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Old 01-23-2004, 01:11 AM   #1
Quirkette
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Silmaril Any fans of the Smeagol opening?

Now don't be all mean to me! I respect your differing opinions. But I loved the Smeagol turning into Gollum opening. Yeah, that wasn't in the book, but I always wondered what that must have been like, and it was so cool to see that for me. Andy Serkis's performance was amazing. That pained retching of his (you can see it must hurt him so, and maybe always has), that bit of "juicy sweet" tune played mockingly, the chilling score. The wretched state of him as he crouched there in his rags and strags of hair. And the fight between him and Deagol. I just loved all that, the ring really became a character in the movie that way. <BR> I only didn't like how huge that actor's cheeks were underwater--too comic. Hellooo, Louie Armstrong!<P> Of course, I'm the big Gollum fan, who even read Andy Serkis's book about his experience making the movies.<p>[ 2:13 AM January 23, 2004: Message edited by: Quirkette ]
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Old 01-23-2004, 04:13 AM   #2
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It was inspired.<P>What Jackson has done (for me anyway) is to show Smeagol the Hobbit as a happy character. The smile on his face when Deagol's line catches a fish is beautiful, but heartbreaking, just as Frodo's smile at the begining of the fotr is. We know what this character is going to go through and it hurts.<P>I have never felt much compassion for Smeagol all the times I've read the books. This is because I didn't really think that much of him being a nice, normal hobbit. I've always seen him as a nasty creature the way Gandalf describes the Gladden Field episode. I never had it in my mind's eye that he was a happy, fun loving creature, because of the way he immediately kills Deagol.<P>But Jackson/Serkis have changed my view of this. I now realise the powerful effect the Ring had on him that changed him the second he spotted it, which now, after 25 years reading the books, will give me another slant. Maybe I WILL pity him next time I read lotr..........
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Old 01-23-2004, 11:00 AM   #3
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Compared to the stunning opening scenes of FoTR and TTT, I gotta say I thought the whole Gollumn intro was a bit laboured and gratuitous.<BR>Dont get me wrong, Serkis is a top bloke and a fantastic actor, Smeagol incarnate really. Its just that after seeing the insightfully added Smeagol scenes in the extended TTT, the RoTK intro didnt really invoke the intensity of pity that say the (exTTT) worm eating scene (and others) did, for me at any rate. <P>I would've much rather seen the Saruman/Gandalf showdown at Orthanc on the big screen, and then to have seen the Smeagol opening on the RoTK extended, if anything. <BR>But yeah, I stress that I'm not bad-vibing Serkis, no way, just the directoral decision that spliced this intro into the theatrical edit.
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Old 01-23-2004, 11:17 AM   #4
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I liked this scene too but I think it would have fit better in TTT when Gollum is remembering his name. It even could have gone in the FOTR when Galdalf is telling Frodo about Gollum in Moria. I am glad they included the scene but I don't think it was the best way to open the ROTK.
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Old 01-23-2004, 11:21 AM   #5
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Although not the kind of blow away openning that we got in Fellowship or Towers, I thought it worked well. Remember what Jackson is trying to do. He's trying to thrust people back into the story and provide a sequa to Frodo (every theatrical films starts with Frodo after the introduction).<P>We have to keep in mind that most people seeing this film are not the ringnuts we are. Many folks would have seen Towers once a year ago and this is their reintroduction to what is going on. The sequence powerfully re-establishes the power and corruptive nature of the Ring while showing us a lot of the nature of Gollum's character. Both of which are important to understanding the key events in this story.<P>I love the way that after we see this heart wrenching transformation of Gollum, we cut straight to Frodo holding the Ring and the audience begins to understand a bit of what Frodo is dealing with. It allows the audience to understand much more fully the momment when Frodo is incapable of throwing the Ring into the Crack of Doom.<P>H.C.
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Old 01-23-2004, 12:24 PM   #6
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The scene, in my opinion, was nessesary for people who hadn't read the book to understand exactly were gollum came from and how he got to be just how he is. All that talk from Frodo about "One of the River folk," and "not very different from a hobbit once." was a good start, then it was elaborated. <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:<HR> Hellooo, Louie Armstrong! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Heheh.<P>When I started reading your opening post Quirkette, I didn't think of the opening with smeagol, I actually thought about when Gollum was arguing with himself about how to kill the hobbits early in the movie. How many other people love when gollum talks to his "other self"? I don't know what it is but I love the idea of another self. Not nessesarily from scizophrenia(wouldn't anybody develope that if they lived alone in a cave for 500 years), but having another mind and essential another existance inside your own head, sharing thoughts and feelings. It facinates me. <P>Last note, Andy Serkis is so great, I'd love to meet him just to brain-pick a little. He seems like such an interesting person.
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Old 01-23-2004, 01:36 PM   #7
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:<HR>Of course, I'm the big Gollum fan, who even read Andy Serkis's book about his experience making the movies.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><BR>Oh, I loved his book. It was very interesting.<P>I did like the opening scene, because of all the background it shows, plus the fact that it's so true to the actual story of Smeagol that is told in the books. It was a really good scene. I know a lot of people (including some whom I know) think it was a little too graphic or gross, but I thought it captured the tragedy of Smeagol very well. What, they expect that turning into Gollum was a pleasant experience?<P>Mae carnen to Andy, and everyone else involved with the scene!!! <P>Abedithon le,<P>~*~Aranel~*~
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Old 01-23-2004, 04:03 PM   #8
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I didn't mind it, as good a scene to open the movie with as any in my opinion. But it could have been made a little shorter, the strangling did seem to go on for a long time. I don't mind the gore or anything, but it could have been a little shorter and snappier. But it was nice to see Andy Serkis in the flesh, and he did a good job. I can't say it changed my opinion on Gollum/Smeagol at all, because I still don't think he was that pleasant to begin with.
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Old 01-23-2004, 08:21 PM   #9
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I thought that it was excellent. One of the advantages of film as a medium is that it is able to depict first hand events that are described only second hand in the book. Jackson uses this to good effect (for example in the battle against Sauron in the Prologue and most of the Saruman scenes). And this was another example of that.<P>I didn't think that it was too long either. Any shorter and it would have lacked impact and seemed almost like a "throw away" scene.<P>HC, as always, put it very well:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:<HR> The sequence powerfully re-establishes the power and corruptive nature of the Ring while showing us a lot of the nature of Gollum's character. Both of which are important to understanding the key events in this story. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>The climax of the film is the destruction of the Ring. This is what all three films have been leading up to. The Ring, therefore, is the central element of the films (as it should be) and, in light of this, Jackson has chosen to emphasise its power and corruptive nature. What better way to reestablish this in the final instalment than opening with the instant effect that it has on Smeagol and the (physical and mental) degradation that he undergoes in consequence?<P>It also deftly rounds off Smeagol/Gollum's story. In TTT, he was, to some extent, a sympathetic character. We are reminded of this by being reintroduced to him as he once was, an innocent "proto-Hobbit" living an idyllic life. Initially, therefore, we retain our sympathy for him, and this is emphasised by his comical first appearance in the first scene with Frodo and Sam. This contrasts powerfully with his despicable behaviour throughout the rest of the film. It is that behaviour that makes his final fate more acceptable, and yet we are still able to feel sympathy for him for the creature that he once was before the Ring crossed his path.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:<HR> I would've much rather seen the Saruman/Gandalf showdown at Orthanc on the big screen, <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Much as I lament the absence of this episode, I can see now that it would not have worked in RotK. With the (sad but understandable) absence of the Scouring of the Shire, Saruman had no further part to play in the film and so opening with him would have seemed strange and incongruous. And it probably will in the EE too. It really should have been included at the end of TTT, and I suspect that Jackson may now regret not having put it in there.<p>[ 9:26 PM January 23, 2004: Message edited by: The Saucepan Man ]
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Old 01-23-2004, 08:53 PM   #10
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I am a great lover of the books, and I greatly enjoyed the opening to RotK. For one thing, I was very happy that Andy Serkis got to actually play in the movie. He deserved it immensely. And I thought it was just an excellent opening. I liked the way they used just a tiny part of it, the hand grabbing the Ring, in the first movie. And I really, really liked the Ring's heartbeat. At least I took it to be the Ring's. It did show it to be a character in itself.
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Old 01-23-2004, 08:54 PM   #11
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Incidentally, what is the title of Andy Serkis' book? I think if each of the actors wrote a book about the making of those movies, I would have to buy all of them.
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Old 01-23-2004, 09:05 PM   #12
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I don't think it opened the movie very well, although a loved it. I don't think people who hadn't read the books understood that it was Gollum. I say it didn't open the movie well because it went from Gollum as a riverfolk getting the ring and fishing, to the Plantir, Minas Tirith and Cirith Ungol. I though it was a pretty big jump in terms of moods.
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Old 01-23-2004, 09:11 PM   #13
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Ring

I liked it a lot, although it was kind of freaky and I will probably never be able to watch it again without looking away when he eats the fish. Other than that though it was very interesting to see it through Smeagols viewpoint and watching him change was cool. I also really liked the openings in the other two. In FOTR is was a really great way to set the stage and TTT it was neat to see Gandalf and the balrog.
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Old 01-23-2004, 11:17 PM   #14
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Silmaril

The book's called <I>The Lord of the Rings Gollum How We Made Movie Magic</I> by Serkis. It's got oodles of photos and sketches, and lots of info from the people who created Gollum digitally. <P>I love Tim from "The Office"! Nice quote!<P>I forgot, yes--the first sight of Smeagol looking at the worm. With a peaceful sort of expression. And his fate is to eventually eat the worms, and the fish. He was obviously such a simple person, a real hobbit, living in the moment.
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Old 01-24-2004, 12:04 AM   #15
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Sting

I loved it. You go in, sit through all the ads, the LotR music starts, you're expecting some over-dramatic flashback with Frodo screaming like a girl like the opening of TT, and then there's this guy with a worm. And you say: Wow! This rocks!<P>It wasn't a let down at all. It was a surprise, yes, but it was very well done and intriguing.
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Old 01-24-2004, 12:33 AM   #16
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:<HR>I didn't mind it, as good a scene to open the movie with as any in my opinion. But it could have been made a little shorter, the strangling did seem to go on for a long time. I don't mind the gore or anything, but it could have been a little shorter and snappier.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Unfortunately in the days of the Smeagol the 'hobbit' there were no guns. Strangling does take time. Just try it.<P>I love the start, but it makes me hate Smeagol even though after TTT I thought he was cool. I think this is caused out of sympathy for poor old Deagol. From the very first shot of Smeagols face I thought, he looks evil. I soon realised it was Gollum and was just waiting for him to get into Deagol. <P>The whole development from Smeagol to Gollum is great. He sure does look physically shocking and not to mention the obvious but mentally consumed by the ring.<P>One thing that I cant get is how come he didnt quickly age or even die after the ring is taken away from him like Bilbo did. He is only about a 500 year old Hobbit like creature... surely it wouldnt take that long.
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Old 01-24-2004, 11:15 AM   #17
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Bilbo was only seen four years after the ring was destroyed. this destruction hastened Bilbo's catching up in age. I suppose if Gollum was still alive when the ring was destroyed he would die soon after.
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Old 01-24-2004, 12:17 PM   #18
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:<HR>It [The Voice of Saruman] really should have been included at the end of TTT, and I suspect that Jackson may now regret not having put it in there.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><BR>I agree, Saucy. I can see why he cut it as it would have gotten much the same reaction as the extended ending of King, but without the sense of closure. It really should have ended up at the end of the extended Towers, but I assume that at that stage Jackson was still thinking he would have it early in the theatrical King. I can only assume he really liked that scene and was trying hard to get it in the theaters.<P>H.C.<p>[ 1:04 PM January 25, 2004: Message edited by: HCIsland ]
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Old 01-24-2004, 01:05 PM   #19
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I liked it.
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Old 01-24-2004, 10:08 PM   #20
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As stated by others it wasn't really the first scene of ROTK that I wanted to see. Maybe if it had been placed elsewhere I might be more accepting to it but... I'm not saying I hate it, it's just not one of my favorite scenes. <P> <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:<HR> What, they expect that turning into Gollum was a pleasant experience?<BR><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>No, I really didn't but all the same, it took me by surprise. The transformation was awesome (how they portrayed it and all) but I don't know, I'm just not a big fan of it.
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Old 01-24-2004, 10:45 PM   #21
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I have seen this scene 3 out of 4 RoTK viewings and I must say this is one scene that once I own the movie will be one I will most likely <B>never</B> watch again as it is both grauitous and disturbing!<P>Oh granted it was nice to see Andy Serkis in the flesh but I find CGI Gollum to be less disturbing than seeing Smeagol become Gollum!
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Old 01-25-2004, 12:23 AM   #22
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Sting

I thought that it was okay, but it is definitely not one of my favorite parts of the film. The first time I saw it, I thought that it went really slow and I just kind of sat there waiting for it to end. And the whole transformation I found to be kind of freaky. But it is good that they showed Gollum's background, and showed that he was originally a normal being. It also gave much depth to his character, and showed that he had not always been a slimy little creature whose only task in life was to chase after, and covet the ring.<P>Oh, and did anyone else think that when Gollum was in the mid part of the transformation, that he looked kind of like Mike Myers in the Cat in the Hat?
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Old 01-25-2004, 01:45 AM   #23
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I thought it was very good - it might have worked in TTT as well, but it made a good opening for ROTK because it was a quick and vivid refresher course on what the Ring is capable of doing to someone; it makes you look at Frodo's disintegration in a new light, once you've seen Gollum as a (vaguely) sympathetic character. It certainly started the movie off with a bang.<P>The duration was actually what I thought was most effective about it - strangling doesn't happen in a second, and if you've ever been attacked, time really does seem to slow down. In a way, it emphasizes the Ring's power - that Smeagol could start doing this, and *keep on* doing it, instead of just having one rash moment and regretting it afterwards. And having Deagol's heartbeat as the soundtrack - gaaah! My own heart was going pretty fast, I can tell you.
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Old 01-25-2004, 02:35 PM   #24
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One more interesting thing about the opening. I don't know if this is anywhere near intentional.<P>The first shot of Fellowship is of molten metal being poured into a mold --> Fire.<P>The first shot of Towers is of snow covered mountains --> Ice.<P>The first shot of King is a close-up of a worm being put on a fish hook --> Earth & Water.<P>Needs air really, but I just thought it was kind of neat.<P>H.C.
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Old 01-26-2004, 10:31 AM   #25
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Sting

I also like the opening. Even though parts of it were over-exaggerated, it really got the point across. Two very good parts were 1) When you could clearly hear the ring chanting as Smeagol stared into it and 2) When, in the Misty Mountain cave, you see the single moment that embodies the transformation, when Smeagol's bright little hobbit eyes become those "pale lamp-like eyes" of Gollum.<P>The only thing bad about it was the fact that Deagol seemed a bit odd. All of the shots he was in (underwater, climbing out, wrestling Smeagol) seemed strangely non-professional. Just some pet peeve of mine, though. Overall it was very good.
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Old 01-28-2004, 01:34 PM   #26
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Sting

As I said on an earlier post, this scene was 'inspired'. On watching it again, I've noticed that smeagol is not really putting a lot of force into strangling deagol (ie the pressure on his throat). I was surprised at seeing this, because of Jackson's eye to detail. I would have imagined Peter shouting to Andy, "Go on, actually STRANGLE him properly for a few seconds. He'll be alright... I'll cut away quickly!!!!"
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Old 01-28-2004, 03:37 PM   #27
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:<HR>"Go on, actually STRANGLE him properly for a few seconds. He'll be alright... I'll cut away quickly!!!!"<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><BR>Owww! <P>H.C.
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