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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Bree Screencaps ~ The Ring claims Frodo....

Posted on 2006.04.08 at 22:27
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Bree, Cont’d….

Note: For comparison, here is an unretouched screencap from this set, which I have otherwise lightened and sharpened:







Below I have posted the next set of Bree frames in their theatrical-release film sequence.

When I made the caps, pausing and stopping at each image, I saw for the first time that the filmmakers had chosen to intercut a close-up reaction shot (from the previous segment in which Frodo is opening his eyes), with a medium reaction shot of Frodo as he rises, turning and lurching into the crowd to get to Pippin at the bar. It goes by so quickly in the film, I never noticed it before.

I think what they did works for the filmed scene. The intersplicing of these discontinuous images (switching from Frodo seated still wide-eyed, to Frodo alarmed standing and turning, to Frodo seated wide-eyed, back to Frodo standing and turning), increases the sense of disorientation and urgency in Frodo, thus increasing the sense of concern in the viewer on Frodo’s behalf, even if it is only intuited as the film is rolling.



* * *



The scene:


Frodo has just been shown opening his eyes as he hears Pippin shouting, "Baggins!"











“Sure I know a Baggins! He’s over there, Frodo Baggins. He's my second cousin once removed on his mother's side....” Pippin flutes loudly and jovially from his perch on the stool at the counter.

Frodo rises. He whirls about, alarmed, and plunges through the patrons to the bar. [What eye colour is revealed by brightening these middle-distance shots!]























“Steady on!” Pippin says as Frodo trips and falls.

Peter Jackson could have shot the next scene any number of ways. In the book, Frodo has been entertaining the assembly with a song (to divert attention from the blundering Pippin), falls from the table upon which he has been standing, and is seen to disappear. He sees no visions, hears no ominous sounds. The Ring ends up on his finger quite accidentally. The misgivings Frodo feels are relatively mild:

For a moment he wondered if the Ring itself had not played him a trick; perhaps it had tried to reveal itself in response to some wish or command that was felt in the room. He did not like the looks of the men that had gone out [ the swarthy Breelander, the squint-eyed southerner and Harry the gatekeeper].

Whatever Frodo felt, he does not seem unduly alarmed.

The next we hear from his POV is that he crawls away under the tables, feeling a fool, to pop up at Strider’s table in the corner. He takes the Ring off, becomes visible, and Strider reads him a lecture on his and his friends’ careless behaviour. Strider insinuates he knows about the Ring, and Frodo tries to appear unconcerned saying he’ll talk with Strider later. Frodo then announces his presence to the room full of hobbits and Men, who still are alarmed and disconcerted over his disappearance.

“I haven’t vanished,” Frodo ties to assure them cheerily. He’s merely been talking with Strider in the corner.

As with the rest of the Bree sequence, the way Frodo ends up with the Ring on his finger and disappearing is very, very different in the film from the book.

I had not planned to cap the moment when the Ring ends up on Frodo’s finger. I felt as though there were enough copies of that image floating around. But when I pause-forwarded to that scene I was completely arrested by the very first frame....


There are many ways Peter Jackson could have filmed even this version of the disappearance of Frodo. He could have shown Frodo running up to Pippin, tripping, Pippin turning to look and suddenly doing a reaction shot of alarm and surprise. The camera would pan to an empty place where Frodo had been standing. Then they’d show the reaction of the by-standers. Or, if PJ had been keen to show the Ring actually slipping onto Frodo’s finger, he could have shown him with his hand in his pocket fiddling with the Ring -- as Bilbo had done -- and as Frodo did in the book. If he wanted to stress the idea of the Ring as volitional -- that it wanted to end up slipping onto Frodo’s finger -- he could have done a side-view, showing Frodo’s hand, finger extended, with the Ring slipping onto it.

When I forwarded to the first screencap of the series in which the Ring lands on Frodo’s finger (after he has fallen), my mouth literally dropped open. That Peter Jackson went to all the massive CGI trouble to shoot this moment in the precise way he did, tells me it was done very intentionally.

“Heavens!!!” I said, “It’s another Peter Jackson bookend!”

Suddenly, this opening frame reminded me intensely of the one in the Sammath Naur in which Gollum is shown exulting after he has claimed the Ring. The camera shoots him from above, the POV going right through the Ring as he holds it in his upraised fingers.

The two shots are not composed identically, but the resemblance is strong, and PJ’s penchant for “bookends” is well know. I am sure it was intentional. It reinforced for me -- if in retrospect -- that this was where it begins in the films: the enslavement of Frodo to the Ring.

Almost like a lasso the Ring hovers, ready to drop. It does drop, sliding onto Frodo's finger as easily as the bridegroom slides the wedding ring onto the finger of the bride. Frodo extends his fingers up towards the camera -- his face conveys fear, panic, urgency, disbelief -- he reaches up -- in order to do what? Snatch back the Ring? Receive the Ring? Be ensnared by the Ring? Is he so in awe he stretches out his finger merely to touch it, like the hand of Adam meeting God’s on the Sistine Ceiling? -- as if an arc of invisible electricity connected them?

None of these? All of these...?

At the end of RotK Frodo claims the Ring. But, here at the beginning of the film trilogy, the Ring claims Frodo. Gollum would demonstrate both -- unforgettably -- two films and two years later: claiming the Ring even while It claiimed him, as if in unholy matrimony.


Anyway. It just struck me as I scrolled through the caps what an amazing bit of filmmaking this was, this particular choice for showing the Ring slipping onto Frodo’s hand.

I also thought what a lovely job Elijah Wood did as an actor, making real the descent of the Ring towards him as he stretched up his fingers to meet it in this bitter destiny.





















For the next Bree screencap entry click HERE.




Click HERE for table of other Frodo [and Elijah Wood] screencaps.




~ Mechtild

Comments:


Mariole
mariole at 2006-04-09 04:50 (UTC) (Link)
At the end of RotK Frodo claims the Ring. But, here at the beginning of the film trilogy, the Ring claims Frodo.

Oh, very well put!

Tgshaw at KD has a lovely comparison somewhere between the two shots you mention, Frodo and Gollum both claiming/reaching for the Ring. In Gollum's case, his image appears completely inside the Ring. He has no identity, no separate self without it. But in Frodo's case, the Ring is off center. It does not encircle him. It looms over him, but he is still outside it, himself.

She expresses it much better than I did. But it's so neat to have you notice the same thing.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-04-09 05:10 (UTC) (Link)
Tgshaw at KD has a lovely comparison somewhere between the two shots you mention, Frodo and Gollum both claiming/reaching for the Ring. In Gollum's case, his image appears completely inside the Ring. He has no identity, no separate self without it. But in Frodo's case, the Ring is off center. It does not encircle him. It looms over him, but he is still outside it, himself.

Golly, Mariole, that is very cool. This makes me think all the more that P.J. did it intentionally.

And it also makes me think I should read tg's posts before I write entries! Talk about, "Been there, done that!"

But I'll leave my remarks for now. If other posters say they already have thought or heard of this idea, I'll delete all that. I am happy to have noticed it for myself, but there's no need to make a thing of it.
Shirebound
shirebound at 2006-04-09 13:35 (UTC) (Link)
But I'll leave my remarks for now. If other posters say they already have thought or heard of this idea, I'll delete all that. I am happy to have noticed it for myself, but there's no need to make a thing of it.

Please don't edit yourself, or hesitate to make remarks or observations! I don't read any message boards or groups other than LJ (and have no time to do so), so I depend on you folks to open my mind and eyes to all these things. Please continue! We can write fanfic on a subject someone else has covered, but we write in our own style, and with our own 'story' to tell. And you do the same, with your pics and observations.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-04-09 13:40 (UTC) (Link)
Mariole, do you remember where tg made this comment? I just looked quickly at her entries for Lord of the Rings screencaps and I didn't see the appropriate it in her Bree caps nor in her "End of All Things" caps (which don't include the Crack of Doom scene).

Is it in one of her essays, then? I would like to cross-reference it with a link to "Frodo Lives Within Us", but I can't find the screencaps to correspond with it.

Maybe it was said in a thread....? If you don't recall, don't go scrounging. I'll send her a PM and ask her myself. But it is a very cool note and I would like to include it (that Gollum is completely within the circle of the Ring in his from-above-POV shot).
Mariole
mariole at 2006-04-09 14:19 (UTC) (Link)
I thought it was very cool that you did notice it. I never notice anything, just keep looking at that face. b
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-04-11 05:31 (UTC) (Link)
I PM'd tg and she said that was not she who said that. Hunh! It's a very neat observation, though.
Mariole
mariole at 2006-04-11 15:14 (UTC) (Link)
See, the brain, it just leaks out the ears. *mourns*
Shirebound
shirebound at 2006-04-09 12:59 (UTC) (Link)
making real the descent of the Ring towards him as he stretched up his fingers to meet it in this bitter destiny.

What a marvelous way to describe that moment!
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-04-09 13:29 (UTC) (Link)
When things worked in the films, they really worked.

Did you read Mariole's comment? She says tgshaw (who has the great site for analyzing EW's acting by looking at screencaps from all this films has already noted the similarity between the scenes of the Ringbearers (Frodo in FotR and Gollum triumphant in RotK before he falls into the fire).

I will have to find her comments and edit a link into it for future reference.
Starlit Woods
starlit_woods at 2006-04-09 13:42 (UTC) (Link)
I love how I can hear Billy Boyd's voice in my head so clearly saying "Sure I know a Baggins! He’s over there, Frodo Baggins." :)

I love the look of complete terror on Frodo's face too in the first shot! And I really like how they use an unconventional angle for the shot where the ring falls onto his finger :)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-04-09 13:50 (UTC) (Link)
This whole scene is so great. And Billy Boyd is one of the ingredients that makes it work. First watching the film, I thought he was a charming and convincing actor from the opening Party, although I disliked things he and Merry were given to do shortly after that (stealing vegetables like little kids, etc.). But both as a character and as an actor I loved his Pippin from the moment he said, "It comes in pints? I'm getting one." It was so true to the character, and so true to what I knew from hanging around drinking beer in real life, I felt I "recognized" him.

I hope Billy Boyd does a lot more. He really shone in all the films, even when he was given really stupid things to do (dramatically stupid). What a professional. In the commentaries he seems like a genuinely nice man, too.
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Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-04-09 18:51 (UTC) (Link)
Looking at them, it seems to me that a part of Frodo's reaction is from the fear of losing the ring.

Fear of losing the Ring. That is certainly true. I meant that by "fear," fear that came of exposing it to view, a tremendous faux pas. He must have been beside himself (on his back, in fact, lol) to see that thing sailing into the air in plain sight. Of course that was the least of his worries since once the thing was on his finger, what did it matter what the bar patrons saw? He was seen and sensed by the Evil powers.

I also thought this shot may have been meant to show us Frodo, small, terrified, and helpless, from the Ring's perspective. A Frodo who was unerestimated by it and everyone around him until he actually succeeded in bringing the thing to the place where it could be destroyed.

Oh, that is a very cool, appealing thought, Mews. I like that a lot! When the shot comes of Gollum seen through the cicle of the Ring, he doesn't look small or frightened. His own fingers are holding the Ring up with triumphant glee, ecstasy, and the look of him perfectly framed by the golden circle is as if he were at last the star of his own personal Great Tale. His moment to stand centre stage was very brief, however.
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Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2006-04-11 08:52 (UTC) (Link)
Oh save us Mr. Frodo!

More beauty for our bedazzlement. Thank you so much Mechtild, they really are appreciated.

Looking at your lovely caps I wonder how Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens, the screenwriters, reacted to all this beauty.

Mechtild
mechtild at 2006-04-11 12:41 (UTC) (Link)
I think they were a little smitten. Not as though they had a crush on EW, but I think they did seem to understand the power of Frodo. They undercut him so often in their screenwriting in some ways, but when it comes to promoting his scenes full of pathos, they seemed to be right on board all of those. I can't remember but didn't Fran Walsh direct a number of Sam, Frodo and/or Gollum scenes herself? I seem to recall that on the DVD extras but maybe I invented the notion. Whenever Philippa Boyens was interviewed about Frodo, though, her voice always softened. I think she was a big Frodo fan, anyway, before the films, but she was willing to be a fan of his angst more than of his strong character. (And we became fans of his angst, too, no?)

P.S. You should see Philippa in the King Kong DVD extras. She is so slim I didn't recognize her at first. Both she and Pete lost all their extra weight and have become two trim folks.
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