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Jan 082013

The Hobbit Review Part Four ~ Gollum & Riddles in the Dark!

In Part Four of  Mordor’s Review of The Hobbit, we will continue our look at of the Dark Creatures in the film. There will be Spoilers… so if you have not seen the film yet beware!

In Part One of Mordor’s Review of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” I discussed the over all look and pacing of the film, focusing on the story line which I believe should receive a very high score! I touched on many of the areas that critics and reviewers have mentioned and hopefully addressed most of them. In Part Four of this review, we are taking a closer look at Gollum’s Cave and his encounter with Bilbo! For those who have not seen the film… there will be spoilers in the latter six reviews.

Let’s take a trip to Gollum’s Cave! Spoiler Warning!

Please go HERE to our Hobbit Review Page for all seven parts of the Mordor review!

I believe this is my favorite scene in the film. I think Peter Jackson knew that this one scene would anchor the entire trilogy and that he had to get it right.

Bilbo gets separated from the company

We left off with the company of Dwarves and Bilbo being hustled off to the Goblin King. Bilbo trips and falls and is missed among the bustling goblins & dwarves and he is left behind. At this moment he could have run… but he doesn’t, he takes out sting and sees that it’s positively glowing with blue flame… goblin are near alright! Now, this scene is a departure from the book, which has Bilbo staying along with the dwarves and being present for the encounter with The Great Goblin. After the appearance of Gandalf and the death of The Goblin King, Bilbo falls from Dori’s back and is knocked unconscious when Goblins sneak up on them from behind and attack… when Bilbo awakens he is alone in the dark. From here he finds his way deep into the goblin tunnels and eventually to the lake at the heart of the Misty Mountains, where he comes upon Gollum.

However, I can see the need to change this sequence of events in the script, to enhance the chronology of the film. It makes more sense to have Bilbo’s encounter with Gollum occurring at the same time that the dwarves encounter the Goblin King. This change allows the director to cut between these two scenes to create dramatic tension. It also simplifys the exit from the Goblin Tunnels and the encounter with the warg-riders.

After escaping the goblins, Bilbo attempts to go after his friends to help them. However, he is soon accosted by a lone goblin who viciously attacks him. During this fight they both fall into the depths of Goblin Town into a tunnel below. When Bilbo awakens he finds the creature Gollum taking the still living but unconscious goblin to his island on the dark lake.

As much as we love to hate the orcs and goblins in Tolkien’s world, this poor fellow meets a rather nasty end at the hands of Gollum. I really like the fact that they made a point of extinguishing the blue light from Sting when the goblin is killed. This alerts the audience to the power of the sword with it’s unique magic of glowing blue when orcs are near… it also informs Bilbo, just how far away from his friends in Goblin Town above he has become… he is truly lost in the bowels of the mountain! As the light of sting is extinguished, Bilbo lets out a gasp as he understands it’s meaning. When he looks back toward Gollum, he see that he is gone. We then see Gollum crawling over the rock above Bilbo with his eerie eyes aglow!

Gollum’s Cave

I don’t want to give too away about the riddle scene… because it’s full of surprises.  I will say that the way Peter Jackson expertly directs this scene to build tension to it’s climatic moments is inspiring. The way he slowly lets Bilbo discover just how truly mad this creature is… most of the audience watching the film will already understand the twisted nature of this creature with two personalities, which we of course know as Sméagol and Gollum. It is fun to watch as Bilbo begins to understand just how dangerous and deranged Gollum really is and how deadly serious the game they are playing will become.

This is indeed one of the most well crafted scenes in the film.

I suppose Jackson, Walsh and Boyens have had a good deal of time to consider how this scene might play out over the years. It feels finely tuned… between the actors,  the scriptwriters and the special effects team. It’s hard to fathom the fact that this scene between Bilbo and Gollum occurred on Martin Freemon’s first day of shooting on the set of The Hobbit! Amazing!

I have to say that Gollum is a bit of a miracle… there is absolutely no doubt that this motion-captured and digitally rendered creature is the same Gollum from the Lord of the Rings films, but at the same time, if you look closely, you can clearly see the advancement in the technology over the last ten years. Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy was the first truly believable non-human character, digitally created with human characteristics to appear in a film. Gollum set the standard for nearly all creature creation to come and made motion capture performance the industry standard.

The advancements in motion-capture and rendering technology allowed the director to place on film the most subtle inflections in Andy Serkis’s performance. One of the greatest advancements was the ability for both actors to be on the same stage together during the scenes. You can really feel the difference when you watch the Two Towers or The Return of the King on DVD.

But in the end it is the performances and how they lend credence to the story that matters most. In this pivotal scene, Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis deliver an Oscar worthy performance. I won’t give away too much for those who have not yet seen the film, but we do get to see quite a bit of both Sméagol and Gollum wrestling for control. I will say that the final moments of this scene, which take place by the eastern entrance to the Goblin Tunnels has the emotional impact needed to set the stage for Gollum’s and Frodo’s relationship to come… Well done!

The next installment of the Mordor Review of The Hobbit will take a look at one of the most controversial plot additions in The Hobbit Films… the introduction of an entirely new Nemesis in the form of Azog and his Warg-riders… can’t wait to post this one! There will be lots of spoilers in that review!

Please go HERE to our Hobbit Review Page for all seven parts of the Mordor review!

Source: Mordor ~ The Land of Shadow

 January 8, 2013  Posted by at 2:22 pm

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