The Lord of the Rings (1978) (part 7 of 11)
The OPN returns to explain that a group of people—Legolas the elf, Boromir and Herman the humans, Gandalf the wizard, and Gimli the dwarf (who hasn’t even been formally introduced until this moment)—volunteered to go with the hobbits in order to protect them and represent their separate races. They’re calling themselves the Fellowship of the Ring, because everything in Lord of the Rings has to have a formal, capitalised name.
There’s a montage of the Fellowship setting out on their journey to Mordor, and the only really notable thing is that they’re all tinted actors now. Then they’re animated again, and making their way through a snowstorm. This effect is created by blowing swirly snowflakes over the picture, which happily has the effect of nearly hiding the characters from view (and probably saved a ton on colouring costs).
Eventually, the Fellowship’s journey (and the plot) comes to a grinding halt while everyone sits around and watches—yep—Gandalf and Herman having a stupid argument. Wait a minute, aren’t these two supposed to be friends? Because I haven’t seen them act very friendly toward each other. Come to think of it, just about every character in this movie acts abrasively toward every other character.
The gist of the fight is that they can’t decide which way to go. Herman wants to go via a place called the Gap of Rohan, but Gandalf wants to go through the Mines of Moria. Oh, just flip a coin already.
In the end, of course, Gandalf bullies them into going his way. Alvin ends up with the deciding vote, and he votes in favour of the Moria path, purely because Gandalf says it’s the right one. Gods, what an idiot. His utter dependence on this rude, patronising moron is really getting on my nerves.
Cut to the fabled gate of Moria, which turns out to be an old underground dwarf city, now abandoned. Everyone is sitting around (again), while Gandalf tries to open the door with magic. This consists of stupidly shouting the same word over and over again (a word that sounds a lot like “EGGROLL!”), as if one failed attempt at using it wouldn’t be enough. Gandalf is like a stupid, lost tourist, who keeps repeating the same thing louder and slower expecting the natives to suddenly understand.
One of the Idiot Cousins notes that the gate is held shut by “elf-magic”, which makes no sense to me. Elves hate dwarves, don’t they? So why in the blue hell would they be making magic doors for them? Maybe it was a prank, and the elves wanted the dwarves to have a useless door that can’t be opened.
Legolas (the elf) complains to Gimli (the dwarf) that the door-defence is stupid, which is pretty rich given that it’s elf-made. Meanwhile, Alvin is whining that the nearby lake is “scary”. Who’s the hero here, again? Hey, here’s a thought, Alvin: Just whip it out and relieve yourself in it. That’ll show that lake who’s boss!
Herman and Boromir start arguing (great, two arguments in the space of five minutes), because Boromir thinks Gandalf is useless. And I guess I’m supposed to be thinking “shame on you, Boromir, you need to have more faith!” But, in fact, I find myself agreeing with him. I mean, Gandalf hasn’t had the imagination to actually try more than one word in all the time they’ve spent hanging out around the door. Looks pretty useless to me.
Finally, Gandalf clues in that by saying the word “friend” in elvish, that will open the door. Well, what do you know? It’s held shut by a simple word that anyone should be able to guess. I mean, anyone not in the Fellowship, anyway.
They’re about to pass through the door, when Alvin is suddenly grabbed by horrible giant tentacles from out of the lake. His reaction? To start screaming for Gandalf to come save him. Yeah, I know, it’s a shock. Everyone except Gandalf comes to the rescue, hacking off the tentacles in gruesome detail, and they all escape into the mines. Suspenseful, no?
Once they’re inside, the tentacles clearly give up on catching them, even though the monster doesn’t have any visible eyes that would discern the Fellowship of Buffoons has gotten away. Instead, the tentacles grab hold of the doors and slam them shut [!]. You see? It’s not a lake monster, it’s a doorman! Who’s being paid to keep out draughts and idiotic heroes! I have a feeling it’ll be asking for worker’s comp after this little encounter: “Listen, pal, you’re not paying me enough to have my tentacles lopped off by any idiot who comes knocking, okay? So either you hire more help, or I’m quitting!”
Anyway, back to the movie. Or perhaps you’d rather hear a story which I make up off the top of my head? No? Oh well, it’s your pain.
The Fellowship is now inside Moria, and it’s really not a nice place. I understand that Moria was meant to be a grand dwarf city, built to look opulent ‘n’ stuff. But under Bakshi’s deranged direction, Moria has become a horrible Hell’s Temple, full of evil-looking skulls and things. Who would want to live in this place? Well, I would, but I’m crazy. Plus, I don’t like visitors.
Gandalf is finally using his magic for something useful, by making his staff glow and light the way. Yeah, that’s what the Fellowship really needed: A cranky, lecturing nightlight. They walk on for a bit, and, oops, everyone’s tinted again. They stop for the night and are quickly sound asleep.
Alvin wakes up and sees a pair of creepy green lights in the shadows. So either it’s a sinister Watcher, or a pair of LEDs, or the Overlords of the UFO. Apparently, this is supposed to be Gollum stalking the Fellowship, but the movie doesn’t bother to explain how he found them.
Our now-tinted heroes enter a place which Gimli calls a guardroom. Legolas comments that he can’t believe anyone would want to live in such a horrible place. Gimli moans that it used to be great, which I have a hard time believing, and Gandalf—can you guess?—snaps at them to shut up.
Is anyone else wishing for this guy to meet an ugly, gruesome fate, or is it just me?
They group into the centre of the room, and having been animated for a few seconds, they become tinted actors again. Goes with the territory, people.
They spend the night in the guardroom, and one of the Idiot Cousins goes and drops a stone down a well. Yes, I think I renamed him well. Gandalf rushes over and starts telling him off, making some of his dumbest gestures so far, like he’s trying to swat flies. He finally shuts up when they hear ominous tapping coming from the bottom of the well. Which will become important later (I think).