If my math calculations are correct (and they sometimes aren’t, for math is the bane of my life), this will be the first recap of a total of nine for the entire trilogy series. So three recaps per movie. I’ve thought about recapping the LOTR trilogy for a while now, since it’s a movie series that owns me heart and soul. Literally. Here I am, taking a huge leap of faith. It took a lot of pondering before I decided to give this baby a go, and this first post is dedicated to both Arwen and Shadowfax, who’ll be joining me in this project. I consider both of these ladies to be more knowledgeable on this series — and better writers, don’t deny it! — than me, and I’m grateful to have them join me for these LOTR recaps.
I first watched The Fellowship of the Ring eight years ago, and since then, I’ve watched this particular movie perhaps hundreds of times. It never gets tiring, for I find that with each rewatch, I gain an insight I had overlooked before.
This is a complicated story, and I know I’ll miss a lot of details since there’s just so much to cover in this series. However, with my guest bloggers, I want to do this series justice, and bring back a classic some have forgotten. I must also forewarn everyone that this is a recap, hence, it’s impossible to cover every little detail in this epic trilogy. I will not be recapping the special extended version of this series, unless it’s a pivotal scene in the plot. I’m sure my guest bloggers will be giving their insights from the book and the extended version, as well. You’ll see Arwen’s comments in blue and Shadowfax’s comments in purple. With that said and out of the way, I wanna return to the Middle-earth! Now!
Recap: Prologue –The Spoiling of Isengard
Before our real story begins, a powerful elf named GALADRIEL (Cate Blanchett) gives us a quick prologue to our story. Long ago, Great Rings were made and given to the Elves, Dwarves, and Men. Each of the Rings equipped power to the holder, to govern each race. However, another ring was made in secret at Mount Doom by the Dark Lord Sauron. This one Master Ring was to rule all others. Nations were in an uproar when the Ring took control of the free lands. A war broke out, known as the War of the Last Alliances, between the Elves and Men against the armies of Mordor. Hope is restored and victory is close but during the battle, Sauron himself comes onto the scene carrying the One Ring, killing the King of Gondor and dashing all hopes of winning to the blackened earth with the fall of their leader.
However, at this very moment, the king’s son resistance surged. Isildur takes up his father’s sword but during this attempt, Sauron steps on the weapon, breaking it in half [apparently the Dark Lord needs some SlimFast fast-quick – Shadowfax]. Not unduly deterred, Isildur uses the broken blade and avenges his father’s death by cutting Sauron’s finger, the finger holding the Ring. With the Ring gone, Sauron dissipates into the air. I like that Isildur used a broken blade but like Shadowfax said, perhaps Sauron needs to go on a diet, since he couldn’t even dodge that blade. That was way too easy. But I’m sure it was internally difficult to do so. But still, that took like, thirty seconds? Kind of an anti-climatic battle, don’t you think?
Instead of destroying the Ring of Power at Mount Doom, and therefore ending its evil, Isildur gave into temptation and took the Ring as his own. Eventually, the Ring betrayed him and Isildur was murdered. After 2,500 years of silence, the Ring fell into the hands of a creature named GOLLUM (Andy Serkis) by mere coincidence. It consumed Gollum in the Misty Mountains for another 500 years until a Hobbit from the Shire named BILBO BAGGINS (Ian Holm) picked up the Ring. And that is where our story officially begins.
FRODO BAGGINS (Elijah Wood) [with his gorgeous blue eyes — which are pretty much his only redeeming quality -Arwen along with his girly, perfect skin], the nephew of Bilbo, is reading a book beneath the trees when he hears the sound of a carriage and an old man singing. He runs and approaches the man, berating him for his late arrival. The old man counters, saying that a wizard is never late. This is GANDALF THE GREY (Ian McKellen), an old friend of the Baggins and the rest of the Hobbits. He’s here for Bilbo’s birthday, which has the entire Shire frantic with preparations for the big celebration. [Ahhhh Gandalf enters! Just like, one of the best characters ever invented]
Oh my gawd, just look at the pretty scenery! The Hobbits recognize Gandalf, especially the children who pipe up and run behind the carriage, begging Gandalf for some fireworks. He passes by them at first, seemingly ignoring their cute request. Moments later, just as the little Hobbits thought their request was rejected, the back of the carriage shoots out into bursts of sparks. The kids cheer and rejoice, which makes me squeal. Aw, so cute! I love this series already and we’re just getting started!
Frodo jumps off the carriage first, off to prepare for the night’s party. Gandalf then arrives at Bilbo’s Bag End and knocks on the little Hobbit door. (I want one!) A very annoyed Bilbo calls out from the inside, yelling that visitors are unwelcome. He’s had enough of distant relatives who have been knocking on his door for days, never giving him a moment’s peace. He’s almost flabbergasted, albeit relieved to see that it’s only Gandalf, his old friend.
[Oh, Bilbo..he’s so silly. Cute, but so silly (and a bit senile). And Gandalf, of course, is as perceptive as always. I like the probing look he gives Bilbo when he realizes how young he still looks. But Bilbo, being an obtuse hobbit at heart, doesn’t notice..]
Inside, the two discuss Bilbo’s plan to escape the Shire, since he plans to finish his book in the mountains. It’s apparent to Gandalf that there must be some other catalyst at work that’s propelling Bilbo to leave the place. As Bilbo confesses, “I know I don’t look it but I’m beginning to feel it in my heart,” Gandalf notices that he’s fingering something rather obsessively in his pocket. “I feel thin. Sort of stretched like butter scraped over too much bread.” We know that in Bilbo’s pocket, he’s carrying the Ring which, though having bestowed upon him the blessing (or is it a curse?) of longevity, has nonetheless exacted a severe toll on his spirits. Still, he’s a Hobbit, and this doesn’t keep him from the festivities for long. It is his birthday after all!
The party is in full swing by sundown. SAMWISE GAMGEE (Sean Astin), otherwise known as Sam (a simple name for a simple Hobbit), is fidgeting in his seat. [I loves him! Loves him loves him! ^-^ He’s too cute]
He sees a pretty Hobbit girl named Rosie, and clearly wants to ask her to dance. He’s about to shy away when Frodo pushes him into the dancing crowd, right into Rosie’s arms. I love the beginnings of this bromance already! Bromances ftw!
Meanwhile, Gandalf is enjoying his part in setting off fireworks for the party [in a merry manner reminiscent of a cross between Albus Dumbledore and a pyromaniac]. He’s brought a whole carriage-load full of them, you see. While he’s setting off fireworks, two other Hobbits — MERIADOC BRANDYBUCK (Dominic Monaghan) and PEREGRIN TOOK (Billy Boyd)– want in on the fun. Secretly, but really not-so-secretly, they steal the biggest firework [Freudian lens, go!], and set it off.
It’s a huge dragon and it’s swooping down to eat everybody! Wait, isn’t it just a firework? Whew! It is. [And for all his youthful looks, Bilbo displays his true age in this scene, snapping tetchily in Grandpa’s quiet-young-whippersnapper-I-know-best voice to Frodo’s concern for his safety.] Everyone is safe as the dragon swoops back up into the air, bursting into big, beautiful sparks that light up the whole sky. Merry and Pippin (Meriadoc and Peregrin are their formal names but nobody except for their mothers and Gandalf call them that) are about to get another when Gandalf grabs their ears and drags them off to wash the mountains of dishes as punishment. Heh. That’s what happens when you try to mess with a wizard’s stuff.
Towards the end of the night, Bilbo is prompted by the jolly crowd to give a speech for his 111th birthday. He starts listing each Hobbit family by name, but pauses halfway through, so eerily that the crowd grows silent. “I have things to do. I have put this off for far too long.” He whispers, surreptitiously taking out the Ring behind his back. “I regret to announce this is the end! I’m going now. I bid you all a very fond farewell. He takes one last, lingering look at Frodo then says, “Goodbye.” With that, he vanishes into thin air. The Ring is quite something. Bet that was handy in tight places.
[I love how Bilbo just disrupts the flow of things and all of a sudden transforms from lighthearted happy to like, serious. What?]
Bilbo manages to slip quietly back into his abode, laughing as he takes off his ring. He begins to pack up his belongings, as a stern Gandalf dryly remarks behind him that Bilbo must have thought himself terribly clever, doing that magic trick. Bilbo admits it was probably a trick he should not have done, but adds that everything he owns will go to his nephew Frodo. Even the ring, which should be in an envelope on the mantelpiece. Wait — it’s still in his pocket.
Bilbo takes out the ring, and his voice changes slightly to a darker tone. He asks menacingly, why he shouldn’t keep this ring. The ring came to him; it’s his! It’s his precious. It’s telling that Bilbo is echoing Gollum word for word, which Gandalf notes. [Ah, we see the first hint of danger–Bilbo becoming like Gollum]
It gives me goosebumps to see the instant change in Bilbo as he holds that ring, as his actions become much more possessive and violent. Gandalf tries to gently reason with Bilbo, until the latter accuses petulantly, “You want it for yourself!” Gandalf appears to swell in size as he thunders, “Bilbo Baggins! I am not trying to rob you!” The sheer force of Gandalf’s anger and unspoken warning causes the room to darken and the lights to dim. When he sees that Bilbo is struck dumb in terror, he gentles once more, “…I’m trying to help you.”
The Ring’s spell on Bilbo is broken, the room returns to normal, and Bilbo runs into Gandalf’s arms. Before, I never quite understood why it was necessary to have Bilbo and Gandalf embrace here, but I suppose it’s symbolic of Bilbo’s decision to run into the light, instead of fully embracing the darkness. He runs to Gandalf like a child, seeking comfort and forgiveness. See? The cinematography never fails. NEVER!
Now that he’s decided to entrust the ring to Frodo, Bilbo is about to quickly step out his home when Gandalf reminds him that the ring is still in his pocket. Ah Bilbo, he’s a wizard! You can’t outsmart a wizard like Gandalf. This is the ultimate test for Bilbo as he takes out the ring, one last time. He holds it in his palm, torn with indecision. After a moment’s hesitation, Bilbo turns his hand over, the Ring clinging to his palm as though also unwilling to part with its bearer. Methinks part of the reason is because the Ring was unsuccessful in completely controlling Bilbo, as if it wants to be the one to end the relationship, not the other way around. Slowly, the Ring slides off of his hand to the wooden floor with a loud, heavy thunk! And with that, our Hobbit quickly steps out of his house and breathes the fresh air, as though savoring it for the first time. Hooray, Bilbo! You have passed the test! [I’ve always liked how the Ring sounded so heavy, dropping like that. But it just means a huge weight has been lifted off of Bilbo at least, being the carrier and all.]
Ordeal over, Bilbo officially gives Gandalf his last farewell before setting off. I love how this scene on Bilbo is so literal and symbolic in its interpretation. It was so beautifully shot, and just well done. More on this later.
Gandalf re-enters the house and looks at the ring on the ground. He bends down to pick it up, and his fingers barely hover above the ring before he senses the evil presence of the Eye of Sauron. He leaves the Ring alone and broods over Bilbo’s words of my precious, puffing on his pipe. Frodo storms into Bag End, looking for Bilbo. (Geez, what took you so long, dude?) He notices the ring on the floor and picks it up, realizing immediately that Bilbo has left the Shire for good. Gandalf comes back to reality when he sees Frodo holding Bilbo’s ring. He leaves Frodo as the legal owner of Bilbo’s possessions and the house to search for answers. He warns Frodo to keep the ring secret and safe, out of sight.
Gandalf arrives in the land of Gondor on horseback, searching for answers in the ancient texts. One particular manuscript catches his eye — it is Isildur’s own writing, giving his account of obtaining the Ring.
It has come to me. The One Ring. It shall be an heirloom of my kingdom. All those who follow in my bloodline shall be bound to its fate, for I shall risk no hurt to the Ring. It is precious to me, though I buy it with great pain. The markings on the band begin to fade. The writing, which at first was as clear as red flame, has all but disappeared. A secret now that only fire can tell.
After a night of drinking [and “painting the town red” with the other Hobbit lads], Frodo returns home to Bag End. There’s an eerie silence as he enters his home. A hand grabs him from behind, shocking him. It’s an ill-stricken Gandalf, who asks whether the Ring is safe. Frodo hands him the envelope containing the ring, which he had hidden, and Gandalf tosses the envelope into the fireplace. The envelope burns away until ashes and the one ring remains. Gandalf retrieves the Ring and drops it in Frodo’s palm. Again, the Ring lands quite heavily.
Gandalf’s reason for throwing the ring into the fire was to test whether this was the same Ring Isildur described. At first, no inscriptions can be seen and Gandalf sighs in relief, poor guy, but moments later, Frodo notices some sort of Elvish markings, proving that this is indeed the Ring of Power. Gandalf sits down with his pipe in hand, and explains his discoveries about this Ring to Frodo. This is a really cool, nuanced scene between Frodo and Gandalf. As I was marathoning this the other day, Arwen pointed out that as Gandalf is smoking on his pipe, all the smoke hovers above Frodo’s head. It’s like his thoughts are literally cloudy and he’s unaware of anything outside of his comfort zone until Gandalf slowly brings him to enlightenment. Isn’t that brilliant directing? I love you, Peter Jackson! I really do.
During their talk, Frodo asks whether or not Sauron was destroyed. At this, the Ring speaks — it has awoken and is looking for its Master. Frodo thinks that the Ring can simply be hidden in the Shire and to his dismay, he hears from Gandalf that Gollum was tortured to spill the whereabouts of the Ring. Frodo doesn’t want the responsibility and immediately hands it to Gandalf, offering it to him freely. It is here that Gandalf barks at Frodo not to tempt him, because if Gandalf took the Ring, even just to keep it safe, the Ring would somehow find a way to unleash an evil power through him, even though he would have intended to use it for good.
Knowing that the Ring cannot stay in the Shire, Frodo is instructed to embark on a journey to Bree, where Gandalf will later meet with him after seeking the counsel of the head wizard in his order. Unfortunately, before Frodo can leave, a sound outside the window catches their attention. Thinking that it might be one of those from Mordor, Gandalf tells Frodo to quickly lie low, just as he clubs the culprit underneath the window with his staff. He grabs the perpetrator quickly and thrusts him onto the table.
Gandalf: Confound it all, Samwise Gamgee! Have you been eavesdropping?
Sam: I haven’t been dropping no eaves, Sir. Honest. I was just cutting the grass under the window.
[Sign of Sam’s literal take on everything — he’s simple? Or he’s trying to be witty, which is highly unlike Sam..]
Lol. Oh, Sam. [He’s such a good person that even coming up with a slightly believable lie is beyond him.] Gandalf commands Sam to spill everything that he has heard thus far, which Sam quickly complies, revealing that he has in fact heard every word. It’s hilarious because the only concern on Sam’s mind is hope for Gandalf not to turn him into something unnatural. Lol. Gandalf promises not to turn him into something else, since he’s thought of a better use for Sam [I love the look that earns Gandalf. Hahaha.], and with that, the three leave the Shire. Frodo and Sam head off for Bree, while Gandalf heads to Isengard.
The White Wizard SARUMAN (Christopher Lee) anticipates Gandalf’s arrival to Isengard and greets him at the bottom of his tower. Gandalf relays the discovery of the Ring of Power in the Shire and thinks that despite this late discovery, they still have time to counter Sauron. Saruman corrects Gandalf, saying that the Eye of Sauron is gathering all evil to him so that he will launch a massive army against the free lands of Middle-earth. And Saruman knows this how? Because he’s been using a palantir to read into Sauron’s intentions and communicate with him. Gandalf knows that the palantir is a dangerous tool, and covers the stone with a cloth. As he puts the cloth over the palantir, he comes into contact with the Eye of Sauron, who is watching. Oh, snap!
(Note: a palantir translates to “Seeing Stone,” which is similar to a magical crystal ball. Whoever uses the the palantir can communicate with others who uses the same stones. What can be seen through the palantir can be easily misinterpreted, therefore deceiving the viewer. Proof of this will come later in this series.)
[Another interesting note: though Saruman is supposed to be “Saruman the White,” he has black flecks in his beard and stuff. HMMMMMMM…]
Sauron further reveals that nine wraiths have left Minas Morgul and have probably reached the Shire to kill the one who carries the Ring. Alarmed for Frodo’s safety, Gandalf tries to depart but Saruman blocks all entrances. Betrayed, Gandalf cannot escape. Saruman replies [ever the raincloud],
You did not seriously think that a Hobbit could contend with the will of Sauron? There are none who can. Against the power of Mordor, there can be no victory. We must join with him, Gandalf. We must join with Sauron. It would be wise, my friend.
Bitter, Gandalf questions how long it’s been since Saruman has decided to join the forces of madness, instead of reason. Hence, let the battle between wizards begin! The two fight it out with their staffs (If you’re looking for wands, see Harry Potter!), inflicting physical pain against the other. It’s pretty bloody, sadly. Fighting dirty, Saruman disarms Gandalf by summoning Gandalf’s staff into his possession. Without his staff, Gandalf is rendered defenseless, as Saruman uses both staffs to propel Gandalf up into the air, imprisoning him to the top of his tower.
Sam realizes that he’s alone in the fields and is relieved to find that Frodo is only a bit ahead of him. He’s carefully heeding Gandalf’s last words to him — a command to keep an eye on Frodo at all times [I wonder..does Sam’s deep sense of loyalty come from Gandalf’s command to him? Or was it there from the beginning? Not that it changes anything, but it’s an interesting thought].
Frodo laughs it off, wondering what could possibly happen since they’re still in the Shire. [He just had to say it. The Universe acts, just to spite him.] At this, they’re tackled by two other Hobbits — Merry and Pippin, who have been, uh, taking some goodies from Farmer Maggot’s crops. It’s so cute how Sam immediately gets up and grabs Merry and Pippin off Frodo here. It’s already a foreshadowing of his constant protection of Frodo in the future. Each of them runs for safety, and they accidentally fall off the edge of the hill, into the forest.
While Merry, Pippin, and Sam are distracted by the discovery of nearby mushrooms, Frodo is anxious to get off the roads. He hears a screeching sound, and desperately cries for the others to get off the roads at once! They hide underneath a hollow opening beneath the tree roots, just in time before a Black Rider gets off his horse.
The Black Rider scouts the hiding place of the Hobbits through smell, unable to see anything. As he beckons the Ring, Frodo slips into a trance as ugly, disgusting creatures from the forest floor such as centipedes and worms crawl out. Frodo has the Ring in hand and is about to slip it on when Sam throws a hand across his, therefore closing off any connection between the Ring and the Black Rider. Sigh. Frodo, what would you do without Sam?
Merry’s interest is piqued and guesses that that Black Rider was looking for Frodo. Without much time to explain, Frodo only says that he and Sam must get to Bree. As they try to leave to get to Bucklebury Ferry, they’re chased by the Ringwraiths, the Nazgûl. They almost don’t make it to the ferry in time, but thankfully get on the raft before the Black Riders reach them.
Once they reach Bree and the Prancing Pony Inn, their meeting place with Gandalf, they’re shocked to find that Gandalf hasn’t arrived. Frodo and Sam are uneasy, especially since Sam notices that a strange man has been looking at Frodo intently. Merry and Pippin are inattentive to the situation, drinking ale happily. As Frodo fiddles with the Ring, the Ring cries out his name. This catches the attention of barmen, and a loquacious Pippin reveals that Frodo’s name isn’t Underhill, but Baggins. In attempt to get Pippin to stop talking, Frodo tries to drag him away, only to slip, just as the Ring flies into the air, onto his finger. Frodo disappears, and the Nazgûl are immediately drawn to the Ring, sensing the whereabouts of the gang. [Why so useless, Frodo? Think to take it off right after it fell? Noo..of course not..]
Invisible, Frodo sees the Eye of Sauron and his minions, clearly frightened at the sight of them. He crawls to a nearby table and takes off the ring, relieved to be rid of what he just saw. Once he does so, the mysterious man who was staring at him yanks him away from the scene and into a private room.
This rugged and incredibly handsome fellow is revealed to be STRIDER (Viggo Mortensen), a Ranger of the North. Frodo is startled as the Ranger seems to know about the Ring. Before the man can say any more, Sam and the gang burst into the room, fists up in the air, brandishing chairs and candles. Not exactly the best weapons against a sword, but their bravery here is admirable. And just so cute! He reveals that Frodo cannot wait for Gandalf, since the Ringwraiths are coming.
The Nazgûl storm into the room where the Hobbits are sleeping. Without so much as a sound, they bring out their swords and stab the beds, until fluffy feathers litter the entire room. Oh, wait? There’s nobody in the beds. Wrong room, guys. Better luck next time. The Hobbits are safe across the street, where Strider explains that the Nazgûl were once men, the nine kings who were given the ring. Lustful and greedy for power, they have become Ringwraiths that are neither dead nor alive, bound to the One Ring and now called by Sauron to kill the current Bearer. Therefore Frodo must flee. And with that, although the four Hobbits don’t yet completely trust him, Strider leads them on a journey to Rivendell.
Back at Isengard, Sauron commands Saruman to build him a massive army. The next thing we know, Saruman is shivering and huddling in his lair, where he beckons his Orcs to him and relays Sauron’s mandate. In order to build an army worthy of Sauron, Saruman has the Orcs cut down the forests surrounding Isengard. Gone is his compassion for the pretty trees as he reduces the once-lush grounds of Isengard into a barren wasteland reminiscent of the Plains of Dagorlad, before the Black Gates of Mordor, where the last stand of Men and Elves took place…
This whole loverly kind of section on the Hobbits was nice. It definitely gives the viewer a feel for the character and nature of this particular species. Unconcerned with the bigger world, content to stay within their little bubbles. You get that sense of innocence and naivete with them. They’re extremely child-like. I like to think that they’re kind of representative of the age of innocence [think Plato’s cave]. Not many will venture outside. In fact, really only five that we know of ever leave the Shire. That has to have been an eye-opening experience. Of course, leaving the Shire meant encountering all sorts of nasty things, and they endured their share of pain and sorrow, even regret at having been forced out of their comfortable lives. But this is what helps them grow, which I always enjoy seeing as the series progresses.
I must say that Sam is amazing. I know, I know, he’s not amazing yet. Or at least..we can’t see it. I’ve said this before, but if Sam was real, I would never pay any attention to him. He is just so incredibly unimpressive and boring. A fat, bumbling idiot. But since Frodo’s such a nastypoo later on [more so than he is so far], Sam’s qualities start shining out. Of course, we’ll get to that when we actually see it, but just thought I’d mention it now, since we love him so much.
Frodo..I dunno..He’s just..just..so useless. My dislike for him grows progressively more intense as the series goes on. I will admit, he’s at least interesting, but he doesn’t have a lovable aspect to that, so he just pretty fails in my book.
It must go without saying that Gandalf is definitely the best thing since toilet paper, but I’m saying it anyway. I think somewhere in the book, it’s mentioned that the hobbits are largely ignorant of how powerful Gandalf really is. They think he’s just pretty cool, with his fireworks and all, but they’re unaware that he’s much more than what they know of him. I suppose it’s like keeping the children ignorant or something of the more important things? Anyways, Gandalf is awesome. I like him more as white, but that’s not for a whiles yet.
Of all the hobbits, Pippin is probably..the most ignorant. From the beginning, Frodo’s already more “aware” than others. Merry picks up on the seriousness of the situation fairly quickly and acts accordingly [albeit without full knowledge of what’s going on]. Sam..well, I wouldn’t say he’s fully aware, but he acts with a single-minded purpose [protect Frodo], so it all works out. Pippin’s growth all around is most interesting, I would say. As the farthest behind, he had the longest way to go, and he surely won’t disappoint.
At this point, Aragorn is still hiding in the shadows. I like his character development in this series as well. We definitely don’t see it in the books, since he grapples with his identity at a younger age.
Anyway, lovely start to a lovely series. I’m looking forward to the rest of it, when there’s a lot more to say [considering how much I’ve written already..wow..bad news..PREPARE FOR WORD VOMIT]. v^-^v
As movie introductions go, the one that kicks off the Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the finest, both in terms of cinematography and the foundation of the plotline. From the get-go, the fantasy genre is firmly cemented with the appearance of Elves, Dwarves, and old, bearded Men dressed in long robes [think Medieval England, but ten times richer]. The following scene includes all of the elements necessary for a half-decent battle scene: chaos, loud yelling and/or screaming, and the dramatic death of a key leader. What makes it a good scene is the drama involved: the arrival of the Big Bad Guy, who flings handfuls of soldiers into the air solely through the force of his swing, the melodramatic “NOOO” and subsequent cradling of his father’s broken body, the grief-fueled rage (yes, screaming/overemphasized grunting included) that singlehandedly turns the tide of battle…
The bleakness and desperation of the first scenes are immediately juxtaposed by a vision of perfection and beauty, otherwise known as the Shire. [Please refer to Arwen’s comments for elaboration, I shall move on.] If one were so inclined (I am), one could compare the Shire to the Garden of Eden, and the One Ring of Power to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil [ref. Genesis 2-3]. As Arwen pointed out, no one has ever left the Shire before Frodo and his buddies other than Bilbo, who is himself a Ring-Bearer. Up to this point, we see the effects of the world outside-the-Shire much more vividly in Bilbo than the other four as of yet. Bilbo is discontent with a life of plenty and comfort in the Shire–he longs for the dragons and trolls of the Outside, and the excitement that such adventures bring. Certainly much like a sheltered child who is let out into the real world for the first time and becomes addicted to all the things that they were sheltered from previously, and they never wants to go back. Bilbo’s state of mind is without a doubt a premonition of Frodo’s actions in the future….. But that comes much, much later.
Even tiny, defenseless Hobbits must endure the general pain, suffering, and self-actualization/realization that litters the journey of the protagonist before reaching that inevitable end. Little Frodo Baggins is no different, as we shall see.
I really like how everything is introduced — from the prologue to the introduction of each character — and just how freaking gorgeous this movie series is. I mean, this is the epitome of art at its best, full of nuances and subtlety. A lot has happened in this hour, with so much to cover it’s hard not to take notes at every little detail. (Hee, but that’s what my guest bloggers are for — to cover things I may have missed!) One thing I love about this series in the constant character comparisons within this movie itself. Here we have Gollum, Bilbo, and Frodo up for some parallels already. We don’t know much about Gollum yet, but what has been revealed thus far can be compared to the other two Hobbits. Seeing as how Gollum has had the Ring for the longest period of time, it’s to no one’s surprise that he’s the most affected. The Ring brought Gollum longevity for 500 years, an especially long life for a creature that was once a Hobbit. The more he spent with the Ring, the more he lost his Self.
I think it’s safe to say that Gollum is the perfect example of how self-destructive an individual can be after spending time with the Ring. Out of the three Hobbit Ring-bearers, his dependence on the Ring is so extreme, it’s evident in his physicality and demeanor. When compared to Gollum, Bilbo isn’t as affected by the Ring, but having spent only 60 years with the Ring — and rarely using the Ring to disappear — hasn’t left him unaffected. There may be no physical deterioration in Bilbo’s appearance, yet the fact that he begins to echo Gollum’s words is a huge neon warning for him to let go of that Ring, before the Ring has full control over his mind. It’s to Bilbo’s credit that he relinquishes the Ring, and for that, I find him admirable. Then there’s that subtle change in Bilbo as he abandons the Ring behind him and heads outside, and it’s a sense of relief in having a burden cast off from him.
Like I said earlier in the recap, I love how heavy the Ring is, both symbolically and literally in the movie. It’s a cumbersome burden for such a seemingly trivial object, having great weight in how the rest of the story unfolds. It’s also creepy that the Ring has a spirit of its own, so it cannot be labeled as merely a material object, since it’s got a mind of its own. It’s guaranteed that there will be more instances of the Ring acting on its own volition in the future, and I can’t wait for my guest bloggers to talk about that in the next recaps.
Between Arwen, Shadowfax, and myself, I’m afraid that I’m the only one who likes Frodo wholeheartedly, even with his little — or is it major? — faults. My love for Frodo, however, is biased because I’m a fan of Elijah Wood. I swear it’s not just shallowness at work here, but that there’s something about his charismatic screen presence that makes me squeal like a fangirl. He plays Frodo perfectly, already showing Frodo’s attraction to the Ring. Perhaps it’s because the Ring has awoken, but it lures and tempts Frodo almost immediately when he leaves the Shire, his comfort zone. It will be interesting to see how Frodo changes, since it’s inevitable that the Ring’s effect on Frodo will be noticeable later on in their journey. Will he become like Gollum in the end, or will he somehow suppress his desires, opting for the path of Bilbo? Or neither of the above? We shall see.
The acting is superb, the cinematography stunning and beautifully shot, the music perfectly in tune with the story — all of these contribute to this masterpiece. And with that, look forward to our next recap!
Let’s move onwards, folks!
SCREENCAP CREDITS: framecaplib