Jun 14 2009, 7:43am
Instead of asking "How can we show what is going on inside Bilbo?, the filmmakers should be asking "How can we make the audience feel the same way as Bilbo?" It seems to me that the answer to this problem is Gollum.
Think of it from another perspective.
Go back a page or so, and you'll find the beginning of a conversation between Gollum and Smeagol. It doesn't say so, but given how we've already seen that double personality displayed, it's easy to see the division. Here's how I envision the scene playing out.
Gollum is leading the invisible Bilbo unknowingly toward the exit. He comes to the mouth of the tunnel leading to the goblins' back door. He peers in and shrinks back.
Smeagol: "But we dursn't go in, precious, no we dursn't. Goblinses down there. Lots of goblinses. We smells them. Ssss!"
Gollum: "What shall we do? Curse them and crush them! We must wait here, precious, wait a bit and see."
Gollum sits humped up right in the opening, eyes gleaming green in the dark, head swaying from side to side.
Cut to Bilbo. He stops uncertainly, then begins to creep slowly forward. Gollum stiffens and looks in his direction. He leans forward, his hands on the ground in front of him. His eyes glow and he hisses menacingly.
Gollum (whispers): "Sss! We smells it, the Baggins. It stole the Precious from us. We hates it, we does! We must find it, we must catch it, gollum, gollum!"
Cut to Bilbo. Close up on his face, showing fear and disgust. His face is smeared with sweat and dust. He takes a slow, deep breath and his hand clenches on Sting's hilt as he nerves himself to fight. He begins to very slowly draw it out of its scabbard.
Smeagol (weeping): "It has the Precious, the Precious is lost to us! We are lost without it, lost in the dark. All alone in the dark under the cold stone we are. Never safe now from the nassty sneaking goblinses. Always alone, Precious, always hungry, always hiding. Oh my Precious, my Precious, we are lost....."
Bilbo hesitates, then slowly lets go of Sting. His face sets in determination, then he rushes forward and leaps over Gollum. He nearly stumbles on landing but recovers his balance and runs down the tunnel, followed by the shrieking of Gollum who is frantically feeling about the passage after him.
Gollum (shrieking and wailing in despair): "Thief, thief, thief! Baggins! We hates it, we hates it, we hates it for ever!"
I think, given what we've seen from Andy Serkis and the Gollum animators, that it is quite possible to make the audience feel the same pity for Smeagol that Bilbo does, and if the actor playing Bilbo does a decent job of showing his emotions on his face, the audience will understand his position and get the full impact of the situation.
If anything more were needed after this, it would only be a confiding comment from Bilbo to Gandalf later on that it may have been foolish, but when it came right to it, he could not bring himself to kill such a pitiful creature, unarmed and unaware.
"Of all faces those of our familiares are the ones both most difficult to play fantastic tricks with, and most difficult really to see with fresh attention. They have become like the things which once attracted us by their glitter, or their colour, or their shape, and we laid hands on them, and then locked them in our hoard, acquired them, and acquiring ceased to look at them.
Creative fantasy, because it is mainly trying to do something else [make something new], may open your hoard and let all the locked things fly away like cage-birds. The gems all turn into flowers or flames, and you will be warned that all you had (or knew) was dangerous and potent, not really effectively chained, free and wild; no more yours than they were you." -On Fairy Stories