that’s what “hung like a hobbit” means.
But that’s just me.
And they’re just looting his shit.
“You think this is my size?”
And now they’re fighting over it.
Bitches do love a shiny shirt.
I love that this orc has gray hair. He’s the Tim Gunn of Mordor.
Spider’s caught itself a couple of flies.
Now that’s a shiv.
What if you took that out and threatened somebody with it? You think they’d be more inclined to listen to you or less inclined?
Also, look at the cool/warm contrast going on here. I guess the orc is cool because he lives in darkness and rocks, and the uruk is warm because he was birthed from a mud cocoon.
That’s cool, I never noticed that. It’s nice when they give you that extra touch.
The great thing about this scene that they don’t really explain in the movie is that the reason they’re fighting is because these are two different kinds of orcs, and there’s a weird discrimination that happens between the different tribes or whatever. It’s almost like a Do the Right Thing or something, between orcs.
(Now there’s an idea.)
I remember reading that part in the book and going, “Wow, that’s such a great bit of detail,” since that’s what would happen. Infighting and shit. It’s like Blazing Saddles – “All right, we’ll save some land for the niggers and chinks, but we don’t want the Irish!”
The race relations in this universe are interesting as hell, more so than I think all others.
That’s the problem with orcs, though, isn’t it? They have no discipline and fight amongst themselves too much. And this little squabble is actually sort of a racial thing — the little one is a Morgul orc, coming from the Morgul Vale where the Witch King lives. The bigger one is an uruk-hai and doesn’t report to the same people. He’s a stronger sort of orc and seems to resent the Morgul orcs. The good guys don’t even really have this problem, but the orcs are prone to infighting, as we’re about to see.
Don’t you hate those Morgul Valley girls?
I like how he is just listening to all of this. They’re fighting over a fucking shirt.
(And probably who gets to rape him.)
Also, isn’t the notion that he’s here because someone’s gonna interrogate him? Or do they just figure they have a prisoner, and they’ll take his shit and kill him? Either way, really. I’m just curious, because I forget.
Nice save. That would be a badass move in a Jackie Chan scene. He falls like that and propels himself back up and sort of bowstrings back and forth while also fighting guys.
“This is MORDOR!”
That’s pretty great, to be able to kick someone like that. Stomping someone in a movie is always pretty entertaining.
I really like this shot.
Does Mordor have hospitals?
Because he’s gonna need one.
And now everyone’s like, “What the fuck was that?”
You didn’t think this plan through very well at all.
Either that or I bet he still thinks he can take them all. Since they’re just pussy little Morgul Vale orcs.
This is great. Now they’re all fighting – I completely buy all of this.
This is also great, when something goes down and everyone immediately knows who’s on whose side as they start the fight. Shit just erupts into instant chaos. If you haven’t seen the 1939 Errol Flynn movie Dodge City, it has one of the greatest chaotic fight scenes ever.
(Something they sort of borrowed for Tokyo Drifter, too. The general idea, anyway.)
Drop kick out a fucking window.
And now even more people are in on it.
This is totally like Dodge City, cause these two dudes started a fight and now everyone else that’s related to them are fighting against each other. Nice to know someone’s got your back.
Said Buffalo Bill’s third victim.
It’s a Race Riot, Charlie Brown!
Here comes Sam, waltzing right up.
Shouldn’t that blade be glowing right now?
Is it weird that I really want to live in a place like this? Like, dark, stony, all that. And I swear, I’m not emo — I actively dislike emo people. It’s just appealing to me because it’s dark and looks like a chill place to hang out.
It’s a shithole, though. I think that’s where I draw the line. I like the general design, but I see this place and think, “Damn shame what they did to that dog.” And then, Edoras — the people are peasants, but the rooms are nice. And they all have meat and beer parties all the time, so it’s really just peasant clothing. Maybe introduce them to some Ralph Lorien and some showers — we’re good. So as much as I want to like this place, I don’t think I’d ever want to live there. Too “crackhouse” for me.
My door would never be locked in a place like this. Even if it was.
Oh, no — I’d sweep the place out and wash it or whatever. And once you did that and threw up torches everywhere and stuff, I bet it’d be sick.
Torches are cool. But then you’re basically making a hood version of Gondor.
WHY DOESN’T MIDDLE EARTH HAVE PROJECTS?
Though that is a way to keep the neighbors away.
He just waltzes through the front door.
It’s nice seeing the random confluence of events that led to him being able to do this.
But what do you think he’s thinking right now?
Look at this place. That’s awesome. I would make this such a sweet bachelor pad. Get me some wireless internet and I’m good.
All of our first apartments were like this.
Aren’t we still in our first apartments? I’m in mine, anyway. And it’s Japan, so there are no dead bodies. Just tentacles.
I picture tentacles coming out of the wall like in Resident Evil 2, at the police station.
I like how he just knows Frodo is there.
Either that or he just wants to kill some fucking orcs.
This looks like the fat dancer from Return of the Jedi is charging.
I’m astounded by how spot-on that observation was. Ladies and gentlemen, join me in being floored at how perfect that fits.
If only they let me put all my skills on my resume.
All of their faces are incredible.
There are little cubby holes everywhere.
I will say, though — if I could make my walls look like this, I would. But not rock. That gets too cold. Juts make the walls look like stone with cracks and shit just like this. I’d go for that.
There’s imagery here, isn’t there?
I like how they’re all scared for a moment but then are like, “Wait, that’s it?”
Well, he started out with the right idea, but they stood their ground, and now you look like an asshole.
“That’s for Frodo!”
If there’s one request I could ask of all of you, it’s that, one day, you dedicate a shiv to me.
I want someone to dedicate a shiv to me.
You’d have to let the person live, though, cause the whole point of dedicating something (like a tree) to someone else is that they can then go see it. So they’d let him live, tell you, “Okay, he’s a big guy named Twan. Lives on East 118th. He’s got a limp. Now.” And you’d go, find him, and go, “Twan? Twan! Remember when you got shivved? Well I’M MIKE!”
The nicest thing I got dedicated to me was a bench in my hometown. During college, a friend was working for the city over the summer, so he had a plaque engraved with “The Colin [my last name] Memorial Bench,” and put it on a bench outside the Town Hall. People walking by think I’m dead, and it’s caused confusion with some friends’ parents. I love it.
I wonder what (else) I’d want dedicated to me. I wouldn’t want a bench or a street or something. It would probably have to be something booze related. Or one of those things no one would ever think to have dedicated to them. That’s what I’d do. Find the most random shit and have them dedicate it to me.
Like those random bars in certain toilet stalls (not always handicapped), for getting up? I’d want one of those dedicated to me. That’s the kind of shit I’m into.
“And for the Shire!”
It’s pretty amazing how all of a sudden he can defeat battle-hardened orcs in single combat without much difficulty. You’d think they’d just destroy him.
“And that’s for my old Gaffer!”
Which is basically just Sam’s “YAHH BITCH!”
Weird how no one else was left alive in this place.
That’s a pretty high tower. You’d be kinda winded by by the time you got to the top.
Aww… just like a princess.
There’s a shot.
Just like a princess.
“I’m gonna bleed you like a stuck pig.”
Is that the original orc who got pushed down through the hole? He’s the only one left alive? How is that possible?
Because everyone assumed he was already dead. And I think he only fell down a few levels. Since that guy who got knocked out of the window, he went all the way down. I think he was more like — from the 26th floor to the 23d floor. And maybe down some steps. That’s not so bad. And I bet everyone figured he was dead, so he was ignored.
PCP. The real answer is PCP.
Bill Nighy, though. Right?
Is that the, “Wait, somebody got stabbed other than me?” face?
Oooh, Mr. Frodo’s showing a little more skin than we’re used to in this franchise. Other than Gollum. But now that I think of it, this has to be one of the most clothed franchises out there. Harry Potter might be a close second, but not quite like this.
There’s gonna be another really clothed franchise coming up soon. Three of them, actually.
Actually, most of these franchises are pretty clothed.
The way he gets stabbed and tenses up will always remind me of Go Go Yubari and her would-be lover boy. Which is so great. Especially if you get it without subtitles, cause it’s just that little bit more direct and perverted. I love Chiaki Kuriyama.
“Not if I stick you first.”
What’s that lampshade?
There’s always one of these in an action movie, it seems. The moment someone comes out of nowhere to save someone else.
The problem with this one, though, is that we know Sam is alive and is coming up for Frodo. So you’re not cheering or anything. You’re just sort of expected to go along with the moment, even though it’s not particularly surprising in any way.
Now, in the book, I feel like we haven’t kept any tabs on Sam until this point. I feel like we start with Frodo here, coming out of his spider coma, realizing he’s in Mordor and these orcs are rooting around his shit. And then he tries to not let them know he’s awake, because they’ll kill him, and then they start fighting and all that, and then the one guy comes up and Sam kills him, and you’re like, “Yeah, Sam!”
Why is Sting all shiny and clean after going through that orc?
It’s been lacquered.
“It’s too late. It’s over. They’ve taken it.”
I like that they did the makeup for his nasty scar from being stabbed on Weathertop. Sometimes movies will forget this shit and it becomes a continuity error to be picked up on my people like Mike and myself who are either too observant or have too much free time (or both) for our own good.
This is why I’ll be great at movies. Because I think about continuity like this, so I’ll be able to keep all this shit in my head.
I’m the person who gets annoyed when we have a master shot, shot/reverse shot dialogue scene, and they cut from one person doing their close-up to the wide shot, and it clearly doesn’t match the action that was going on. Like, they’ll be really expressive in the close-up, and then it’ll be the over the shoulder on them and the other person’s close up and they’ll just be sitting there because it’s not their turn to talk. I can’t stand that.
“Begging your pardon but they haven’t.”
The “Beggin’ your pardon, but…” is glorious. I want to use this more. But like, in a douchier way.
This is why Sam’s awesome. Only, you have to wonder how Frodo didn’t realize that whole time that he didn’t have it. I guess after he sent Sam home, he was distraught about that, and before long he was distracted by Shelob and then Gollum and then unconscious.
The real question is — remember how Gollum was awake the whole time and keeping an eye on everything even as Sam was starting to fall asleep? When did Sam swipe the ring and how was he able to do so without Frodo OR Gollum catching him in the act? It’s impressive.
Hobbit sounds remarkably similar to pickpocket, and somehow I can’t find a way to combine the two words without diluting either of them.
I like the red.
“I thought I’d lost you. So I took it.”
I want to see the shot of him reaching under the spider cocoon and taking it out.
“Give it to me.”
This is brilliant. They put the heartbeat pulsing sound effect back in and immediately you’re brought back to the Smeagol vs. Deagol fight. That’s what this is supposed to be, or so you think. I love it that all it took was a gripping sound effect for them to drive home exactly what’s at stake during this moment. It’s such a simple thing, but it sends the tension through the roof.
“You must understand. The ring is my burden.”
Just like Harry. What is that shit?
I get if you’re gonna say, “The ring is my burden because I don’t want to make anyone else go through this. Plus, the more people that wear it, the more fucked we are, because the more people are gonna be affected by it. So let me do it, and if something happens, kill me and get rid of the fucking thing.” That, I get. But the whole, “No, I must be the one who suffers silently!” thing. We said it in Order of the Phoenix. It’s complete horse shit.
I do hate that. It’s why Harry must die.
What about Romeo?
Seriously though…I never really thought about it until now and never really wanted to think this way, but Sam is the one that keeps it together the whole time and makes sure shit goes right. Everyone owes him big time.
Plus he fucks the hot town midget.
Complete 180 from Ron.
Plus he has a soul.
Yeah, but I think we can agree that Harry Potter was far-fetched to begin with. I mean, a ginger with TWO friends? Yeah, sure!
Now they’re dressed as orcs. This reminds me of Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver, where you infiltrate the Radio Tower by getting a Team Rocket uniform and disguising yourself. This didn’t happen in the original Gold, Silver and Crystal games. The best part was that in the remakes, the first Pokemon in your party followed you as you walked around, so when I was in my all-black Team Rocket outfit, I’d put my red Gyarados at the front of my party and go around being scary looking. It was pretty awesome. Mostly the highlight of that whole generation of Pokemon. Remakes are great.
We seriously need to do Pokémon articles like this. Imagine the amount of shit we’d have to talk about. Pretty sure our riffing and random discussions would go on for pages with that.
“We did it, Mr. Frodo. We made it to Mordor.”
That’s…a fuck ton of orcs. Why aren’t any of those orcs being sent to fuck up Gondor? Seems like Gondor and Rohan are pretty much the only places that need fucking up before you can take almost complete control of Middle-Earth…Rohan’s at the battle for Gondor, so why not send this huge force to go fuck them all up in one swift stroke (as Peter Cushing would say)?
It does seem weird that he’d keep all these reserves here. But maybe it’s cause he senses the ring is coming to him and wants all available people there to intercept whoever has it.
It’s funny to me that no one ever questions orc midgets.
That color and those clouds look like they came out of one of the Matrix or later Potter title cards.
“Frodo has passed beyond my sight.”
And yet you had to ask Faramir if he was still alive?
What exactly can you see at this range?
This is a strange conversation. Gandalf says it’s only a matter of time before Sauron has the ring. Which is pretty defeatist. And the way Aragorn says, “If Sauron had the ring, we would know it,” makes it seem like he’s annoyed with Gandalf’s attitude.
“Ten thousand orcs now stand between Frodo and Mount Doom.”
Wait, that’s only 10,000? The film version of the battle that just took place had like 200,000 orcs and other bad guys on top of that. This is a puny force compared to what just got defeated. Of course, you shouldn’t have released your ghost dudes from their oath, but I don’t want to beat a dead army.
But seriously. Those ghosts could have wiped out Mordor in like, five minutes, and then Sauron would have had to sit there and watch his ring get destroyed.
He should have altered the deal. “You do one fight. Your souls get to rest. You do one more battle, and you’ll be honored as heroes forever more, and you get extra ghost pussy in the afterlife.”
Ooh, a package deal! I like package deals. They should have done that.
“I’ve sent him to his death.”
Not Sam, though, right? Sam doesn’t matter.
Also, wasn’t this the initial feeling you had when he said he would go? Where was this sentiment a movie and a half ago?
Aragorn says there’s still hope. They just need time. And they can give them that.
They’re gonna get everyone and march on the Black Gate.
It’s weird that Aragorn should come up with this plan when Gandalf is left with no ideas.
I think it’s because Gandalf isn’t one to march people to their deaths and Aragorn is like, “Fuck it, this is what has to be done.”
They won’t survive, but they can give Frodo a chance if Sauron is watching them and nothing else.
The best part of this is Gimli sitting in the bitch ass steward’s chair. The guy’s dead, so fuck it.
HA HA HA HA HA. That’s all he does.
Thanks for that two word summary, Legolas. Seriously, when you’re fighting, I like you. Any other time…how worthless can a character get?
“Sauron will expect a trap. He will not take the bait.”
But then he does.
So… what’s that about?
“Certainty of death, small chance of success… what are we waiting for?”
I love Gimli.
Gimli’s that guy who just accepts that he’s gonna get shit on. Mr. Eh What the Hell.
Aragorn’s got Gondor armor on now. Well well well.
I like that the zipper goes up the middle of the tree.
That sounds like a weird addition to emo kids’ cutting rules. Down the road, not across the street, and the zipper goes up the middle of the tree.
I love it when they say they’re cutting “to feel something.” Slam their hand in a car door ten times. They’ll feel something.
Their work here is done.
Where are all the corpses? They’re burning the siege towers and stuff, but this whole place should be riddled with corpses.
What are they eating?
Where do all these orcs get their food? Cause…nothing grows here. That’s almost guaranteed.
One of those looks like Dobby.
That’s… a lot of orcs.
And they just have to stand there every day, fighting for food.
This is Soviet Russia, isn’t it?
And they’re all marching out.
I like that they have torches at the ready.
“You see, Mr. Frodo. Some luck at last.”
That is cool, though. I want to walk through a field of giant rocks.
I like different camera angles like this.
See? This is why you could have just killed Gollum the minute he brought you to those stairs. Since — up the stairs, through the tunnel, in Mordor, walk to the volcano. It’s weird that you needed directions to begin with, when this entire place is built on maps.
Plus, for like 2/3 of the franchise, we’ve been able to see Mordor somewhere on the horizon. The dark place that glows red.
Just like Lana Turner.
For a second, I thought Pippin was just laying over the side of that horse.
The Black Gate.
You have to love that this place is so feared that they don’t even bother putting people out front.
If there’s no water anywhere, how do any of the orcs survive?
Also, isn’t there a line in the books that says they drank the Mordor water, knowing it was probably poisoned? I feel like that was something they said. “I wouldn’t drink that, it’s poisoned.” And then Sam drank it and was like, “Fuck, that tastes horrible.”
See? Sam’s still got water left and everything. He’s totally better than Frodo, although I think it’s more that he’s better at being a servant or helper than Frodo is at being whatever he is. Sam can be trusted to come through with shit. It’s weird how I always thought of him as mostly worthless, cause I’ve changed my opinion of him completely.
I SAW DROPS FALLING OUT THAT DIDN’T GO IN YOUR MOUTH WASTER OF WATER
“There will be none left for the return journey.”
“I don’t think there will be a return journey, Mr. Frodo.”
Oh no, now even Sam’s given in. Now it’s gotta be done.
How are there still 53 minutes left of this movie?
Well, you’re here. Now what?
I guess they gotta ride up.
Wouldn’t it be funny if Sauron just stonewalled them and didn’t do anything?
Uh oh. Frodo’s doing the Maximus groping. Did Joaquin Phoenix stab him in the side?
Do you guys remember Gladiator? That movie was the shit. That movie came out when I was ten and a half, and between that and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, I couldn’t imagine how life could get any better. Remember when those movies were new? Aw, man.
Does the Eye feel the ring or is it just scanning because that’s what it does?
Idea: The Great Escape, but in Mordor.
These three shots are AMAZING.
Frodo looking sideways at the eye. The eye going, “What the fuck are you looking at?” and then this face.
This would make a great meme.
Jeez. He fell funny.
His faces in these movies are incredible.
WHY IS YOUR FUCKING HEAD UP SAM?
So, does he not see them because of the rocks or is he just supposed to see two bodies? It’s not at all, right? Since, if they just dropped and the rocks weren’t there, then he’d just see two little midget bodies and send people over to investigate.
Because if I saw two midget bodies — I’m going to check that shit out.
Doesn’t it look like Gandalf has a tail?
Does he not?
Like this shot too.
Peter Jackson is better when he doesn’t move the camera and doesn’t load his frame with special effects.
The first two movies annoyed me with the camera movement. This one’s doing better.
Seriously, though. This is how I picture North Korea.
You think I’m making a joke, but I’m not.
“Can Sauron come out?”
Wouldn’t any orcs on top of this gate fire arrows down at them and fuck up the leaders all at once? Orcs aren’t honorable. That’s a legit concern. But apparently nothing happens. Even though we saw the Black Gate in the last film, and it was covered with orcs who had bows.
Also, moments like these always makes me think of The Warriors, which then makes me think of the Flava in Ya Ear Remix, which then makes me think of the Chappelle’s Show Making the Band sketch. So I’m watching them ride up to the North Korean wall, and I’m saying, “Breaaaast milllllk! You made my day-ay!”
Wait, didn’t they take Frodo’s clothes? Wasn’t that the whole reason they put on the orc clothes? Now both of them are in Shire shirts (Shirets?) again.
“Let the lord of the black land come forth. Let justice be done upon him.”
I don’t like the idea of justice being done “upon” someone.
Reminds me too much of a bunch of frat guys jerking off over a sleeping girl.
(Or… supreme court justices.)
This is a really cool gate, though.
The eye is distracted.
All you need is some entrance music, and you guys are set.
Yo, orcs… shoot them.
So why did they ride up there? To parlay or something?
Presumably, yes, since originally, there was that whole other moment I’m going to talk about in a second. Here it just seems weird. You’d think the army marching to your gate would get your attention, and not, “Yo, come out and meet justice.”
So, this whole time…has it just been Sauron’s spirit? Is the eye his spirit? Does he have a body and he’s just controlling that eye? How does he command his people to do shit? Is it telepathy? Isn’t he at the stage where he can be on the back of Quirrell’s head yet?
“Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me.”
… if I weren’t a badass. Is the rest of that sentence that you don’t hear.
“A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day.”
NOT ON THIS DAY!
I like how Gandalf is just chilling on a horse. “Fuck it. I did my general-ing. It’s this motherfucker’s turn.”
“An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down, but it is not this day. This day we fight!”
Also, you’ve been fighting like, every day.
“For all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!”
Well, that part makes sense.
Decent pep talk. Much better than Theoden’s from earlier. The only problem is that he’s talking to the guys in the first three rows. Pretty much everyone else is kind of terrified cause they couldn’t hear you.
But yes, Men of the West. Fuck the Soviets.
Why is Mordor just standing there. Put a fucking arrow in him. Why would you let him stand there and make a speech? Why would you respect the rules of warfare?
Man, they got to Mount Doom quickly.
Obi Wan and Anakin are fighting just over there.
I love this shot. They’re just walking all the fuck around them.
See, if this is me, I’m not too dead to do this. I see that I’m so close and get extra energy. Because I know, when I’m done, I ain’t gotta do shit no more.
Hey, listen. That pipe flute bullshit is back.
All it took to muster strength was the “Concerning Hobbits” leitmotif?
I was gonna chastise Sam for not being able to move anymore, but you know what? He gave Frodo his last drops of water. So… he has an excuse.
Well that didn’t last very long.
Oh. Y’all are surrounded. Had to be said.
“Never thought I’d die fighting side by side with an elf.”
“What about side by side with a friend?”
“Aye. I can do that.”
Aw, are we gonna get some elf on dwarf? Always wondered what a dwelf would look like. Still, you realize that the only reason that Legolas and Gimli are such good buddies is that they’ve been constantly surrounded by men, and so they’re pretty consistently the only two ‘ethnics’ of whatever group they’re in.
I want to be referred to as an “ethnic” once. With quotes. It only works with quotes.
“Mister Frodo, stop eating dirt.”
Frodo and Sam suck at climbing and being conscious.
“Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo?”
Does anybody remember laughter?
What the fuck do you mean, “Do you remember the Shire?” You’re fucking FROM the Shire. You’ve lived there for 50 years! (Reminder, Frodo was 50 when he set out to Bree.)
“It’ll be spring soon.”
This is like Tom Hanks talking to Wilson.
“The orchards will be in blossom.”
You can take the boy out of the garden…
“And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket.”
This sounds like code. This sounds like something you tell your boys at a bar. “The birds are nesting in the hazel thicket.”
His bird’s gonna be nesting in Rosie’s hazel thicket in about six months.
“And we’ll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields.”
That sounds like code, too. “Sowing the summer barley in the lower fields.”
He’ll be sowing the summer barley in Rosie’s lower fields in about six months.
“And eating the first summer strawberries with cream.”
He’ll be eating the first summer… no, I lost it.
Why the fuck are the strawberries something you look forward to? Why is liquor not a part of it?
Though we do love strawberries. Don’t we, Shiho?
Strawberries with cream. I do love strawberries. Mmm. I only hope he isn’t referring to a sex act with Ron Weasley.
“Do you remember the taste of strawberries?”
No, but I could eat a peach for hours.
“No, Sam. I can’t recall the taste of food.”
That’s the most sensible thing I’ve heard in a while. “No, motherfucker. I can’t remember strawberries. All we’ve had to eat for a year is elf bread and water.”
“Nor the sound of water.”
That seems like a weird thing to forget.
“Or the touch of grass.”
All right, I can go with that.
“I’m naked in the dark.”
That sounds like a sext.
And then Frodo says some shit about being able to see Sauron, and Sam’s like, “Well let’s fucking get rid of this thing, then.”
“Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you!”
INTO THE WEST LEITMOTIF!
So Sam has already been a ring-bearer for a short period of time; now he’s the first ever ring-bearer bearer.
How come Middle Earth doesn’t have bears?
But let’s not beat around the bush. This is awesome because it’s a midget carrying a midget.
What if they got hit by a car right now?
(Scary Movie 9.)
Volcanos are cool.
No they’re not.
You should just charge straight ahead, all of you, wipe out the group right by the gate, run inside and then open this shit up.
Look at Legolas’s face.
Legolas is looking with his head tilted. That’s funny.
Gandalf looks exactly like Dumbledore after he drank the pain potion.
Might as well, right? If you’re gonna die, die fighting.
He meant ‘fucking.’
Wouldn’t that be a fun way to march on the Black Gate.
This is a beautiful moment. Kind of works better when you don’t cut out what came immediately before it, which is the dude coming out and being like, “Hey, guess what? They’re already dead,” and tossing Frodo’s shit (mithril and whatever) on the ground, and everyone being sad, and Aragorn going, “Fuck it, I’m going anyway.” But you know, whatever.
I don’t know how to feel about this. I guess it’s pretty awesome. I like how there’s almost zero warning. He just steps out, turns and smiles, says the line and peaces. If it were me, I’d have been like, “Okay, so on ‘three,’ right? One…two…hang on, are the archers set? I’m not going unless they can provide cover. Okay, One…two…I’m serious, we’re going on ‘three!’ One…two…”
I also like how the rest of them are like, “Shit, the hobbits ran before we did? YAHHH!!!”
Nice that the hobbits are the first ones to follow him before anyone else gets what’s up. Cause Merry and Pippin are DTF, if nothing else.
Good thing the first people to run are faster than everyone behind them, right?
Because y’all motherfuckers are gonna get trampled.
Let’s make a giant photo album of people’s faces as they charge forward with swords.
I love how Legolas just has to pull out the bow.
And the orcs are just standing there, waiting to be fucked.
That’s a weird way to hold another person.
The volcano is spewing bits of stuff…why isn’t it coming out there? Why aren’t they getting pummeled with little bits?
“Look, Mr. Frodo, we’re almost there.”
Oh SHIT it’s Gollum, bitches!!!
“Clever hobbits, to climb so high.”
Isn’t this where we came in?
He’s got Frodo around the neck in such a way that you know either hard love or soft rape is coming. One or the other.
Hard Love or Soft Rape
Surprisingly really nice shot. It’s weird that we just sort of buy Gollum, as far as CGI goes.
I love how often people get hit with rocks in Middle Earth.
That was a big rock hurled pretty hard. That would probably crack your skull. At the very least you’d be knocked out. Gollum should be on the ground dancing to Sandstorm right now.
He must be concussed as shit right now.
I like how he’s up before Frodo is.
YEAH TACKLE THAT MOTHERFUCKER!
I like how the shot delineates where the good guys are in relation to the orcs. You can still see that inner ring.
The Nazgul sure do know how to roll up on a party.
Sam’s head should be cracked open.
That would be worse if he had more teeth.
Gollum fights viciously. The head smashing and the biting are pretty gratuitous. The bite might be the single most disturbing thing he does, cause you know he eats stuff like them. He tried to eat Bilbo all those years ago, after all. But there’s something off-putting about a bite.
This is like wrestling. Getting pummeled in the turnbuckle, throw the guy into it and start wailing on him.
That should have disemboweled him.
It’s awesome when the slash is the same motion as taking out the blade. Comes right out of the sheath and slashes you up REAL good.
I like how the ring is making him want to keep it, and yet he’s still running up to destroy it.
For someone who was being carried on someone else’s back a few seconds ago, you sure are running up this mountain.
Gandalf’s ready to fuck up some Nazgul.
They’re still fighting in a huge circle, which means that the dudes on the outside are getting tired while the guys on the inside are probably playing PSP.
“Well I guess I’m fighting you next.”
But wait a minute…
The moth’s back! We know him! He’s cool peoples. And Gandalf’s like, “Oh shit, you came? Got my BBM?”
The eagles picked a side?
I love the eagles, but they really come off too much like a deux ex machina in this franchise. (And if you don’t believe me, see The Hobbit.)
Best part of the franchise. One, cause it’s America. Two, because that eagle did a fucking BARREL ROLL into fucking up a Nazgul!
Frodo running here is very CGI. Which feels a lot rarer for this franchise than it did for Star Wars. Obviously.
But… remember what I’ve said all the way from the Potter articles? These wide shots always look the worst.
Oh man, this is my shit. I fucking love this shot and this angle.
This is like a Gustave Dore painting.
That’s a great image. Him standing at the edge, looking down.
“I’m here, Sam!”
Well fucking really, Legolas.
Seems like a dangerous place to build a walkway.
This makes Sam the Elrond of this scenario.
Just great shot choices all around here.
But uh oh. Hassa hassa, baby.
“The ring is mine.”
He sure was ready to get there, but I guess being faced with the task itself was too much for him. Was this the ring knowing it was fucked and giving that little extra push?
I like how he always has to put it on so slowly.
That’s a look I reserve for nice cars and fine women.
And Swiss watches.
Every franchise has one.
And then Sam was all, “NO!” and then Sauron was all, “WHAT?!”
Weird how he gets to watch himself get killed.
How are you gonna get a Nazgul into a fucking volcano?
Gandalf looks like he had his nose in something’s ass.
This is one of the creepiest shots in all of cinema.
“Ain’t nobody saw that.”
Oh he’s ready to knock this motherfucker out.
That’s good timing. Because if it’s not Frodo, then your ass is in the lava.
This looks hilarious out of context.
Personal preference, but I’m iffy on riding things I can’t see. Frodo, thestrals…mostly those. So don’t expect me to hop on either of those anytime soon.
Can he just sense that a troll is behind him?
It looks like they’re pulling the Eowyn move here.
Boss fight! Aragorn’s working on a troll by himself. How crazy would that be, to see your king-to-be (HE’S YOUR — KINNNNNGGG TO-OO BE!) going head to head with a troll? You would do anything he said for the rest of time. Other guys, you might call them out for only saying shit cause they’re king. This guy can back up his words. Cause goddamn.
I don’t know why he’s doing this.
They’re only worth five points.
HA HA. Look at Sam’s body just laying there.
“I’m the king of the world!”
Holy shit, look at this.
Best out of context shot in the franchise.
Out of context screenshots.
Give it to us raw and wriggling indeed.
Gollum sure found that hand and bit through it. I’m guessing he could feel the ring on his lips or whatever, so he knew which finger to bite. But is it that easy to bite through a finger? I’ve bitten my own fingers, but I’ve obviously never applied anywhere NEAR the amount of pressure you’d need to bite it off. How hard would it be? Dude’s only got like three teeth, too. So it’s questionable how he doesn’t just drive one tooth deep into the finger and have to bite a lot more times to get the whole thing off. But I’m talking about a weird little monster biting off a midget’s finger in a volcano. We can just move on.
Oh that’s awesome. Just takes the finger out so he can get the ring.
I love how Gollum drops the severed finger and it makes the softest little splat sound when it hits the ground. And that sound is completely what that was, too — someone could play you just that audio, and you’d go, “Hm. Sounds like someone dropping a finger in some sand.”
Wouldn’t you like to celebrate while your enemy holds the remains of his disfigured hand?
Oh please, it’s just a finger. Not even a big part of one.
It’s finally his.
(Nice shot, too.)
Aragorn’s down! But you know he gets up, cause it’s Aragorn.
He’s also a member of Chumbawamba.
Legolas is doing pretty well to make it through this crowd. Where’s Gimli during all this? Probably laughing and murdering things. It’s actually kinda messed up when you consider how they’re all sort of sociopaths.
It actually is just for lookin’ through, isn’t it?
“KING KONG AIN’T GOT SHIT ON ME!!”
“Who da man? Who the man?”
“Who’s house?” Gollum’s house!”
I like his little C-section wound that Sam gave him a few minutes ago.
It’s not gonna come back if you keep staring at it.
The sad thing is that I’ve seen kids react this way to getting new video games.
I’ve seen people react this way to getting Episode I tickets.
This is like wrestling. Sam is the referee who’s been knocked out.
I can’t take your dramatic walk over there seriously because of those knickerbockers you’re wearing. I might buy it if you were off to dramatically dig for clams.
I like how he’s just jumping around and doesn’t give a fuck where Frodo is.
STRUGGLE OVER A VOLCANO!
If you can build a story to this moment, and there’s still tension, you’ve done good.
Shit, now that was a kick. That thing’s foot is just meat.
Stabbing things is fun.
Well that was bound to happen.
It’s always smart to shoot it like this. Never go close.
This is a nice moment. He’s just happy he has the Precious, even though he’s about to die a fiery death.
In a way, he’s a hero. Only, like, not, at all.
Isn’t that not how lava works? I thought you’d completely disintegrate or melt or whatever on impact. He seems to be intact under the lava. Like, the muscles that are holding up the hand that’s holding up the ring are under the lava and should be GONE. And his eyes should be on fire.
Is he trying to save the ring or is this his “Why have you forsaken me?” face?
He didn’t even get to go out with a thumbs up.
I have a thing about heat — I hate it. This is why, even though I’m relatively okay with a lot of ways to die, I always hope, “Just not lava.” And until recently, I was totally safe from that, but then I moved to Japan, which is littered with volcanoes around the edge of a geological pattern called the Ring of Fire. So….
Lucky ring, getting to float on top of Gollum’s…residue, or whatever that is.
So I guess that’s the whole thing here? He didn’t care enough about the ring to not hold on, while Gollum wanted the ring above all else?
Yeah, it looks like as he’s falling, he’s just so smitten with the ring that he doesn’t notice what’s going on. And then when he hits the lava, it’s like, “Wait, WHAT?”
But now, you’re pretty much fucked, so…
And you know it.
There’s Sam, right on time, as per usual.
These closeups are nice.
You can’t pull him up like that. His hand’s all bloody and slippery.
“Don’t you let go.”
That’s good, how Sam sees it in his face and tells him not to let go. Some things can be left unsaid, and it’s okay.
So the ring was a horcrux, right?
That eye just blew the fuck up! Someone must have farted in its pillow.
That troll is awesome. He knows what that means. He’s breakin’ out.
This troll is strangely the smartest thing around. He knows what’s up, so he peaces. The rest of this army is going to fall into the earth and die, and anyone who doesn’t will be killed. This orc’s going off to start a farm somewhere. Settle down. Raise a family. Yeah!
Too bad he doesn’t have an organ sac that can go up in flames.
That’s what you said about Margaret Thatcher. And Gandolfini. And Cory Monteith.
Aw, man! Why’d the tower have to crack and break and fall apart? They could have made that place into a theme park or something! And now it’s all Barad-done, Or-thank you.
The eye explodes like a nuclear bomb. But it’s not worth if if there’s no mushroom cloud.
I love these two orcs’ faces.
That has to be Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.