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SCOD: Hobbits at the end of (many) things

Loresilme
Valinor


Jun 21 2013, 2:03pm

Post #1 of 7 (359 views)
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SCOD: Hobbits at the end of (many) things Can't Post

Today we have a SCOD of Merry and Pippin in Isengard after the Ents have routed the Orcs.
One aspect about this shot I always like is how they've captured the lighting so well - to me the sideways slanted light looks just the way the sunlight does look after a huge storm has passed but there are still thick clouds overhead.


Then I got to thinking that the way this shot is composed reminds me of a few other shots throughout the trilogy.
Specifically, scenes where the camera is placed behind the Hobbits, so we see their backs, and we see these glimpses of the other worlds of Middle-earth as if through their eyes.

So above, we have Merry and Pippin witnessing the ending of Saruman's rule, and the ending of the Ents' last march.

Here are a couple more examples:

Frodo and Sam watching Elves leaving for the harbor (FOTR):


And this one from ROTK - the Hobbits, accompanied by Gandalf, seeing the last grey ship to leave Middle-earth:



Questions/Comments

In FOTR, it's nighttime. We are very closely positioned behind Frodo and Sam, at a below ground level perspective. The colors are muted blues and silvers, and some green, and the atmosphere is dreamlike.
In TTT, it's mid-day in the aftermath of a huge watery, fiery battle. Here we are a couple of feet back from Merry and Pippin, and we are at ground (er..., water ) level. There are more colors, and they're sharper, but there's still a sort of flatness to the colors.
In ROTK, it's twilight. We are now fully several feet behind, and up above, the Hobbits. The sea in the distance, the ship and the Elves are a bit hazy and lacking in much color, but where the Hobbits are is bright and sharp in comparison, and noticeably colorful with a particularly vibrant green and some yellows.

As we all here on the TORn movie board have found over the years (and, to quote Darkstone Smile): none of this is coincidental. So, what are your thoughts?

1. Why use this particular viewpoint at these moments (as if we are standing behind the Hobbits)?

2. What could the increasing distances and shift in eye level mean?

3. How do the three scenes compare in terms of mood and meaning?

4. What might the scenes mean in relation to the Hobbits' journeys into the larger world and what they learn, and how they change along the way? The Hobbits had some shared experiences and some individual - are these scenes shedding any light on who was affected more by what, and how?

5. What is the meaning of having Gandalf as part of the group of Hobbits in the ROTK scene?

6. EvilAnd what could Merry and Pippin have possibly been thinking, wading barefoot into waist-deep water in the aftermath of a battle ShockedSmile?


willowing
Lorien

Jun 22 2013, 9:43pm

Post #2 of 7 (175 views)
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SCOD-The Hobbits at the End of many things [In reply to] Can't Post

Scene 1

Like the rushing of the wind the Ents and Huorns invade Isengard, biting, breaking,chopping, hurling, tossing, gnawing and drowning everything in this land. The dam is broken and water pours down the hillside onto the land and into the foul pits sending up plumes of steam and vapour.

The noise of destruction is deafening as the forest folk spend all morning avenging their fellow trees destroyed by Saruman.

Merry and Pippin are bothered more by their rumblings stomach than the eerie silence that follows after the sounds of battle and decide to look for first lunch, Without safety or precaution in mind they wade waist deep through the discoloured water filled with debris. Their searching brings them to the scene outside Saruman’s tower.

The scene has taken on a grim and determined mood, by mid day or there abouts Merry and Pippin are merely onlookers as they watch the Ents besiege Saruman who is holed up in his tower and cannot find another way out. They can hear the Ents discussing their next plan of action and celebrating their victory while hot steamy vapours rise from the pits The clouds in the sky have somewhat dissipated and the sun is able to cast its light and presense over the land releasing it from the shadows of bondage.

Although they may have felt pity for Saruman, this is as close to Isengard that Merry and Pippin will get. The friendship and close bond between the two hobbits and Treebeard remain intact.

Scene Two

Early in their travels Frodo and Sam have chosen a comfortable place on the edge of the woods to sleep and rest after a good day's journey. It is a quiet and still evening and while they are relaxing Frodo hears what sounds like singing coming from in the woods and alerts Sam that it is elves.

They both race toward the singing and being careful not to disturb the elves they watch from a distance as the travellers pass their point of vision. There is a sense of wonder in what they see and hear and are captivated by the moment. Very good lighting for the elves and almost like the light of the full moon is shining on the backs of Frodo and Sam.

The hobbits minds were alert but their bodies were tired.

Scene 3

You can almost feel the solemnity of this scene as the hobbits and Gandalf arrive at the Grey Havens. As Gandalf said his time in MiddleEarth was finished peace has being restored.

What better place to put Gandalf than in this scene with the four hobbits and to have Gandalf spring a surprise that would shock and shake the other three hobbits especially Samwise.

The lighting captures the mood of the moment perfectly. It is twilight on a calm summers day, the sea is silvery and the sun is slowing sinking into the west.

The shift in eye level in this scene may have to do with elevation, the path is leading Gandalf and the hobbits downwards towards Elrond, Galadriel and Celegorn.



Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 22 2013, 11:12pm

Post #3 of 7 (258 views)
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A trio of shots [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Today we have a SCOD of Merry and Pippin in Isengard after the Ents have routed the Orcs.
One aspect about this shot I always like is how they've captured the lighting so well - to me the sideways slanted light looks just the way the sunlight does look after a huge storm has passed but there are still thick clouds overhead.
Then I got to thinking that the way this shot is composed reminds me of a few other shots throughout the trilogy.
Specifically, scenes where the camera is placed behind the Hobbits, so we see their backs, and we see these glimpses of the other worlds of Middle-earth as if through their eyes.
So above, we have Merry and Pippin witnessing the ending of Saruman's rule, and the ending of the Ents' last march.
Why use this particular viewpoint at these moments (as if we are standing behind the Hobbits)?
It gives a nice sense of perspective, doesn't it, and makes the mess all the more real. Seen from afar the chaos might not look like quite as much, but the close up view of what they see, with the detritus floating by and the gross and fouled water, makes you feel how much damage there is to clean up, and how much Saruman has twisted the landscape! What could the increasing distances and shift in eye level mean? This feels lie a classic 'Hobbit view' shot, of everything larger than they are. Except for the floating barrel Merry and Pippin have to look up at everything! Small folk in a big world - in this shot a big mess.
How do the three scenes compare in terms of mood and meaning? There is a storm in the distance but at last they have some sun. Excellent point about the lighting here Loresilme - the light of day has broken through, even if only in a small part of ME.
What might the scenes mean in relation to the Hobbits' journeys into the larger world and what they learn, and how they change along the way? The Hobbits had some shared experiences and some individual - are these scenes shedding any light on who was affected more by what, and how? Hmm, interestingly Pippin is in the lead here. A sign of his changing courage, and active role in figuring out what they will do next? Frodo and Sam watching Elves leaving for the harbor (FOTR):

In FOTR, it's nighttime. We are very closely positioned behind Frodo and Sam, at a below ground level perspective. The colors are muted blues and silvers, and some green, and the atmosphere is dreamlike. Why use this particular viewpoint at these moments (as if we are standing behind the Hobbits)?
In this scene I think 'dreamlike' as you perfectly phrased it is what we are seeing. The mist, the slow motion, intensely dignified Elven procession all are part of the dream-like vision that our Hobbits are seeing. What could the increasing distances and shift in eye level mean? Eye level here seems to imply that our Hobbits are part of the earth, removed from the focus, a silent and unexpected audience to the Elf procession. The Elves don't see them, but then the Elves aren't looking for anyone - their path is ahead of them and they are probably deep in their own thoughts of goodbye to ME and what will come next.
How do the three scenes compare in terms of mood and meaning? I agree with Sam, this part makes me sad because I think it makes the Elves sad...their leaving feels like a loss, and thought in canon we know it is inevitable its a loss of things ancient and beautiful.
What might the scenes mean in relation to the Hobbits' journeys into the larger world and what they learn, and how they change along the way? The Hobbits had some shared experiences and some individual - are these scenes shedding any light on who was affected more by what, and how? In this scene they are still so young, so unknowing; neither having the knowledge that this journey that seems so mystical to them now would be theirs to take one day. And this one from ROTK - the Hobbits, accompanied by Gandalf, seeing the last grey ship to leave Middle-earth: Why use this particular viewpoint at these moments (as if we are standing behind the Hobbits)?. What could the increasing distances and shift in eye level mean? What is the meaning of having Gandalf as part of the group of Hobbits in the ROTK scene? The whole composition of this scene - Gandalf higher and behind, and the eyeline sweep to the ship - all feel to me like this scene flows from Gandalf. Its like the culmination of all his work in ME, and thus the scene flows from him gracefully towards the waiting Firstborn, encompassing the Hobbits.
How do the three scenes compare in terms of mood and meaning? This scene makes me cry all these years later. I feel happy for Frodo, as EW does a spectacular job of showing the healing even in this small span...but simply giving up Frodo and Bilbo from ME is painful, bittersweet loss. I think the soft lighting of this scene, the gentle breeze are all visual ways to provide comfort for the loss to Merry, Pippin and Sam (and to all of us.) What might the scenes mean in relation to the Hobbits' journeys into the larger world and what they learn, and how they change along the way? The Hobbits had some shared experiences and some individual - are these scenes shedding any light on who was affected more by what, and how? The Ringbearers in front...nice point Loresilme. Bilbo up in front, the longest Ringbearer, aided by the two younger ones. Fantastic show but not empirically a sign of who needs the most healing - because I think that is Frodo. But Frodo is so newly wise and deeply aware of how injured Bilbo may be (because of his own pain), he supports Bilbo here instead. (LOVE when Elrond holds out his arms for Bilbo.)
EvilAnd what could Merry and Pippin have possibly been thinking, wading barefoot into waist-deep water in the aftermath of a battle ShockedSmile? A good example of what you don't know...could hurt you! But their curiosity and hunger trump any well-based fear!!! This was a fabulous and brilliantly thought out set of SCOD Loresilme, thanks for connecting these shots!!! Makes me appreciate ever the more the thought and heart that goes into these films by SPJ and Co. Heart


Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Loresilme
Valinor


Jun 24 2013, 3:05pm

Post #4 of 7 (101 views)
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Very descriptive! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi willowing!
I love how your writing captures both the action and the essence of the three scenes. And in particular, this made me smile:


Quote
Merry and Pippin are bothered more by their rumblings stomach than the eerie silence


lol, how true! The most important thing for Hobbits, once the immediate danger is passed: "How soon do we eat?" Wink!


Loresilme
Valinor


Jun 24 2013, 3:17pm

Post #5 of 7 (106 views)
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Whoaaa [In reply to] Can't Post

I just thought of something based on what you wrote here:


Quote
What could the increasing distances and shift in eye level mean? What is the meaning of having Gandalf as part of the group of Hobbits in the ROTK scene? The whole composition of this scene - Gandalf higher and behind, and the eyeline sweep to the ship - all feel to me like this scene flows from Gandalf. Its like the culmination of all his work in ME, and thus the scene flows from him gracefully towards the waiting Firstborn, encompassing the Hobbits.


Ok now I know I may be reading more into this than intended, lol, but I *could* go so far as to say, maybe Gandalf's unseen presence and influence is implied in the previous shots. His hand was there, guiding these events, but he's not seen, now however, that all is said and done, now his true role in it can be revealed.

Do you think Shocked?!?

Or, if I'm getting I get too out there with these analyses, feel free to just reel me in Laugh Sly.


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 24 2013, 4:42pm

Post #6 of 7 (111 views)
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For a three-hour (Philosphical) tour... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I just thought of something based on what you wrote here:


Quote
What could the increasing distances and shift in eye level mean? What is the meaning of having Gandalf as part of the group of Hobbits in the ROTK scene? The whole composition of this scene - Gandalf higher and behind, and the eyeline sweep to the ship - all feel to me like this scene flows from Gandalf. Its like the culmination of all his work in ME, and thus the scene flows from him gracefully towards the waiting Firstborn, encompassing the Hobbits.


Ok now I know I may be reading more into this than intended, lol, but I *could* go so far as to say, maybe Gandalf's unseen presence and influence is implied in the previous shots. His hand was there, guiding these events, but he's not seen, now however, that all is said and done, now his true role in it can be revealed.

Do you think Shocked?!? Or, if I'm getting I get too out there with these analyses, feel free to just reel me in Laugh Sly.




I think the Hobbit-view, Hobbit height shots are, on a primary visual and then subliminal level, meant to give the hobbit-centric world view...but of course, in a deeper philosophical sense of those know the tale/behind the tale and the amount of investment Gandalf has in these events, it may certainly 'feel' like spiritually one can sense the gentle hand of Gandalf guiding them forward with his hand on their backs. In which case the final scene at the Havens is indeed a culmination shot, where everything is finally indeed revealed - Narya and the closest intimation to Gandalf's divinity, in his purest and whitest grace, with the way to the Blessed Realm in sight; the force that guided all the events and all the souls towards this end.

So I'll take that speculative cruise with you Loresilme! (If we don't come back someone else may have to reel us in!!!!!) Laugh

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Darkstone
Immortal


Jun 28 2013, 8:26pm

Post #7 of 7 (98 views)
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Well [In reply to] Can't Post

“That’s the point of coloring. It’s not just about correction, or balance, or a mechanical smoothing of any production issues that have found their way into post. It’s about leading an audience through an emotional experience. Color matters, take some time to learn how to use it to tell your story.”
- Eric Escobar, Why Every Filmmaker is Also a Colorist


1. Why use this particular viewpoint at these moments (as if we are standing behind the Hobbits)?

These types of looking over the shoulder shots are intended to build an intimacy, a connection between the characters and the audience.


2. What could the increasing distances and shift in eye level mean?

The Passing of the Elves shot puts us right there shoulder to shoulder with Sam and Frodo. We’re with them in discovering the wonders and mysteries of the landscape of Middle-earth.

In the aftermath of the Storming of Isengard we, like Merry and Pippin themselves, are a bit separated. Like men at the end of a battle, we are physically together, yet alone in our thoughts as we try to process what we saw, and for M&P, try to process what they did.

In the Grey Havens we’re even more apart, and a bit elevated. A lot of things have happened since the Passing of the Elves. Bilbo, Frodo, and Sam have changed, M&P have changed, Gandalf has changed. (And perhaps we, the audience have changed?) We’re all still friends but things will never be what they used to be. It’s kind of like how Sam holds himself a bit separate from Frodo during the Hobbit Tickle Party.


3. How do the three scenes compare in terms of mood and meaning?

The Passing of the Elves is in “day for night” blue. The scene is dark, mysterious, and slightly dangerous. As are Elves.

Flotsam and Jetsam is in apocalyptic washed out grey. That visual should lead the audience to the washed out feeling of after battle emotion.

The Grey Havens are in rich golden tones, with well defined light, looking into the sunset. The audience can feel the satisfaction of a saved Shire, then, with the sunset at our backs and the sun out of our eyes, Frodo delivers his stunning news. (It seems significant that the three hobbits out in front are the three surviving Ringbearers, and that all three will end up sailing to Valinor sooner or later.)


4. What might the scenes mean in relation to the Hobbits' journeys into the larger world and what they learn, and how they change along the way?

They are windows into how the hobbits bonded, then felt torn in two, then found wholeness, whether back in the Shire, or in Valinor.


The Hobbits had some shared experiences and some individual - are these scenes shedding any light on who was affected more by what, and how?

Yes.



5. What is the meaning of having Gandalf as part of the group of Hobbits in the ROTK scene?

Like us, he is now just an observer of his, or rather, our, "dear hobbits".


6. And what could Merry and Pippin have possibly been thinking, wading barefoot into waist-deep water in the aftermath of a battle ?

Same thing I was thinking every time the street flooded: Fun! And treasure! Only of course they have very thick soles. Not that they helped Sean Astin any wading in the Anduin at Amon Hen.

******************************************
Brothers, sisters,
I was Elf once.
We danced together
Under the Two Trees.
We sang as the soft gold of Laurelin
And the bright silver of Telperion,
Brought forth the dawn of the world.
Then I was taken.

Brothers, sisters,
In my torment I kept faith,
And I waited.
But you never came.
And when I returned you drew sword,
And when I called your names you drew bow.
Was my Eldar beauty all,
And my soul nothing?

So be it.
I will return your hatred.
And I am hungry.


(This post was edited by Darkstone on Jun 28 2013, 8:30pm)

 
 

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