Sigh. This is going to be a long one. The last 20 minutes has been the worst yet. It’s like the first 40 minutes of Terminator 2, except the complete opposite of that. Let’s take a look one by one:
Legolas is Oblivious The same elf that can smell orcs kilometers away is caught off guard by a warg less than a hundred yards ahead of him and in plain sight. He only realizes there is an ambush coming after the warg rider attacks. And while we are on the subject, if this orc were a scout, why did he attack when no one knew he was there. He could have told the other orcs where the column was and they could have totally ambushed the Riders of Rohan.
Gimli Worthless Gimli is supposed to be a mighty warrior. In the movies, he is little more than comic relief. In this battle he falls off his horse, gets trapped under a warg, and must repeatedly be rescued by the other more capable warriors.
Impossible Action When Legolas jumps onto a running horse, it is physically impossible. You could not grab the reigns from the opposite side, go under the horse’s neck and vault onto its back from the other side. NO. He could have jumped onto the horse from the same side, and that would be a remarkable feat. Also, several times in this battle, people pause to notice details on the other side in order to come to the timely rescue of someone who can’t defend himself. Normally, this is to rescue Gimli.
The Orc Knows Aragorn Somehow, the orc knows that it was Aragorn whom he was fighting. Also, he fell off his Warg much further away from the cliff, but he’s lying maybe twenty yard from the edge. And while we are on the subject, there’s no way a warg would go running straight towards the cliff and fall over the edge. He could have easily veered in either direction.
Aragorn “Dies” This is the worst attempt at dramatic tension ever. No one seriously believes that Aragorn just died. If a main character dies, it is always definitive, or at the very end of the movie. If you don’t see him or her die, then he/she didn’t die. We KNOW that Aragorn is still alive. It’s so cheesy. Oh, everyone is crying because Aragorn is “dead.” (There were seven slow motion close-ups of people crying.) Boo hoo. Give me a break. Now is a good time to mention that NONE of this sequence is in the novels; this was all added. There was no reason to make us suffer through this fake death, except Peter Jackson wanted to torment us with a 20 minute cliche-ridden sequence that serves no purpose in the over all movie. This doesn’t drive the story in any way. It’s detracting from the story. Compare this to Gandalf’s fake death, which actually fooled us. Falling into the pits of Moria seemed definitive. That he survived was a miracle, but helps to show how truly powerful Gandalf really is, and it helped lead to the events that fractured the fellowship. The fellowship never would have broken up had Gandalf still been there. That was a sequence that was necessary for the plot, was true to the characters, and dramatic as hell. This sequence is the worst of the movie so far.
Aragorn Doesn’t Drown After falling over the cliff, the next time we see Aragorn is unconscious and floating face up in the river. BULLSHIT. He is still wearing his sword and armor. If the fall had knocked him unconscious, he would be dead. End of story.
More Liv Tyler We see a lot of Liv Tyler weeping, in slow motion of course, as Elrond acts like a huge dick and tells her to forget about him. It also seems that she somehow telepathically reaches out to Aragorn, so that he wakes up. Luckily, there is a horse waiting for him.
Montage As if all this wasn’t enough, we then get a long montage with a voice over from Galadriel in which she gives what amounts to a recap of the first half of the movies. This voice over is like the Spark Notes of the Lord of the Rings. There isn’t any new information, except for her to tell us that the only way this ends is with Frodo’s death. Um, what’s with the false prediction? What good does it do? In the books, everyone kind of knows without saying that Frodo will have to die to destroy the ring. But it’s not like it’s his destiny. There is still a naive, foolish hope that maybe he can make it back to the Shire and end his days in peace. Why definitively state that he will die? It’s so pointless.
There are even more minor complaints with this scene, but I’ll spare you my whining.
Minutes Watched: 2.2:13.34
Number of Montages: 10
Number of slow motion close-ups of people crying: 38
Start at the beginning