If you’ve seen Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, you’ll know why they couldn’t include Emma Thompson’s ad-libbed performance as Professor Trelawney (it was all about Umbridge’s speech and the kids’ reactions to it). Thank goodness for DVD extras! If you’ve never seen it, take the time to watch Ms. Thompson’s brilliance in this 2-minute clip!
1. Gollum’s Dual Personality Scene. This was the easiest choice for me. I thought the scene was great in the movie and was amazed at how well the animators had captured both the Smeagol (good Gollum) and the Gollum (evil) sides of the villain’s character. Once the DVD came out and I got to see how motion capture was used and understood the animators were simply transforming Andy Serkis’ performance, I realized why there had been a push to nominate Mr. Serkis for the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. His performance is phenomenal.
Of course, the scene is not merely a marvelous feat of motion capture/animation, but one of the most moving scenes in the entire trilogy. Smeagol’s victory over his evil persona is a satisfying triumph for the viewer, and sets up his tragic fall when Frodo fails to protect him. Without this scene, Gollum remains a pathetic, spiteful creature. With it, he becomes the empathetic villain Lord of the Rings otherwise lacks, and thus provides a far greater depth to the story.
Most interestingly, this scene–as it is written–exists only in the movie, not in the book. Tolkien certainly hinted at Gollum’s schizophrenia, but it took the writers, the animators, and especially Andy Serkis to bring it to life. This brief video shows a side-by-side clip.
For more on how Andy Serkis and Weta Digital created Gollum, watch this video.
2. “I am no man!” Even as a 14-year-old boy reading Lord of the Rings the first time, Eowyn’s cry as she delivers the death blow to the Witch King was my favorite line of the series. To see it recreated so well—especially Miranda Otto’s perfect delivery—made me cheer out loud in the theater. Tolkien loved the underdog (or understood how much readers identify with the underdog) and Eowyn’s side story as the princess who wanted to be a warrior is a great compliment to the little hobbit who overthrew a seemingly invincible tyrant.
The video includes the entire scene from the Witch King mortally wounding Theoden to Merry wounding the Witch King to Aragorn killing Gothmog. It does not include Theoden’s death scene.