The Lord of the Rings (1978) (part 9 of 11)

Now the Fellowship goes off in three boats down the river, and not longer after, they’re camped next to the river that night. Nothing noteworthy happens here (much like the whole of the movie itself), but we do learn they’re deciding whether to go to Minas Tirith, where Boromir lives, or head straight on to Mordor. This part also features the following unintentionally hilarious exchange: “I’m going with Mr. [Alvin]!”—”I know that, Sam.”

Herman confesses that he’s not Gandalf (thank goodness), and without the wizard around, he’s completely stumped about what to do next. No-one else volunteers any ideas. It’s official, ladies and gentlemen: Our heroes are clueless. Herman suggests that Alvin take charge. Thanks, Herman, that sounds like a really, really bad idea. Alvin says he wants to be alone for an hour to think it over, so I guess a master plan might just be in the making, after all.

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Alvin mopes for a while, and then Boromir shows up. He wants to take the Tap Washer to Minas Tirith and use it to defend his homeland. Alvin points out the Tap Washer is evil and corrupts people, noting how Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel all refused to touch it. Boromir sneers that real men like himself can handle it. He won’t be corrupted like those fruits! Alvin just stares uselessly at him, perhaps wondering if Sam isn’t the only one in the closet.

Boromir then goes off on a rantfest about all the great things he could do with the Tap Washer. He demands that Alvin give it to him, and goes a little nuts trying to take it from him. Alvin scurries around like, appropriately, a chipmunk, then puts on the Tap Washer and disappears. Boromir shouts at him to come back, claiming he just went a little mad and now it’s over. But Alvin wisely stays away. Boromir falls to his knees, yelling “Cooome baaack!” in a melodramatic voice.

Boromir goes back to the others, looking ashamed of himself. Herman asks what happened, and Boromir admits he chased Alvin away. The Idiot Cousins immediately run off to look for him, while Boromir stays behind, sitting down with his back hunched. Maybe he’s navel-gazing. Herman commands Gimli and Legolas to go after the Idiot Cousins, then grabs Boromir by the scruff of the neck, screeching at him that he needs to help. Geez, give the guy a break, will you?

Caption contributed by Albert

“Don’t judge me! You don’t know me! You don’t know my life!”

Herman and Sam meet up, but Sam quickly drops behind, muttering to himself about how he can’t run that fast, and how he should use his head instead. Oh, come now. You’re expecting me to believe this guy suddenly has a brain? Obviously, he’s just wanting to check out Herman’s ass.

Ludicrously, he instantly figures out that Alvin’s gone to the boats, and rushes off to find him. You’ve heard of an Idiot Movie, where smart people have to act dumb just for the plot to proceed? I believe this is an example of the reverse.

Sam reaches the river and finds a boat floating off with no-one apparently in it. He swims out and grabs the boat, then wails about how he’s “drowning”, even though his head is clearly above water. Alvin appears and pulls him in, which kind of reinforces the notion that they’re secret lovers, since anyone not blinded by love would have let him drown. Alvin grumbles about what a nuisance Sam is, and Sam replies, “Oh, now, Mr. [Alvin], that’s hard!” Gack!

Alvin says that if Sam hadn’t showed up, he’d be safely on his way by now. Sam says he’d also be “all alone and without me to help you!” To help you cuddle at night, he means.

Alvin points out he’s going to Mordor, and Sam says, “I’ll follow you to the ends of Middle Earth if I have to, my love!” Well, okay, not really. Instead he just says, “Yes, and I’m going with you!” Excuse me a minute—I have to go bang my head on a wall for a while. Yet again, Alvin giggles and says Sam can come along. He cheerfully says there’s no escape from Sam, which I already figured out long ago.

Next, the Idiot Cousins really live up to their nickname. They’re running along, loudly shouting Alvin’s name, when suddenly they run slap-bang into a gang of orcs. Seriously! Even though the orcs are just standing there in plain view!

At this point, the animation takes a sharp downturn in quality, because the tinted actors in this scene aren’t even tinted. They’re just a bunch of live, red-filtered actors with outlines drawn around them. The lousiness of this bit is almost surreal.

Sadly, before the Cousins can meet the grim fate they so richly deserve, Boromir shows up and rescues them. He fights a few orcs, handing their arses to them, then runs off with the Cousins in tow. Then Boromir suddenly gets hit with arrows, which come seemingly out of nowhere. Then we cut to the source of the arrows, which is a gang of orcs standing right in front of them [!]. Did Boromir forget his glasses or something? Maybe he has a death wish. Hanging around with this crowd, I wouldn’t blame him.

Boromir staggers around for a while with the arrows in him, then pulls them out and crazily charges at the orcs. He takes a few more arrows directly in the heart [!], but still doesn’t die. When did the Vikings discover Kevlar, I wonder? The Cousins feebly try and help him, but are instantly knocked out by orcs. Okay, remind me never to go into battle with those two at my side. Boromir finally realizes that he needs help, so he pulls out a kazoo and hums a couple of notes into it. No, wait a minute, that’s a horn. It just sounds like a kazoo. A whiny kazoo.

Herman hears the horn and comes a-running, while the orcs mysteriously just stand there and let Boromir keep blowing his kazoo. Finally, one of them shoots him yet again, and he falls over. Another orc grabs an Idiot Cousin by the hair, and it seems we’ve finally reached the memorable moment where we get to see a fully animated orc. Well, we see the leg and arm of a fully animated orc, anyway. Take a good, long look at this screencap and remember it. Because you will never, ever get to see another animated orc for the rest of the movie.

Caption contributed by Jet

Forget the One Ring: here’s the One Animated Orc.

Herman finds Boromir dying. Despite having been hit by a zillion arrows, Boromir is still lively enough for a deathbed confession about which team he plays for. No wait, it’s about how sorry he is that he attacked Alvin and acted like a total bunghole. Then he asks Herman to go to Minas Tirith and save it, because it’s not like the man’s already busy saving the whole world with the damn Tap Washer quest or anything. Boromir casually mentions that the Idiot Cousins are now prisoners, and finally dies.

They put Boromir’s shrouded remains in a boat and launch him out onto the river, which I guess is how they hold funerals for fallen warriors in his homeland. Given the affection the Fellowship has shown for each other up to this point, I’m surprised they didn’t just toss Boromir’s body in a ditch and kick a few leaves over it.

Naturally, Herman, Gimli and Legolas argue a bit about what to do next. Eventually, Herman decides they’ll run after the orcs to rescue the Idiot Cousins. Yes! Let us jog in vengeance! They run around for a while, and, hilariously, at one point Herman actually trips over his own sword [!]. Now, I could understand the live actor tripping and falling. But which animator saw fit to actually rotoscope that? And why did Bakshi put it in the finished movie? The mind boggles.

So, blah blah blah, more running, with Herman and Legolas turning into tinted live actors for a while. Cut to the orcs, rushing along in a loose pack with the Idiot Prisoners in tow, and the two of them are actually sobbing with fear. Losers. One of them falls down in slow-mo and an orc kicks him. Kick him again! Again! Finish him off!

Then the orcs stop and argue unintelligibly for a while. Great, more arguing, just what this movie needed. Apparently, they’re disagreeing about whether to take the Idiots to Sore-on or to Aruman. Once again, this a scene that goes on way past its sell-by date, and one of the Idiot Cousins makes a purportedly James Bond-esque quip about when they’re getting breakfast. A horrendously mugging orc tells them they’ll get that at Isengard, Aruman’s condo. Then they make the Idiot Cousins stand up, and off they go.

Briefly, we see the remains of the Fellowship finding footprints, which we don’t see, and a brooch, which we do.

Back to the orcs. They get attacked by a horde of horribly-rendered horsemen, who are meant to be the Riders of Rohan (Rohan being a small human kingdom with a culture based around horses, not that any of that particularly matters). Here we get some really lazy crap. Earlier, there only seemed to be about a dozen orcs, but now that the Riders have appeared, the orc ranks suddenly look three times larger. And they’re all wearing long robes, instead of the little tunic things they had before.

And the way this is filmed, the Idiot Cousins look like they could be miles away instead of right behind their captors. You know what you should do? Find some aging hippies, get them good and drunk, and then ask them to recall their acid trips. Whatever comes out of their mouths has got to have more continuity than this movie.

Caption contributed by Jet

More terrible orcs. I wonder who their dentist is?

Caption contributed by Jet

The noble Riders of Rohan and their blind steeds.


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Multi-Part Article: The Lord of the Rings (1978)

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