Dagger in hand

A man of prodigious fortune, coming to add his opinion to some light discussion that was going on casually at his table, began precisely thus: "It can only be a liar or an ignoramus who will say otherwise than," and so on. Pursue that philosophical point, dagger in hand.

--Michel de Montaigne, Of the art of discussion.

Stab back: cmnewman99-at-yahoo.com


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Monday, December 23, 2002

Saw Two Towers again Saturday. From a vantage point where I didn't have to pretend I was in an IMAX. Just a few quick comments to add to my earlier ones. First, I think Wormtongue was a bit better than I gave him credit for, though I still think they should have allowed him to be a bit more appealing, a bit less obviously repulsive. On the other hand, I'm less sanguine about the portrayal of Faramir than my earlier attempt to rationalize it. In that scene where he talks about "showing his quality," you really get the impression that he's caught by the ring and about to grab it when Frodo breaks the spell. Quite the opposite of what that line means in the book. In the end he comes around, and we are given to understand that he is, technically at least, forfeiting his life to let Frodo go. (Thus setting the stage for Denethor's pyre, perhaps?) All I can say is, he's got to do something pretty damn admirable at this point to look worthy of the reward he's got to look forward to!

I also realize that I was way too easy on Ebert. The hobbits do plenty in this film. Frodo doesn't merely watch others decide his fate; he makes and carries out the most fateful decision of all--forging a relationship with Gollum. Sam is no mere loyal sidekick on the sidelines; he is becoming the backbone of the quest, obeying and yet challenging and motivating Frodo, showing already the strengths he's going to need when it's time to make his Choices. Even Merry and Pippin are clearly growing in character (though, in the absence of ent draughts, not in stature). Pippin has started to use his head, first dropping the brooch, then engineering Treebeard's discovery of Saruman's perfidy. Merry's speech brings home the transformation of the hobbits from Ebert's whimsical little innocents into mature actors keenly aware of the thread from which their idyllic world hangs. I'd have liked to see them hatch a plot to play on the divisions among the orcs as they do in the book, but can see that it would have been difficult to set up without complicating other elements of the story that have been simplified for the film's sake.

Alright, enough geekiness for today.

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