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The Bridge of Khazad-dum- Best Scene in Cinema History: Am I making a bold claim?

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Films and Television' started by Bacon164, Jan 25, 2006.

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  1. Bacon164

    Bacon164 Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Mar 22, 2005
    I regret not seeing FOTR in theatres instead of going to see AOTC for a third time. It would have been very great to see the Moria Sequences in theatres, for I always look forward to them when watching Fellowship (as I always manage to sometime over the week), specifically its final 'chapter', The Bridge of Khazad-dum. From the moment the Fellowship departs Balin's Tomb to the point where Aragorn rouses the Fellowship from depression, I can honestly say that in my opinion it is the most beautiful sequences in terms of style, acting, special effects, and music in cinema history. Nothing ever outmatched it in the rest of the series (in my opinion, atleast), nor has anything ever excited me as much as this scene. The music is breathtaking, the special effects are flawless, the Balrog is fantastic, the acting (well, Ian for the most part, most of the other stuff is just noooooo!!!!), as in the rest of the movie is great, and I just always go [face_hypnotized] when I get to the point. The only thing I don't like about it is that there could be alot more added to it.

    There are very many beautiful shots in the sequence. My favorites are the very first shot in Dwarrowdelf with the blaring Fellowship Theme playing, the Fellowship surrounded by the goblins/orcs, the revelation of the Balrog peering around the corner, the torch falling into the abyss, the Fellowship racing down the stairs (before it breaks), the arrow that flies and hits the goblin's head, the staircase tumbling and breaking as the Fellowship races downward, Gandalf guiding the Fellowship towards the bridge, the appearance of the Balrog, the look on Gandalf's face as the Balrog appears, the Fellowship running away from the Balrog, the long sweeping shot of the Fellowship racing across the bridge, the entire confrontation with the Balrog, the Balrog's fall, Gandalf sliding to the edge, Frodo's face when he sees Gandalf slide into the abyss, Gandalf falling into the abyss, Aragorn gazing back at the broken bridge as orcs shoot at him, the opening shot of the East Gate, Legolas' and Frodo's look of- okay, I just love the entire scene. :p

    Howard's Shore's score in this sequence is very awesome as well. The Fellowship Theme is at its best here, and after viewing the scene so many times, I can actually recite the entire Khazad-dum Dwarf Chant Thing heard throughout the scene. :( My favorite variation of the Fellowship Theme is played at the moment just after the staircase breaks off and tumbles into the abyss. The music as the Balrog appears and the little run to the staircase is another favorite. Another Dwarf Chant with the confrontation, and the vocals played after Gandalf's fall- dang, I just wish the rest of cinema could match to this scene.

    And I don't have much to say about the special effects, they were just awesome, specifically the CGI Fellowship and the Balrog. I love the design of the thing as they envisioned it. Though there are many minor differences in the scene from the book to the film, the actual Balrog 'Fight', as it were, is pretty much exactly as it was in the book, the only difference noticable is Gandalf's fall. In the book, it's written as Gandalf being pulled straight into the abyss, while in the movie, it's almost as if he just lets go of the bridge and falls. I'm not sure if it's better, but it does make the 'Fly, you fools' line much more memorable to me.

    And just for the heck of it, here are 19 screenshots from the scene:

  2. sidious618

    sidious618 Jedi Master star 6

    Apr 20, 2003
    Not the best but very, very close.
  3. war_monger

    war_monger Jedi Knight star 5

    Jun 26, 2003
    I think I'm the only person in the world who thought that sequence lacked any real power. It's just never done anything for me. It's not poorly done by any stretch, but I don't think of it as the epic scene many see it as. I consider the arrival of the Rohirrim at Minas Tirith much better (I've actaully punched someone for talking during that scene... not hard, but it got the message across).

    --war_monger, whose favorite scene at the moment is the T-Rex fight in King Kong. Pure cinematic glory through sensory overload. Hell yes. :D

    EDIT: I was referring to the 2005 version, but the '33 version isn't bad given the animation style. I was quite surprised to see how good it was. :p

    I'm actually listening to JNH's score right now. The third best of 2005, in my opinion (behind RotS and Munich).
  4. Jedi_Master_Conor

    Jedi_Master_Conor Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    May 24, 2005

    what king kong are u talking about? the new one or old one? i really liked the t-rex fight in the new one. the music that went along w/ it was just perfect for it
  5. BaronFel88

    BaronFel88 Jedi Knight star 7

    Jan 25, 2004
    It is powerful, but I wouldn't call it the best.

    As for LotR scenes, I have to admit as cheesy as it may be, I love the whole "Black Gate Opens" scene in RotK. From Aragorn's inspiring speech, the seeming hopelessness of the battle (with the "wooshing" sound followng Sauron's army completely surrounding the Company of the West), Eomer looking somewhat uneasy, Gandalf somewhat stupefied, Gimli and Legolas bond of friendship, Frodo forgetting the taste of food and "I can see him with my waking eyes!" and "I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you!" with the brass blazing, Sauron calling out Aragorn, Gandalf holding waving Frodo's shirt, the eerie voice providing a strangely lucid moment when it becomes dead silent, "For Frodo", Aragorn leading the charge with Merry (I'm glad he was brought here) and Pippin rushing behind him, and the clash of swords as the two armies meet. Whew, that was a lot.
  6. redsabreanakin

    redsabreanakin Jedi Knight star 5

    Feb 16, 2005
    yeah, I always thought the "Shadows" on Zha'dum were pretty cool..
  7. raisedbywolves

    raisedbywolves Jedi Youngling star 2

    Jul 1, 2005
    I did love this scene, especially the bit where they're running across the bridge, and the Fellowship theme starts to play... It *was* really cool. That was the moment when I thought, "Whoa, this is a great movie!"

    But I don't think it's the best scene in cinematic history, I'm not even sure that it's the best chase scene - I've got a soft spot for the crop-dusting airplane part of North By Northwest, and a couple of others.
  8. JediTrilobite

    JediTrilobite Jedi Master star 7

    Nov 17, 1999
    Very bold claim. It's cool, but certainly not the best.
  9. TwiLekJedi

    TwiLekJedi Pretty Ex-Mod star 10 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 14, 2001
    Yes, it is a bold claim. I agree on every bit of enthusiasm you pour into commenting on it, as it is one of the greatest thing I've seen in film.
    One of the greatest. I can't safely say it is lonely at the top as the greatest. Musically, it is my favorite part of the whole trilogy, with the Khazad-Dum sequel at the beginning of TTT as a close second. I could even be pressed into saying the track The Bridge of Khazad-Dum is better than, say, Duel of the Fates (which I like better than Battle of the Heroes).
    Visually, it's in good company at the top. Heck, TTT's opening is a good rival, if for the sheer speed alone. Not entirely sure if I can put it past the opening of RotS (visually, mind you).
    Emotionally, someone already mentioned an awesome contester: The arrival of the Rohirrim at Minas Tirith. The three mentioned sequences are my absolute favorite of each film. But as far as the characters go, FotR's very own Amon Hen battle (or the whole part, including Boromir threatening Frodo at the beginning, if you will) might top it. Especially Boromir's last stand (and the EE adds grandiose music, too). This may, however, be in part due to the fact that I always knew that Gandalf survived. Frodo's mournful look at the very end can still move me to tears, but he manages this even more so at the shore at Parth Galen, recalling what believed-to-be-dead Gandalf told him in Moria.
    How far emotion outweighs action I can't say (a million Uruk-Hai in the woods couldn't match the coolness of one Balrog in a huge ancient cave - but a thousand Rohirrim charging across the fields of Pellenor with the freakin sunrise at their back might).
    And then there's Star Wars. Although I think George never packed everything into one sequence - except maybe the intercut sequence that's scored by the track "Enter Lord Vader", if it counts.

    And even the (new) King King's battle against the T-Rexes has much of it. Sure, you can't call that acting, but I think I had some sympathy for the big ape already. Sadly, I don't remember the music. But it was one of the best things I've seen last year in theaters.

    So yes, a bold claim, not aboslutely true, but by far not unfounded.
  10. JediNemesis

    JediNemesis Jedi Padawan star 4

    Mar 27, 2003
    It's a bold claim, but you defend it very, very well, and I agree with you on almost all of that. I remember seeing FOTR at the cinema (Christmas Eve, 2001 :p ) and being on the edge of my seat for the whole Moria sequence. The Mines of Khâzad-Dûm (accents?) are one of the best realised settings in the whole of the trilogy IMHO, and Gandalf's reading from the record-book I find genuinely chilling. The chasm (the "ia" in Moria, I believe, should anyone care [face_geek]), the bridge, the Balrog, Gandalf, the music - it's a stunning sequence.

    However, I also have a special fondness for the sequence in ROTS where the beacon fires are lit across the mountains. The sheer beauty and awe-inspiring scale of the NZ scenery do an awful lot of it, but watching the little points of light flaming into life one after another, a silent message that means life or death, took my breath away.
  11. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 2, 2000
    I'm not sure there is a 'best' scene, but this one is right up there.

    I've always loved the way the sound is muted as the Fellowship mourn Gandalf (with that gorgeous lament playing over everything) and then the sound comes back in with the sound of Aragorn wiping his sword . . .

  12. redsabreanakin

    redsabreanakin Jedi Knight star 5

    Feb 16, 2005
    I would say it's very good but a far cry from best scene in Cinema...I myself tend to think

    1)The Chariot Race in Ben Hur
    2)The Desert Chase in Raiders of the Lost Ark
  13. Trell

    Trell Jedi Knight star 6

    Apr 11, 2002
    Far from the best. This whole scene was decent, but nothing to special. It was just to overdramatic. I know it was a pretty dramatic scene, but Jackson didn't let the scene speak for itself, he had to layer it with way to much slow motion, and bombastic music.

  14. Warrior_of_Mandalore

    Warrior_of_Mandalore Jedi Padawan star 4

    Aug 1, 2003

    Warrior_of_Mandalore Strikes Again!
  15. Lobot_Omy

    Lobot_Omy Moderator Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 9, 2001
    I really like the way Gandalf's fall was done. When suddenly it focused on Aragorn, all dialog was muffled and all you could hear was the wailing. If you ever had a rush of blood to your head that's exactly what it feels like and I could imagine that happening to Aragorn watching Gandalf fall. On top of that you still see goblin arrows flying past him. Here he is in a moment of great sorrow, but the goblins are still trying to kill him as though Gandalf's fall meant nothing.
  16. Boba_Fett_2001

    Boba_Fett_2001 Force Ghost star 8

    Dec 11, 2000
  17. Honor_And_Liberty

    Honor_And_Liberty Jedi Youngling star 1

    Nov 1, 2005
    If you're including the stairway scene, then definitely not. That particular aspect is full of flaws, annoyances, and corn.

    The actual Balrog stuff is classic, though. Probably my favorite scene out of LotR (However, I still think the scene in RotK where Frodo takes the ring for himself and "The End of All Things" is played is a better use of music, and a more powerful scene).
  18. Stained-Blade

    Stained-Blade Jedi Youngling star 1

    Nov 16, 2005
    "Fly, you fools!"

    The point where Gandalf realizes that he's up against a Balrog, and the music changes. Each of mine hairs stood on each its particular end. ;)
  19. plo_koom

    plo_koom Jedi Knight star 5

    Nov 26, 2002
    That was about the turning point in the movie for me. I was a stupid 6th grader who got dragged by his dad to see some stupid book movie, a fantasy book movie a that. When the Bridge of Khazad-Dum scenes rolled around, I was sold. I was completely blown away and begged for just another 30 minutes or so of the movie to go on when the movie finally came to an end, I could have probably just sat there watching Peter Jackson's vision of Lord of the Rings forever.

    As of now, I own nearly all the DVD's, all the books and several of the video games. I just can't get enough of it anymore.
  20. Darth_Ignant

    Darth_Ignant Jedi Youngling star 7

    Oct 24, 2001
    Not sci-fi or Fantasy, but the scene near the end of Schindler's List when Oskar breaks down, saying he should have saved more. That is the most powerful to me.

    But it does include a gold ring ;o)
  21. LilyHobbitJedi

    LilyHobbitJedi Jedi Knight star 5

    Aug 29, 2005
    I totally agree, that was such an incredible part of the LOTR trilogy. It's terrifying, sad and awe inspiring all at the same time. One of my favorite parts is when at the end Aragorn is looking for Frodo, and Frodo gives him this haunted, sad, looked that still gets me to this day. Amazing actors all of them, Peter Jackson did an amazing job with his LOTR trilogy!!
  22. Beowulf

    Beowulf Jedi Master star 5

    May 28, 1999
    That scene is amazing, mind you, but not the best scene in cinema history. I for one cannot judge the best scene because I've not seen every single scene ever made in cinematic history, so I could not make any fair judgments (though Darth Vader choking Captain Antilles on the Tantive IV ranks high up there, as well as Luke tossing his lightsaber away and saying "I am a Jedi, like my father before me."
  23. Sn4tcH

    Sn4tcH Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 22, 2004
    Yeah, that's giving it a bit too much credit. But I will say this:

    It is the best part of Fellowship of the Ring

    Fellowship of the Ring is the only LOTR film I liked.

    Therefore by default, it is the best part in the Rings Trilogy.
  24. severian28

    severian28 Jedi Master star 5

    Apr 1, 2004
    You make a great argument for it, and its not bold of you to suggest because its a wonderful scene, but to me the greatest scene in cinema history is a very simple one with no special f/x or action whatsoever - Brody, Hooper, and Quint on the Orca at night swapping tales and drinking in the movie " Jaws ".
  25. Moleman1138

    Moleman1138 Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 18, 2004
    It is indeed a great moment for LOTR, as far as cinema history. It's up there. When I read LOTR:FOTR. I had almost this vision in my head of this scene. The end when they come out of the mountain is definitely a tearjearker.
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