This scene in ROTK made me SICK

…its where Denethor is gorging himself, and he’s eating really noisily (cant STAND the sound of people eating! :mad: ).
So just because the guy’s the Steward, means he doesn’t have any table manners? And couldn’t he at least have just put the tomato in his mouth instead of mashing it against his face and sucking up the pulp? Ugh that guy is such a slob…it creeps me out!

And that was the intended purpose of that scene. Jerk is messly stuffing his face after sending his son to die needlessly. He was a monster.

I don’t like this scene very much either, it’s kinda gross. The stewards of the city are supposed to be a noble line of men, and they went out of their way to make him look like a pig instead. I know he was losing his mind and all, but still, he seemed like he should have enough wit about him to at least eat like a civilized person.

On a semi-related note, anybody seen the new KFC commercial for hotwings? The one where the guy has hot wing sauce all over his face? A grown man with food all over his face is pretty far down on the list of things that’s going to make me hungry. Yuck. What are these people thinking?

And that’s the point. Like Mac Guffin said, he’s just sent his son, who he always mistreats, off to die absolutely pointlessly. I’d say that’s perfectly in line with the way that scene paints him as a beast.

Watching Denthor eat drives home for Pippin just how monsterous the Steward of Gondor had become. He showed absolutely no remorse for sending his son to die and, under circumstances that would leave most men without apetite, he gorges himself like an animal, without the least shread of dignity.

It is here that Pip really realises what a mistake he has made in pledging himself to Denthor.

And yet the giant spider spearing Frodo was ok?


Which is exactly why I didn’t like it. In the book, Denethor is proud (and certainly not ready to step aside in favor of some barbareian ranger from the hills who claims he’s the kiing), but he’s no fool and doesn’t send Faramir out to die pointlessly. He energetically organizes the defense, if for no other reason than to piss in Sauron’s soup as he dies. He knows he can’t win, but he gives it his all anyway. He contends with Sauron’s will to use the Palantir, and although he doesn’t quite win, he was not corrpted like Saruman. Finally, when Faramir nearly dies [and cdon’t complain about spoilers, its a wee bit too late for that] defending Osgiliath, he just loses it and can’t go on anymore. Faramir was all he had left, after Gandalf’s expedition got Boromir killed.

He becomes (in some insane fashion) that Faramir is already dead and maybe Denethor is dead too and of course dead people need to be buried or yes that’s it cremated because there’s no time for anything more.

I haven’t seen the ROTK live action movie (as opposed to the Rankin-Bass animated version), but like smiling bandit , I’m kind of diappointed to hear that they portrayed Denethor in such a fashion. Maybe because I like and can flawed, realistic characters like Denethor, Golem, or Boromir and don’t like to see them misrepresented. On the other hand, perhaps PJ had a different view of his character than I did or maybe decided that there was not enough time to adaquately explore Denethor’s character. Maybe in the expanded edition there will be more scenes with Denethor that shed more light on his character as it was in the novels. In a lot of ways, the movies are like an adaptation rather than a faithful translation of the novels, and they are good in their own right, even if I may have some quibbles with how certain characters are portrayed, just as I may have some quibbles with Tolkien’s prose/style, but still enjoy his works anyway.

But I do agree with the OP that eating noisily is a major turn-off. :wink: Not as big a turn off as giant spiders, but a turn off nonethless.

Wow. This was one of my favorite scenes (three-way-tied with the extraordinary beacon lighting and awe-inspiring charge of the Rohirrim). The visual counterpoint between Pippen’s sad song, Faramir’s doomed charge, and Denethor’s eating is incredibly emotive to me. And I never saw it as Denethor merely degrading into a monster (though I think it is intended for Pippen to see it that way), but as Denethor trying to battle his feelings of guilt for his mistreatment of his son, and nearly failing. He asks Pippen to sing in order to take his mind off Faramir, but his thoughts are still so inextricably focused on his son that he (a) loses all semblence of having civilized dining habits and (b) completely misses the looks of fear, disgust, and sadness that Pippen is throwing his way.

Tarrsk , when you put it that way, it doesn’t sound as bad. Thanks for giving another interpretation of that scene and putting it into context. I guess I’m going to have to see it to make my own judgements, but it’s been really interesting hearing all these different perspectives on that one scene. :slight_smile:

Tarrsk, thank you for putting into words what I was trying to string along in my head. That scene was one of the many that made me cry.

I like referencing this. The boy was eating pizza loudly the other day:

Mom: Knock it off, Denethor.
Boy: Huh?
Mom and Dad giggle

What I don’t understand is why they put Mr. Messy Eater on this year’s LOTR valentines. It has a picture of him holding a goblet and looking cranky with the caption “Hope Your Valentine’s Day is Full of Good Cheer!”

I don’t think table manners had been invented yet.

Look at Gimli eating in TTT.

I think Jackson is being more than usually symbolic in the scene, too. In a way, Denethor’s pride has devoured his sons–first in sending Boromir off to try to bring back the ring and then in sending Faramir off on a hopelessly dangerous and pointless mission. It wasn’t just messy eating, either–things were being bled and torn limb from limb.

Even before I opened the thread I had a feeling that was the scene in question. I too feel it was not in character with the book, but then, this is a movie and there had to be changes made for the sake of streamlining and visual story-telling. This Denethor had fallen from his noble beginnings, as well as being consumed with grief. Not only was he oblivious to Pippin’s emotions, he was essentially oblivious to Pippin period. In the book he was at least impressed by Pippin’s courage and willingness to enter his service, even if he didn’t think the hobbit was of much value as a fighter. Here I got the feeling he only accepted Pippin for the personal, almost sadistic wish to be entertained, in order to stop thinking about his sons and his peceived failure as Steward.

It seemed kind of forced to me. He totally changed Denethor’s character into someone that, well, he just isn’t so he could make that scene.

You could say that about most of the really emotional scenes in the LOTR films, though, and I think it really comes down to Peter Jackson’s style of adaptation. He’s not interested in a word-for-word translation from book to script, a wise decision when you compare his films to the far more “purist,” but far less interesting Harry Potter films. PJ likes his emotional payoffs, and when he feels that, in order to elucidate the themes of the book, he needs to alter the plot, he does so without hesitation.

A few examples (spoilers throughout):

Boromir’s death (FotR)
Sean Bean’s Boromir is far more vulnerable than the broad-shouldered titan of the book, whose hints of weaknesses tend more towards brooding than weeping. As a result, he’s a much easier for a movie audience to sympathize with, greatly magnifying the effect of his redemption. Payoff: the best death scene in the trilogy.

Theoden’s healing (TTT)
In order to really get across the insidious nature of Saruman/ Wormtongue, and the rise of Gandalf the White, Theoden’s decrepitude (which is little more than really bad judgement in the books) had to be exaggerated. Payoffs: the White Rider uncloaked in the Golden Hall; Theoden grasping his sword (regaining his power both figuratively and literally) while the Rohan theme swells magnificently behind him.

You get the idea. :slight_smile: In addition, I suspect that Denethor will be one of the characters given more screentime in the Extended Editions, so hopefully he’ll be fleshed out more.

There is nothing I detest more than loud eating noises, but this was my favorite scene in all three of the movies.

Funny, my least favorite scene was the poor horses getting stomped by the Oliphaunts (though their entrance was very badass. You have to love guys who ride into battle singing). Denethor was just totally gone by then, was my assumption. I wish they’d said why he hated Faramir.

I haven’t read the books in a while, but my impression from the movie isn’t that he particularly hated Faramir. It was a situation where he greatly favored the eldest, Boromir, at the expense of belittling his second child’s abilities. Boromir, the assertive and brash one, could do no wrong whereas Faramir, the man of quieter stature but no less courage, fell further and further into his brother’s shadow. Thus, when Denethor finds out about Boromir’s death, he plunges into despair for himself, his line, and his people because he can only see Faramir as the weak, amenable one in the background. Despair and loss breeds contempt until it is far too late.

I found him (Boromir) much more believable in this than the books. It’s what made his corruption/redemption so powerful, for me, in the movie. There’s always something shifty about him, whereas in the books, he’s basically GoodyGoodyGoodyMYPRECIOUSUGHSTABDIE. I really wished he didn’t have to die, just so I could see Sean Bean play him more.

Re: the Denethor eating scene. One of the most powerful in the entire series. Horrible, gut-wrenching to watch, and yet a magnificent example of directing. If I was a film teacher, I’d show that clip over and over and say, “This, my friends, is how you rip your audience’s heart out.” Because it wasn’t cheaply sentimental, it was genuinely gut-wrenching.