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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
SCOD - The uttermost foundations of stone.

Kassandros
Rohan


Sep 3 2012, 5:28pm

Post #1 of 17 (1509 views)
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SCOD - The uttermost foundations of stone. Can't Post

Gandalf and the Balrog fall into a giant cavern.


Larger image: http://www.framecaplib.com/lotrlib/images/ttt/ttt0007.jpg

Welcome to The Two Towers!

1. What was your reaction when you saw this shot for the very first time?

2. How well does this shot convey a sense of scale? Is there a difference seeing this as a screen cap versus seeing this in a theater on a big screen?


From The Two Towers - The White Rider:
'Long I fell, and he fell with me. His fire was about me. I was burned. Then we plunged into the deep water and all was dark. Cold it was as the tide of death: almost it froze my heart.'
'Deep is the abyss that is spanned by Durin's Bridge, and none has measured it,' said Gimli.
'Yet is has a bottom, beyond light and knowledge,' said Gandalf. 'Thither I came at last, to the uttermost foundations of stone. He was with me still. His fire was quenched, but now he was a thing of slime, stronger than a strangling snake.
'We fought far under the living earth, where time is not counted. Ever he clutched me, and ever I hewed him, till at last he fled into the dark tunnels. They were not made by Durin's folk, Gimli son of Gloin. Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he.'


3. How well do you feel this shot captures "the uttermost foundations of stone," as described by Tolkien?

4. Do you feel that beginning The Two Towers with the battle between Gandalf and the Balrog was effective?

5. Do you have any other thoughts about the composition of this scene?

all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us...

(This post was edited by Kassandros on Sep 3 2012, 5:37pm)


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Sep 3 2012, 7:33pm

Post #2 of 17 (721 views)
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One of my favourite visuals from the films, [In reply to] Can't Post

and what a cracking way to open TTT.



1. What was your reaction when you saw this shot for the very first time?
"Wow." I also had the impression of a fallen angel.

2. How well does this shot convey a sense of scale? Is there a difference seeing this as a screen cap versus seeing this in a theater on a big screen?

It's the music that really sells the grandeur of this scene for me. The design of the cavern and the seeming slo-mo of the fall (I take it that they're falling at the usual speed but the gargantuan size of the cavern makes the speed appear slower) are fantastic - but add the music and we're talking genuis.

3. How well do you feel this shot captures "the uttermost foundations of stone," as described by Tolkien?
I don't think a cavern is a foundation. We'd need to see the accompanying structures, such as the Endless Stair, to pick up on that.

4. Do you feel that beginning The Two Towers with the battle between Gandalf and the Balrog was effective?
I needed to see it twice to pick up on what was actually happening as they fell, but I loved how it was done. (How does an Istari not burn?)

5. Do you have any other thoughts about the composition of this scene?
The battle of fallen Maia and loyal Maia generates a light that pushes back the dark.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


(This post was edited by Ataahua on Sep 3 2012, 7:33pm)


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Sep 4 2012, 1:32am

Post #3 of 17 (688 views)
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One of the best shots in the trilogy [In reply to] Can't Post

Surveying the depths of space and time, indeed!


One Ringer
Tol Eressea


Sep 4 2012, 5:49am

Post #4 of 17 (705 views)
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Absolutely breath-taking. [In reply to] Can't Post

Whether you're a Tolkien enthusiast, a fan of the films, or (in most cases, I would assume) both, it's moments like this that truly captivate our imagination and love of Middle-Earth, and the "depths" of its adventure.

FOTR 10th Anniversary Music Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33xJU3AIwsg

"You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain."


Macfeast
Rohan


Sep 4 2012, 4:57pm

Post #5 of 17 (614 views)
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Agreed. [In reply to] Can't Post

You said it pretty much the way I was planning on saying it: "One of the best shots in the trilogy".


Loresilme
Valinor


Sep 4 2012, 5:10pm

Post #6 of 17 (614 views)
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TTT opening scene [In reply to] Can't Post

1. What was your reaction when you saw this shot for the very first time?
Wow-the music and this imagery was just astounding. What a way to grab everyone and pull them right back into the story!

2. How well does this shot convey a sense of scale? Is there a difference seeing this as a screen cap versus seeing this in a theater on a big screen?
I didn't see this in a theater until last year when they had the theatrical re-releases, so yes, it is more epic and overwhelming on a large screen, particularly accompanied by a theatrical-level sound system. But really, even at home on a smaller screen, it's stunning.

From The Two Towers - The White Rider:
'Long I fell, and he fell with me. His fire was about me. I was burned. Then we plunged into the deep water and all was dark. Cold it was as the tide of death: almost it froze my heart.'
'Deep is the abyss that is spanned by Durin's Bridge, and none has measured it,' said Gimli.
'Yet is has a bottom, beyond light and knowledge,' said Gandalf. 'Thither I came at last, to the uttermost foundations of stone. He was with me still. His fire was quenched, but now he was a thing of slime, stronger than a strangling snake.
'We fought far under the living earth, where time is not counted. Ever he clutched me, and ever I hewed him, till at last he fled into the dark tunnels. They were not made by Durin's folk, Gimli son of Gloin. Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he.'


3. How well do you feel this shot captures "the uttermost foundations of stone," as described by Tolkien?
I think perhaps it captures the sense of awe in Gimli's statement:
'Deep is the abyss that is spanned by Durin's Bridge, and none has measured it.'
That Gandalf had gone somewhere that no one previously gone, nor had any knowledge (measure) of.

4. Do you feel that beginning The Two Towers with the battle between Gandalf and the Balrog was effective?
Absolutely, the flyover of the mountains and then entering into the mountains and this scene - what a way to grab the audience and whooosh - they're right back into this world within the first minute.

5. Do you have any other thoughts about the composition of this scene?

Other than it being one of the most beautiful images from the trilogy, it makes me think about the light that is brought there by the two of them - and wonder whether that cavern or anything in it, has ever seen any light at all before.


Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Sep 4 2012, 5:27pm

Post #7 of 17 (612 views)
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Foundations of Stone [In reply to] Can't Post

1. What was your reaction when you saw this shot for the very first time?
I was astounded. I felt that it really captured the moment described in the book perfectly.

2. How well does this shot convey a sense of scale? Is there a difference seeing this as a screen cap versus seeing this in a theater on a big screen?
There is a substantial difference in how it comes across, but the sense of scale is still clear in screen cap form.

3. How well do you feel this shot captures "the uttermost foundations of stone," as described by Tolkien?
It is very much how I had imagined it. Unfortunately what is seen of it is limited at best, so I think it is hard to come to a solid conclusion on this one.

4. Do you feel that beginning The Two Towers with the battle between Gandalf and the Balrog was effective?
I feel that it was an excellent way to progress Gandalf's character, as we see (after the flashback) Gandalf exactly where we left him in FOTR and what happened directly afterwards. The scene not only foreshadows the fact that Gandalf returns, it also makes things clearer for the non-book readers, who may have assumed that Gandalf had died from the fall.

5. Do you have any other thoughts about the composition of this scene?
I would have preferred (at least in the EE) to have seen Gandalf and the Balrog land in the water, and see the Balrog's transformation into the slimy "strangling snake". It would have also been nice to see Gandalf pursue the Balrog up the stairs to the peak of Zirak-Zigil, allowing us to see what happened to them immediately after that point when Gandalf returns.

"Radagast is, of course, a worthy wizard, a master of shapes and changes of hue, and he has much lore of herbs and beasts, and birds are especially his friends."-Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings.


zarabia
Tol Eressea


Sep 5 2012, 1:54am

Post #8 of 17 (574 views)
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First reaction to this [In reply to] Can't Post

1. What was your reaction when you saw this shot for the very first time?

It truly inspired awe.

2. How well does this shot convey a sense of scale? Is there a difference seeing this as a screen cap versus seeing this in a theater on a big screen?


On the big screen it conveys scale very well. Here, without the movement and and flashes of light that illuminate the hidden spaces, the sense of scale is lost a bit, but it still works.

3. How well do you feel this shot captures "the uttermost foundations of stone," as described by Tolkien?

It's not exactly as I had imagined it, but it conveys the the sense that this is as deep in the earth as it is possible to go. Very unnerving.

4. Do you feel that beginning The Two Towers with the battle between Gandalf and the Balrog was effective?


Very. It ties the action of TTT to FOTR without going over any of the same ground. Plus, it was just good ol' nail-biting fun!


weaver
Half-elven

Sep 5 2012, 2:58am

Post #9 of 17 (600 views)
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one of the most spiritual shots of the films... [In reply to] Can't Post

..there are lots of "transcedent" shots in the films, IMHO, but this one is one of the best!

Has a very "holy" sense to me..it's a baptism by fire, or a "dying in order to be born into a new life" shot to me.

Thanks for picking this one, one of my favorites!

Weaver




stormcrow20
Gondor


Sep 5 2012, 6:21am

Post #10 of 17 (577 views)
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Brilliant [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm left in awe every time I see this scene. Every thing about it is brilliant. We are shown sweeping shots of the mountains as we slowly begin to hear Gandalf's defiant words, then suddenly we're pulled straight into the scene of the battle. "Fly, you fools!" and we fall over the edge right along with Gandalf. We hear the singing of Glamdring as Gandalf grabs it, the roaring fire of the Balrog, Gandalf's guttural vocalizations and the crackling sparks of the blade striking the beast.

And then they fall into the vast darkness as shown in the screencap. The battle scene alone is moving and suspenseful, but especially so when you realize that these are two very powerful beings, and that Gandalf is definitely more than just an old wizard.



Kassandros
Rohan


Sep 5 2012, 4:18pm

Post #11 of 17 (633 views)
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Breathtaking is a good word for it [In reply to] Can't Post

The Two Towers was the first movie I can remember ever being truly hyped up about before it came out. It was also my first time seeing a movie debut at midnight. I remember being absolutely astounded by this shot and kinda knew the movie would fulfill my expectations and then some.

If anyone wonders about the reason for question two, it's because when I was looking through the screencaps, I was a bit disappointed in seeing this shot at this scale. I don't feel the scene works on the same level at this size. I can analyze and remember how it looks in a theater, but it's just not the same unless it's filling your field of view. Egads that cavern is huge.

Also a great example of when centering a shot makes perfect sense rather than using something like the rule of thirds. Something I like to keep in mind for photography.

all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us...


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Sep 5 2012, 7:19pm

Post #12 of 17 (623 views)
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Good point [In reply to] Can't Post

The rule of thirds is an excellent rule to live by, but if you known WHEN and HOW to break that rule, you can achieve something truly wonderful.

This shot is one of those moments.

Though in general, I think PJ and company break the rule of thirds far too often, leading to some quite ugly close-up compositions.


Noel Q. von Schneiffel
Rivendell


Sep 6 2012, 5:23pm

Post #13 of 17 (535 views)
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Gravity [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
2. How well does this shot convey a sense of scale? Is there a difference seeing this as a screen cap versus seeing this in a theater on a big screen?
It's the music that really sells the grandeur of this scene for me. The design of the cavern and the seeming slo-mo of the fall (I take it that they're falling at the usual speed but the gargantuan size of the cavern makes the speed appear slower) are fantastic - but add the music and we're talking genuis.


I guess the slow motion of the fall is also because they are getting close to the core of Middle-earth, where gravity is getting weaker. Had the abyss gone right to the center of Middle-earth, they would have ended up floating in that exact spot, stuck for all eternity.



The Glorious Truth of J.R.R. Tolkien
Radiates from his Holy Writings


http://www.tolkientruth.info/


Ruinwen
Rivendell


Sep 6 2012, 11:28pm

Post #14 of 17 (533 views)
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Full stop no question [In reply to] Can't Post

my favourite shot in the whole trilogy, and one of the reasons TTT is my favourite of the three films.

I don't really have time to explain why, but I think everyone else in the thread has articulated my feelings perfectly. An amazing start to an amazing film, a really good editorial choice.


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Sep 7 2012, 12:48am

Post #15 of 17 (552 views)
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When the ball of flame broke [In reply to] Can't Post

through the top frame into the space we see here I remember thinking "holy bleep that cavern is huge!" Captain obvious, that's me alright.Laugh

Now I'm wondering if that is supposed to be Gollum's lake from The Hobbit? Supposing it is, would it be fair to say that Gandalf brought light to dark places? Apart from the glow of Sting, how long had it been since light shone in that place, if ever?

(This post was edited by SirDennisC on 0 secs ago)


Ruinwen
Rivendell


Sep 7 2012, 12:56am

Post #16 of 17 (552 views)
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Hadn't thought of that [In reply to] Can't Post

and although it's a nice idea, I don't really see how they could have fallen sideways that far.

The location of Gollum's cave is never precisely pinned down, and Bilbo and the dwarves had run a long way from the entrance at the pass since they entered the mountains, but I don't think they could have gone far enough in two days to come to the caverns beneath Moria. I had always pictured it as somewhere near the Gladden fields, latitudinally. (<--- is that a word?)

Going to go and look at maps now. Laugh


Loresilme
Valinor


Sep 9 2012, 9:20pm

Post #17 of 17 (640 views)
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I never looked at it that way [In reply to] Can't Post

would it be fair to say that Gandalf brought light to dark places?
**************************

Very intriguing! And especially in relation to how those types of victories are not won easily, or in the way intended, or via a route one wants to travel - thinking for instance, of how very much Gandalf did not want to go into Moria. But that was the way light was brought to this dark place.

An interesting perspective, Sir D!




 
 

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