"Would you like me to describe it to you, or shall I find you a box?"
If you didn't guess it yet, I'm abbreviating for my titles. MEC stands for "30 Day Middle-Earth Challenge" save without the "30 Day" part and only using the first letter for the other words.. but ahem. You're smart readers. I don't need to explain that...
My favorite Middle-Earth movie... I'll admit, this one was hard. But after a long, internal debate, I'd have to go with...
The Two Towers is the story of the Fellowship after they break apart. By this time, Sam and Frodo are on their own path to Mordor, Merry and Pippin have been captured by the Uruk-hai, and the three hunters, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, are off to save the captured hobbits from their fate. At least, that's the plan.
However, the three hunters get mixed up in the affairs of the country of Rohan, the mysterious White Wizard, an aging king, and an old stronghold in the mountains. Merry and Pippin find themselves the guest of a most unlikely and rather unhasty character, while Frodo and Sam are forced to trust an enemy as their guide.
TTT (The Two Towers, if you didn't know) is probably my favorite Middle-Earth film so far because of the epic greatness that the film itself lends to the screen. For instance, we travel through some of my favorite places in Middle-Earth (Rohan, Ithilien, Fangorn Forest, etc.) and there's a great focus on some of my favorite characters (Merry & Pippin, Legolas & Gimli, Faramir, Samwise, etc. etc.).
Some of the best things that come out in this film (and I'm talking about the extended edition as well as the regular film) are some of the friendships that are forged in depth. For instance, Legolas and Gimli, though from two races who have pretty much sworn to hate each other, have put aside their differences to work together towards a common goal; firstly, rescuing Merry and Pippin, then defending Helm's Deep from the attacking Uruk-hai. Their banter during the fight at the Deeping Wall is absolutely hilarious!
|Keeping score on how many Uruks they kill.|
While Gollum is not a favorite character of mine (I know too much of what he did and who he is to pity him that much), I do enjoy the scenes revolving around him and his two companions, mostly because of the relationship that springs up between Frodo and Sam. While in the first movie they played on the fact that Sam was, in a sense, beneath Frodo, being only a gardener and not the heir of one of the most famous hobbits in the Shire, yet in TTT, his character becomes that of Frodo's equal. But Sam doesn't flaunt it. He's in this quest just as deeply as Frodo is, and yet his heart's desire is to protect his master, see the quest through, and return to the Shire. He keeps a little bit of home close to him (roast chicken, anyone?), and not only encourages Frodo to keep going on, but also reminds him why he needs to go on.
|"It is special. It's a little bit of home."|
Another thing that I love about TTT is the introduction of Faramir, second son of Denethor, the Steward of Gondor. He's just one of those unlikely heroes, and watching how his father mistreats and hates him makes you want to love him all the more. He does all that is asked of him, without complaint, even when it might be at the cost of his own life. He grants freedom to Frodo and Sam, knowing that sending them to his father would have given him Boromir-status in Denethor's eyes.
I know I've probably said this before but I really like the extra scenes in the extended film that put Faramir and his brother both in the same place. You don't know much about Boromir from The Fellowship of the Ring, only that he came across as bossy, power-hungry, and selfish. But seeing him with Faramir, you get a taste of what the real Boromir was like. He was the favorite son, that's true, yet he did his utmost to show his father that Faramir was just as good as he was.
TTT has some of the most beautiful scenery in Middle-Earth. Sure, you wander through the brown bogs of the Dead Marshes, climb to the black edges of the mountains surrounding Mordor, sympathize with the death and poverty of the Rohan people at the hands of the Wild Men, and step into the filthy metal workshops beneath Isengard, but there is still beauty. Indeed, that fact seems to be one of the main themes of the LOTR stories: even though darkness comes and evil seems to prevail, beauty and goodness will never be quenched nor ultimately destroyed. You have the lush plains of Rohan, the mysterious depths of Fangorn, and humbleness of the Golden Hall, and the life of Ithilien.
|"Look, Mr. Frodo! The king has got a crown again."|
Guess what, peoples? I'm not done yet. This is turning into a regular 'ole film review. But anywho...
Helm's Deep is probably the best battle in all Middle-Earth; just my opinion. 300 men against 10,000 monsters; Legolas and Gimli keeping score; Legolas stair-surfing; Aragorn tossing the dwarf; the Deeping Wall explosion; the elves (did you know that they originally planned for Arwen to be at Helm's Deep? PJ filmed it that way, and then cut all of her scenes out because he later felt that she shouldn't be there) and their sacrifice; Theoden's charge; Gandalf's charge ("At dawn, look to the east."); and I could go on and on.
Also!! TTT has *the* best extended scenes ever!! Don't believe me? Look at some of the following pictures...
|Eowyn attempts to make soup. Poor Aragorn...|
And some of my all-time favorite quotes and scenes...
Aragorn: Legolas, what do your elf eyes see?
Legolas: The Uruks have turned northeast! They're taking the hobbits to Isengard!
Sam: What we need is a few good taters.
Gollum: What's taters, precious? What's taters, eh?
Sam: Po-tay-toes! Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew! Serve them up crisp with a nice piece of fried fish.
Sam: Even you couldn't say no to that.
Gollum: Oh, yes we could. Spoil nice fish. Give it to us raw and wriggling. You keep nasty chips.
Sam: You're hopeless.
Treebeard: We only just finished saying, "Good morning."
Merry: But it's nighttime already!
Faramir: My men tell me that you are orc spies.
Sam: Spies? Now wait just a minute...
Faramir: Then if you're not spies, then who are you?
(Sam and Frodo exchange uneasy glances)
Frodo: We are hobbits of the Shire. Frodo Baggins is my name, and this is Samwise Gamgee.
Faramir: Your bodyguard?
Sam: His gardener.
Eomer: How long since Saruman bought you? What was the promised price, Grima? When all the men are dead, you will have your share of the treasure? Too long have you watched my sister. Too long have you haunted her steps.
(two guards yank him away)
Grima Wormtongue: You see much, Eomer son of Eomund. Too much. You are banished forthwith from the kingdom of Rohan and all its domains. Under pain of death.
Eomer: You have no authority here! Your orders mean nothing.
Grima Wormtongue: Oh, this order does not come from me. It comes from the king. He signed it this morning.
Gimli: Now it's true you don't see many dwarf women. In fact, they are so like in voice and appearance, they are often mistaken for dwarf men.
(Eowyn turns to Aragorn)
Aragorn: (whispering) It's the beards.
Gimli: Of course, this has given rise to the belief that there are no dwarf women, and that dwarves just spring out of holes in the ground! Which is, of course, ridiculous!
Aragorn: (to Gandalf) In one thing you have not changed, dear friend. You still speak in riddles.
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