Here begin screencaps for The Two Towers.
I haven't yet posted screencaps from the TTT, but there will be series from scenes in the Emyn Muil, the Dead Marshes, the Black Gate, Henneth Annun and the Forbidden Pool, and Osgiliath. I've made and tweaked all the caps, but it will take a while to write posts for them all. If I get fed up writing presentations and excerpting book and film texts, I may just post the screencaps plain. I know some readers really like to read the intros (and have the bits of book and film to refer to), but my guess is most people skip over all that and head for the pictures.
The Two Towers.
Frodo did not fare as well in the second film as he did in the first, the screenwriters undermining his character (compared to his book self) in many instances. Nevertheless, his scenes are treasure troves of great screencaps. I think I enjoy the caps more than watching the actual film, when it comes to many of Frodo's scenes, especially the scenes that warp Frodo's character the most.
Take Frodo's scenes with Faramir, in which significant departures were made. The departures changed not only the story line but the tone, even the themes in Tolkien's book. Yet many of the caps made from these scenes are beautiful.
How did Film Faramir and his Men—Men descended from Númenor—get to be such thugs? I suppose the film-makers hinted at the direction they would take back in FotR, when they showed Aragorn, Númenor's finest, and the heir of Isildur, hustling Frodo Baggins the halfling (and the best hobbit in the Shire) up the stairs of the Prancing Pony to send him sprawling across the floor like a common criminal apprehended by the local tough cop-on-the-beat.
I should have been prepared, then, to see a similarly noble book character like Faramir hustling Frodo Baggins roughly through the woods of Ithilien, having him hauled into the hide-out to be bullied and threatened, finally to be pushed and shoved down the hills to Osgiliath to send to Faramir's deranged father as a "mighty gift". [Why send Frodo at all? I always wondered. Why not just take the Ring and send *it*? For Faramir, Frodo is like the cereal box with a prize inside. Why bother to send the box?]
The EE of TTT (which does have some fine moments) makes these characters look even worse. Faramir not only roughly accosts Gollum down at the Pool, in the EE he allows his thuggy Rangers to savagely beat him. As far as they are concerned, they are beating an aged, scarred, starved and naked creature, less than half their size. These are Gondor's finest! Save us from Gondor's worst. Orc mischief, as Treebeard would say.
Worse for me (as a Frodo fan) is that Frodo is shown sitting by while it happens. He is, after all, sitting in the very same cave. The sounds of Gollum's screams and weeping, the fists and boots of the Rangers thudding into flesh and bone must have filled the entire hide-out. Yet there's Frodo, quite unconcerned with Gollum's plight, too taken up with his own *issues*.
Sam says to Frodo, he should take the opportunity to get away. Put on the Ring. Disappear. (Well, Sam was never a fan of Gollum in either book or film.) Does Frodo answer, affronted, "How can I leave, Sam? These Men are beating one who is in my charge, who has even saved me twice, and, most important, whom I promised to keep from harm if he came to me"? He does not. Frodo pays no attention at all to what is happening to Gollum in the same cave. Instead, he sits dismal and dejected, telling how he can't put on the Ring because Sauron will see him. "The Ring is taking me," he says. By doing nothing to intervene while Faramir's men brutally beat the one he has taken under his care tells me the Ring has already taken him.
But I grow heated. For the fact is, in spite of heart-felt complaints like these, I really do love The Two Towers. I loved it from the first viewing, shocked as I was by the departures, loving it for its dramatic power, epic sweep, the Rohan characters, the great score, and the development of the Aragorn story-line. Faramir and Frodo did not fare so well, as I said.
Yet still I loved Frodo and Faramir. How could that be? Bear in mind I was not yet a swooner for Frodo. That happened after RotK.
In the past year I have decided that the credit goes to the actors who played the parts. It’s as if each actor's own intelligence, integrity, and warmth came through in the roles, no matter what the writers had the characters do. Aragorn kicks Frodo around, but few viewers doubt that Aragorn does not love Frodo, or think Aragorn a cad. I have reached the opinion that this is because Viggo Mortenson himself—behind-the-scenes hero of stunties, cast and crew—came through the character, no matter what he did. Likewise, Faramir does thuggy things, yet David Wenham still manages to convince me that Faramir is a decent, kind, nice man. I think I have to give credit to David Wenham, who, from all reports, is a decent, kind, nice man. Frodo does inept, vacillating things, falls down a lot, and frequently shows poor judgement. But Elijah Wood manages to produce a Frodo who nevertheless seems noble, wise, steadfast, and possessed of some inner steel. As with Viggo Mortenson and David Wenham, I think more and more that film-Frodo's fine points are actually his actor's, coming through his character in spite of what is actually there in the pages of film script. In the screencaps, his facial work is so expressive and so evocative, when I look at them in light of Tolkien's story, I find myself imagining the book scenes as they might have been played.
So: my belated apologies to Elijah Wood for not giving him more credit as an actor and as a person in the past.
As I said, apart from whether I liked this or that part of The Two Towers as an adaptation of Tolkien’s book, even very problematic scenes could make great screencaps. The art design for the shots, and the power of the acting make the screencaps worth looking at no matter what the actors are actually saying or doing.
In the beginning of TTT (apart from the FABULOUS opening sequence inside Moria), the filmmakers do very well. They successfully take a number of vignettes from the Emyn Muil section of the book—even inventing one (the box of salt)—and put them together very economically. Some nuances are lost, of course, nuances that matter to me, but much is retained. I have nothing but admiration for the Emyn Muil sequences in the film.
In the opening scene for Sam and Frodo capped below, the film-makers gave a quite faithful impression of the Emyn Muil. They let Frodo have a dramatic vision of the Eye, but it fit, making more visceral Frodo's more stoic book remark that "there's an Eye in it"—referring to the land of shadow in the East.
In the EE of the film, the "We're not alone" section actually follows the caps that will come next, the scene of the descent by Elven rope and the box of salt.
~*~Book scene, from "The Taming of Sméagol":’What a fix!’ said Sam. (…) We’ve come the wrong way the wrong way altogether, seemingly. We can’t get down; and if we did get down, we’d find all that green land a nasty bog, I’ll warrant. Phew! Can you smell it?’ He sniffed at the wind.
‘Yes, I can smell it,’ said Frodo, but he did not move, and his eyes remained fixed, staring out towards the dark line and the flickering flame. ‘Mordor!’ he muttered under his breath. ‘If I must go there, I wish I could come there quickly and make an end!’ He shuddered. The wind was chilly and yet heavy with an odour of cold decay. ‘Well,’ he said, at last withdrawing his eyes, ‘we cannot stay here all night, fix or no fix. We must find a more sheltered spot, and camp once more; and perhaps another day will show us a path.’
‘Or another and another and another,’ muttered Sam. ‘Or maybe no day. We’ve come the wrong way.’
‘I wonder,’ said Frodo. ‘It’s my doom, I think, to go to that Shadow yonder, so that a way will be found.”
The scene continues....’Did you see them again, Mr. Frodo?’ asked Sam, as they sat, stiff and chilled, munching wafers of lembas, in the cold grey of early morning.
‘No,’ said Frodo. ‘I’ve heard nothing, and seen nothing, for two nights now.’
‘Nor me,’ said Sam. ‘Grrr! Those eyes did give me a turn! But perhaps we’ve shaken him off at last, the miserable slinker. Gollum! I’ll give him gollum in his throat, if ever I get my hands on his neck.’
‘I hope you’ll never need to,’ said Frodo. ‘I don’t know how he followed us; but it may be that he’s lost us again, as you say. In this dry bleak land we can’t leave many footprints, nor much scent, even for his snuffling nose.’
‘I hope that’s the way of it,’ said Sam. ‘I wish we could be rid of him for good!’
‘So do I,’ said Frodo; but he’s not my chief trouble. I wish we could get away from these hills! I hate them. I feel all naked on the east side, stuck up here with nothing but the dead flats between me and that Shadow yonder. There’s an Eye in it. Come on! We’ve got to get down today somehow.’
But that day wore on, and when afternoon faded towards evening they were still scrambling along the ridge and had found no way of escape.
Sometimes in the silence of that barren country they fancied that they heard faint sounds behind them, a stone falling, or the imagined step of flapping feet on the rock. But if they halted and stood still listening, they heard no more, nothing but the wind sighing over the edges of the stones—yet even that reminded them of breath softly hissing through sharp teeth.
At last they were brought to a halt. The ridge took a sharper bend northward and was gashed by a deeper ravine. On the further side it reared up again, many fathoms at a single leap: a great grey cliff loomed before them, cut sheer down as if by a knife stroke. They could go no further forwards, and must turn now either west or east.
~*~Expanded film scene, from The Two Towers:
After a night of rain, the hobbits continue climbing through difficult terrain.Sam: This looks strangely familiar.
Frodo: It's because we've been here before. We're going in circles.
Sam: Ah. What is that 'orrid stink? I warrant there's a nasty bog nearby. Can you smell it?
Frodo: Yes. I can smell it.
Frodo: (Looking back at Sam.) We're not alone.
As usual, the screencaps of this scene have been cropped and adjusted for brightness, contrast and focus. They were made from the TTT EE DVD.
~ Frodo and Sam enter the Emyn Muil:
~ The Emyn Muil, Pt. 1 ~ “We’re not alone.”
~ The Emyn Muil, Pt. 2a ~ "Catch it, Mr. Frodo!"
~ The Emyn Muil, Pt. 2b ~ "A Little Bit of Home", essay,
plus jan-u-wine's "A Gardener's Gift".
Other tables of links:
~ Entries with jan-u-wine's poems.
~ Entries with Frodo & Elijah Wood screencaps.
~ Art Travesty LJ entries.
~ ALBUM of all Art Travesties (images only).