Lord of the Rings: Quiet Environmentalism

An environmental video analysis of The Lord of the Rings’ environmentalism. The creates a reverence for nature, New Zealand’s landscapes, and the environment.


Transcript Provided by YouTube:

00:07
it’s hard not to watch The Lord of the
00:10
Rings with an eye of wonder each moment
00:12
seems to build on the next supplying
00:14
enchanting New Zealand vistas and epic
00:18
camera movements that imbue magic into
00:20
each shot but at the core of this
00:23
magical universe lies the physical the
00:26
real world that the films are built
00:28
around on the hillsides of national
00:31
parks and the slopes of volcanoes the
00:34
work of Lord of the Rings seems to pay
00:36
homage to the beauty of New Zealand’s
00:38
natural landscapes and in doing so the
00:41
trilogy lays down a quiet
00:43
environmentalism throughout its story
00:45
ultimately hero sizing the image of the
00:48
natural world you can see this imagery
00:51
at play throughout the film but let’s
00:53
start at the beginning
00:54
the Shire the Shire offers a perfect
00:58
example of the trilogy’s utopic
01:00
representation of the natural world
01:02
indeed the film begins and ends with a
01:05
vision of the Shire untouched and
01:08
oblivious to the outside world in a way
01:12
the Shire with its house is literally
01:14
intertwined with the grassy knolls that
01:16
shelter them represents the middle-earth
01:19
that could have been an environmental
01:21
fantasy of coexistence with the natural
01:24
world
01:25
this adoration of the natural trickles
01:29
through almost every facet of
01:30
middle-earth the characters and races
01:34
defending middle-earth show their
01:36
righteousness through sympathy with the
01:38
flora and fauna we see this in Gandalf’s
01:42
an altered tree branch of a staff the
01:45
leaf shaped clasps gifted to the
01:47
fellowship and Riven Belle’s
01:49
architecture which seamlessly
01:51
incorporates waterfalls and trees all
01:55
these elements of the Mazon send seek
01:57
the group our heroes with nature and
02:00
ultimately associated nature with
02:03
virtue let’s take a look at a pivotal
02:07
scene halfway through the second film in
02:10
the series climb up sometimes it’ll be
02:13
all for you he’s always trying to get
02:16
something with you
02:28
many of these trees were my friends
02:32
creatures I had known from not an acorn
02:37
I’m sorry tree be their voices of their
02:41
own sure so let’s pause here this
02:49
over-the-shoulder shot of tree beard
02:52
looking at the dark landscape of
02:53
Isengard is the cornerstone of the scene
02:56
that cleanly depicts the opposition
02:59
between nature and industry through
03:01
space and value the shot quickly ties
03:05
the dark scorched earth of the cutover
03:07
in the middle ground to the menacing
03:10
smoke emanating from the fires of
03:12
Isengard tree beards branches occupy the
03:16
foreground and left of the frame while
03:19
Isengard counters this presence on the
03:22
right of the frame and in the background
03:25
tree beards actions and narrative course
03:28
poll of the viewers emotions akin to a
03:31
kind-hearted grandfather tree beards
03:34
virtue reveals just how evil cerimon has
03:37
become by visually juxtaposing tree
03:40
beards righteousness with Isengard
03:43
scorched earth mentality the film
03:45
influences the audience’s desire for
03:48
untouched land tree beards lament
03:51
highlights the trilogy’s use of nature
03:53
to visually establish a narrative binary
03:56
but the effect of this binary is key the
04:00
Lord of the Rings is quiet
04:01
environmentalism underlies the conflict
04:04
between good and evil battle that is
04:07
eventually won by the protagonist the
04:10
same characters who then lead a life of
04:12
coexistence with other than aggression
04:15
towards their natural environment in a
04:18
sense the Lord of the Rings trilogy uses
04:20
the conflict between man and orc between
04:23
elves and erik eye and between wood and
04:26
acts as a drawing board to shape ideas
04:29
and envision a better way to live on
04:31
earth
04:33
because isn’t that really the purpose of
04:36
a good fantasy film to show us a vision
04:39
of what we could achieve a fantasy of
04:42
what could be hey thanks so much for
04:51
watching the video it takes a lot of
04:54
energy and time to make videos like
04:56
these so please consider subscribing
04:59
also check out last week’s video on
05:02
Trump’s nominee for the head of the EPA


This post was previously published on YouTube.