Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Beginning of the End

So, there's this little phenomenon, that only happens (at least to me) when I see a movie six or more times in the theater, on the movies I really really love enough to see that many times.  The more viewings, the stronger the feeling gets.  It doesn't happen to movies I only see once or twice, even if I then watch them a jillion times on DVD.  It only happens in theatrical viewings, where you cannot pause, you cannot stop, you cannot leave, you cannot slow time down, all you can do is immerse and experience.

That phenomenon is... the Beginning of the End.

The beginning of the end is that moment in the movie where the real world intrudes on your viewing and you suddenly have that awful thought, "aw man, the movie's wrapping up and isn't going to last forever."  It's a mix of sadness, because it means the glorious viewing is going to come to an end soon, and also excitement, because usually there's good stuff you can't wait to see in the ending either.  Every movie I've ever seen many many times in the theater has that really intense realization moment, from the first movie I saw over twenty times in the theater (Star Wars) to current day viewings.  It only happens after about the sixth viewing, because before that, I am just watching the movie, taking it in, still learning it.  After about six viewings, the movie viewing experience changes into something different, and then the beginning of the end becomes a Thing.

So, since we've been talking Lord of the Rings and Hobbit, I thought I'd share two of my beginning of the ends.  Why only two?  Because I've only seen two of the films more than six times in the theater:  Fellowship (17 times) and Battle of the Five Armies (9 times).  I didn't see the other four films combined enough times to even equal Battle's viewings.  And watching them repeatedly on DVD just never develops that same acute feeling of the impending ending as the theatrical viewings do.  At home, you can always back it up and watch it again.  You can start over.  You can pause without missing something.  It's on a small screen with distractions like children and cats and dogs and the doorbell.  It's just not the same thing as being in a movie theater at all.

In Fellowship, it's this moment:

The famous log that Saruman's orcs are about to step on as they chase after the Fellowship.  And one orc steps precisely in the worn-down spot and always cracks me up.  Hitting that moment in the movie would always be the  "aw" moment, the "we're wrapping up," the "there's only one more awesome fight left," the "this movie won't last forever and we're heading for the ending" moment.

In The Battle of the Five Armies, it's this moment:

That's the first time in the movie I start realizing the ending's approaching.  It's the beginning of the end.

My sister, who has been my primary multiple-viewing partner over the years, experiences the same "beginning of the end" intense emotional feeling (in fact, she's the one who coined that phrase), but her beginning of the end moments are quite different from mine 99% of the time.  Same feeling, but evoked by a different section of the movie.  The only two I know we share are Star Wars and Fellowship.  The beginning of the end in Battle for her is much earlier, right after Fili's killed.  That still feels like the middle of the movie to me.  I'm way too caught up there to notice the end is nigh. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

MEMM - Day 20 - Favorite moment/line in The Desolation of Smaug

1.  Smaug busting out of Erebor, covered in liquid gold, and that spiraling flight into the air to shake it off.  Glorious!  I wait the whole movie for that moment.

2.  Every time Thorin taunts Smaug, and every time Smaug gets even more pissed off and either sprays the ceiling with fire or thrashes around in fury.  Both make me laugh with delight.  "You have grown slow -- and fat -- in your dotage... slug!"

3. Bilbo and the butterflies.  Because it is just so beautiful.

Favorite lines:

Thorin's "What did we miss?" Also very fond of "Is there no end to this accursed forest?"

Sunday, March 15, 2015

MEMM - Day 19 - A location you never want to visit

Dol Goldur.  This place is flipping creepy and unnerving, and you couldn't pay me to go there.  (Okay, I might go there with Elrond at my side, but still not willingly.)  All those staircases going every which way but not making much logical sense.  All the construction.  All the spells and illusions.  The necromancer, the nazgul, and orcs all in close and twisty confines.  No, thank you!  Dol Guldur makes Mordor look positively inviting to me. 


Friday, March 13, 2015

MEMM - Day 18 - The Hobbit character you relate to the most

Fili.  Ahhhh, Fili.  There’s almost nothing about him I don’t relate to, other than I’m not heir to the throne.  LOL!  (I do find it rather amusing that Aragorn is heir, as is Fili... coincidence?)

But, as the older sibling... yeah.  Fili’s always the one looking out for Kili in these movies, not vice versa.  In Five Armies, when they’re scouting Ravenhill and he takes the more dangerous route and sends Kili the other way, that would be me.  When he stays behind in Laketown to look after Kili.  Yep.  Trying to help Kili to the boat when they're evacuating from Bard's house.  Leading the way up to Erebor afterwards, making sure Kili’s not carrying anything.  Even when Bilbo tells them to stop, and Fili takes off to get deeper into Erebor’s halls and see the treasure, I would totally do that.  I relate to the sheer quantity of weapons he carries about him (Why, look!  Fili’s another very well-armed character).  I really relate to his last words:  “Go!  Run!”  Yeah, that’s what I would be yelling at Thorin too.  Don’t worry about me, just get away from here now. 

Fili’s quiet, alert and watchful, a good fighter, always looking out for Kili.  I love the way he yanks out of Thorin’s grip when Thorin tries to force him to toss Bilbo over the rampart, and how when Thorin starts to do it himself, he's actively telling Thorin “No!”  And the way Fili pushes Bilbo over to Bofur to get him safely away.  Kili tends to get Fili in trouble with Thorin, and having a younger sister, I relate to that!  I love when he tosses Kili a shield while they’re arming themselves.  It's a “here, try this one,” which I also do with my sister.  And I'd totally be saying, "I'm going over the wall, who's with me?" when the fighting starts.

I’ve got a wee bit of Kili in me.  Jumping out of the barrels to run up and open the river gates is the first thing I would do in that situation.  But Kili’s generally far more reckless and outspoken than I am.  As much as I’m thinking, “I will not hide behind a wall of stone while others fight our battles for us!” I’d be quiet like Fili and let the younger, louder sibling spout off what we’re all thinking.  But I will be right beside Thorin when the fighting starts.  Kili also falls in love too easily.  I’m much more guarded and skeptical.

Monday, March 09, 2015

MEMM - Day 17 - Scenes/things you cry at

Oh dear.  Many things. 

The only guaranteed tears:

The eagles.  The very first time I saw Fellowship in the theater, I burst into tears when Gwahir glided into view out of the night shadows, and Gandalf jumped onto his back.  And I mean burst into tears.  Not a slight welling up, or a tear slipping down my cheek, but blooming burst into tears.  I did so on each subsequent theatrical viewing (of which there were a great many). These are good tears, happy tears, tears of power, because I react so strongly to the eagles, I simply have no way to express the reaction other than tearing up.  But I often cry at beautiful things.  I probably cry more at beautiful things than sad things.

Return of the King... here come the eagles again...

An Unexpected Journey... I completely forgot the eagles were even in this movie when I first saw it, and that first viewing I started crying as soon as the moth appeared and didn’t really stop until everyone got dropped off on the rock. 

The Battle of Five Armies... I didn’t remember eagles here either, and I was gone when Azog looked over Thorin’s shoulder and saw them incoming.  Oh man, GONE.  Completely lost in sobs.  There was no moth warning in this one, so it really caught me by surprise.

Why?  I have no bloody idea, really.  But I bawl at the eagles every time they appear.  I will cry sometimes just listening to the scores and reaching that part in the music.

Besides the eagles, let’s see...

Fellowship... not really any other tears shed in here, other than at Gwahir's rescue.  I do not cry for Boromir because his is such a good death.  I do not cry for good deaths.  They are not sad to me.  I have occasionally gotten teary when Sam tells Frodo in the boat “Don’t you leave him, Samwise Gamgee... and I don't mean to...”

The Two Towers... Not every time, but I tend to get teary when the elves arrive at Helm’s Deep, and when the ents go to war.  My sister had to point out that the music when the ents go to war is the eagles' theme... Ahem.

The Return of the King – Lighting the beacons, when Gandalf takes Pippin with him and Merry watches them ride away, Eowyn’s “ride with me” to Merry, “I can’t carry it, but I can carry you,” eagles, the reforging of Narsil into Anduril.  Theoden's speech occasionally gets me.  The very end at the Grey Havens when the other hobbits realize Frodo is leaving. 

An Unexpected Journey – only the eagles

The Desolation of Smaug – a safe movie!  No tears!

The Battle of the Five Armies - eagles, Bilbo’s reaction to Thorin’s death (not Thorin’s death itself, as that is, like Boromir, a good death and is not sad in itself), but Bilbo... oh, Bilbo’s reaction is devastating. Bilbo not being able to say Thorin is his friend to Balin and saying goodbye to the dwarves. Thorin and company busting out of Erebor and Dain yelling “To the king! To the king!”  Thorin’s reaction to Fili’s death, that silent mouthing of his name.  And in the beginning, Bain appearing with the arrow and The Look he gives his father after he says "this might."

Thursday, March 05, 2015

MEMM - Day 16 - Favorite song sung by a character(s) in the films

Let's see, if we define favorite as "most sung" song throughout the years, then my favorite is Aragorn’s coronation song.  I still sing this song to myself a lot, have always done so, since I first saw Return of the King.  It's a very appealing melody to me, probably why I still sing (or hum) it all the time.

But my favorite of all the songs characters sing that I love most to listen to is the Misty Mountain song from An Unexpected Journey.  I do hum this one quite a bit, but I'm almost always hearing the full orchestral version in my head from the "Over Hill" cue, not the version with lyrics.  (I am not a lyrics person, so no surprise there.  That is also the cue that goes with my second favorite moment from An Unexpected Journey, so... again, no surprise that that's the version in my head.)  But for sheer listening pleasure, I'll take Thorin and the dwarves any and every day.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

MEMM - Day 15 - Favorite moment/line in An Unexpected Journey

1.  Bilbo putting himself between Azog and Thorin.  Sheer love!  This whole scene really, from Azog and his warg completely trouncing Thorin, to Kili, Fili, and Dwalin coming to the rescue.  But the best part, and my favorite part of the entire movie, is Bilbo standing between hunter and prey. 

2.  Crossing over into the Wild after leaving Rivendell.  Again with the gorgeous scenery and awesome music.  And I want to go hike these places so badly!


3.  Bilbo wandering around Rivendell.  No dialogue, just Bilbo taking it all in.  His expression says it all.

As for a favorite line in this one.  A toss up between Bilbo's "I have some skill at conkers, if you must know, but I fail to see why that's relevant" and Gollum/Bilbo's "If Baggins loses, we eats it whole" "Fair enough" exchange.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

MEMM - Day 14 - Lord of the Rings character you understand the least


Movie Faramir’s actions are so inconsistent and outside how I would behave, that I just spend the movies puzzled and frustrated by him.  I like him, but I do not understand him.  He’s all over the board.  His personality jumps from competent captain (in guerrilla warfare, anyway), to falling prey to that overwhelming need to be praised/loved by his father, to being cruel, to being gentle, to self-destructive sadness -- and all without ever getting angry.  Faramir never once loses his temper or even raises his voice. I think people who have every right to be angry... and who aren't, bewilder me.

One of the most heart-breaking scenes for me in all the movies is when Gollum is at the Forbidden Pool and Frodo is forced to betray Gollum’s trust.  This scene rips me to pieces every time I see the movie, and I have sometimes left the room and returned when it’s over.  I understand why things have to go down this way, but I don’t understand why Faramir seems to treat the whole thing as a bit of game.  He knows full well when he takes Frodo out there that Frodo will tell him who Gollum is and what he wants to know in order to save Gollum’s life, but he plays it up and gets all smirky anyway.  Be serious, at least, man!  There’s a life at stake!  That, and he way he lets his men treat Gollum.  Why?  Just because Gollum has an ill-favored look?  Gollum’s done nothing to them but fish in the pool (yes yes, that bears the penalty of death, but sheesh!  Kill him, then, don't abuse him.).  Then there’s the weird way Faramir says “I think we finally understand one another” at the end of Two Towers, as if everything that happened up to that point was to make Frodo understand Faramir’s side, not like it’s a two-way street.  I KNOW that’s not what he means, but that’s how it comes across in the way he delivers the line.  It’s not the words themselves, it’s his delivery.  I always shake my head there and make a face at him.

And I don’t understand why he stops thinking whenever he’s around his father.  Denethor tells him to reclaim Osgiliath... he does not say “ride out there in broad daylight right this second.”  In fact, Denethor gives no strategy or battle commands whatsoever, so it is Faramir’s choice as captain, therefore, to interpret his father’s orders.  And he chooses to do it that particular way?  Nope, I don’t get Faramir.  He just makes me shake my head.  Now, I’m all for following suicidal orders when your death will gain something.  I’ll be the first to go do something dangerous that might result in my death if it will buy precious time, or result in some tangible benefit.  No problem there.  But I’m not one for following suicidal orders that will gain zero positive results.  And dying only for the sake of following orders?  No... I’m afraid I’m traitor material...  I would not have obeyed my king.  I do respect Faramir for doing so.  It’s his prerogative.  But I respect Gandalf more for knocking Denethor out and taking over the defense of the city.

I also think he frustrates me so much because I want to protect him from his own self-defeatism.  He’s Boromir’s little brother, and I respect and love Boromir a very great deal.  (I also equate Faramir with my own younger sister.  She and I have a bit of Boromir/Faramir going on, and she reminds me of him... And I don’t understand her a lot of the time either.  Maybe it’s a younger sibling thing?  LOL.)  I believe Faramir simply belongs in a peacetime environment. War is not his strong suit.  He does it by necessity, but he lacks the skill and heart for it (he has no shortage of courage, mind you, but that’s different).  I suspect, if I got to see him after Return of the King, in Ithilien with Eowyn, I might understand him a lot better.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

MEMM - Day 12 - Least-favorite costumes

These atrocious choir boy robe/pajama things.  They. Must Go Right Now.

(Interestingly, I just realized all my least favorite outfits are in Return of the King.  It's the only one of the six films with costumes I actively dislike.)

And I am editing this post to add this horrid thing Aragorn is wearing in the same scene.  Ugly ugly ugly.  It's actually way worse than Frodo and Sam's choir boy robes.  YUCK!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

MEMM - Day 11 - Favorite moment/line in The Return of the King

Another very easy one:  Lighting the Beacons.  Yes, I do have patterns, LOL!  My favorite moment in The Two Towers is a sweeping vista of gorgeous scenery shown while my favorite music of the movie plays.  Lighting the beacons in the same:  amazing, sweeping, gorgeous mountain scenery and my favorite cue of the entire movie.  I cry every time this scene hits. It’s so beautiful I just can't contain the tears.  Just like the scene in Two Towers, this scene is the whole reason I watch this movie.  


Since I've been listing three moments for each, my second favorite moment would Pippin’s departure from Edoras with Gandalf.  I love Merry and Pippin here so much.  “Why do you look?  Why do you always have to look.”  And Pippin's "Merry!" as they ride out of the stable, and the way Aragorn runs after Merry to watch them ride away. 

Third favorite moment is Minith Morgul, with the witch king on his fell beast and the exquisite colors of the place.  This was particularly awesome on the big screen... it lacks that terrifying grandeur on a television set, but I still wait for this moment, Gollum and Sam trying to haul Frodo to safety, their hiding behind the rocks while an army of orcs emerges and the witch king presides over all.  Amazing moment.

As for a favorite line... hm.  I don't quote this movie much.  I guess Aragorn's "I do not fear death" line.

Monday, February 23, 2015

MEMM - Day 10 - Lord of the Rings character you relate to the most


He is both the character I relate to most, as well as the one my family thinks I’m most like.  It goes along with the question "where do you belong in Middle-Earth?"  I belong with the rangers in the north.  (This is kind of like how, if I was in the Game of Thrones world, I would be in the Night’s Watch.)  I’d be out patrolling the borders of the Shire, etc.  I’m perfectly content being out in the woods for long stretches at a time, quietly protecting things from the shadows for most of my life, until forced to step up to the plate.  I tend to avoid leadership roles, but when I’m required to, I am good at it.

I very much relate to his personality, and the way he acts and thinks, particularly in dangerous situations.

And there are so many little moments that are matches for what I’d do in those circumstances.  That look Aragorn gives Pippin when Pippin asks about Second Breakfast?  That is so me.  One breakfast is plenty, dude!  We’re not eating again until dinnertime.  And I would throw an apple at him to munch on instead.

When they escape Moria, and Boromir wants to give everyone a moment, and Aragorn is like no way, we need to keep moving, mourn later.  That would be me.  I would salute the uruk-hai before I fought them, because you always salute your opponent.  It's the honorable thing to do.  The way he’s got his hand on his sword, carefully watching to make sure Borormir returns Frodo’s ring when they’re in the snow.  The way he responds to Legolas at the council, when Legolas tells everyone who he really is... man, even the first time I saw that movie, in my mind, I was already telling Legolas to sit down and be quiet before Aragorn spoke.  (I’ve behave similarly at work when someone tries to recognize me as more than a "mere ranger," er... employee. LOL!)  The way he’s comfortable traveling alone for long stretches.  Singing to himself.  Making promises in the heat of the moment.  His "I do not fear death" line. 

I relate to Aragorn carrying a bow and arrows, in addition to his sword.  I am a multi-weapon girl, and I just love that he has the bow too.  There are situations when a bow is more useful than a sword (and you can't hunt dinner with a sword).  It’s good to be prepared.  I am also extremely partial to the dagger Celeborn gifts him.  If there was one Middle-Earth prop I could take home, it would probably be that dagger.