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The Lord of the Rings (Widescreen) [Import]

3.1 out of 5 stars 252 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Christopher Guard, William Squire, Michael Scholes, John Hurt, Simon Chandler
  • Directors: Ralph Bakshi
  • Writers: Chris Conkling, J.R.R. Tolkien, Peter S. Beagle
  • Producers: Saul Zaentz
  • Format: Anamorphic, Animated, Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Japanese, Georgian, Thai
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Release Date: Sept. 4 2001
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars 252 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00005MP5B
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Product Description

Although it was ultimately overshadowed by Peter Jackson's live-action Lord of the Rings trilogy, Ralph Bakshi's animated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy classic is not without charms of its own. A target of derision from intolerant fans, this ambitious production is nevertheless a respectably loyal attempt to animate the first half of Tolkien's trilogy, beginning with the hobbit Frodo's inheritance of "the One Ring" of power from Bilbo Baggins, and ending with the wizard Gandalf's triumph over the evil army of orcs. While the dialogue is literate and superbly voiced by a prestigious cast (including John Hurt as Aragorn), Leonard Rosenman's accomplished score effectively matches the ominous atmosphere that Bakshi's animation creates and sustains. Bakshi's lamentable decision to combine traditional cel animation with "rotoscoped" (i.e., meticulously traced) live-action footage is jarringly distracting and aesthetically disastrous, but when judged by its narrative content, this Lord of the Rings deserves more credit than it typically receives. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

Re-mastered in an all-new Deluxe Edition! New EC includes a featurette with legendary director Ralph Bakshi -- Forging Through The Darkness: The Ralph Bakshi Vision for The Lord of the Rings Runtime approx 30 minutes --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
First of all the good news, the cover says that this movie is presented in a standard format, formated to fit your screen, but it is in fact in a widescreen format (but, since I don't have a widescreen TV, I can't tell you whether it is anamorphic or not). Why the back cover says otherwise is a mystery to me (as the original release of this on DVD stated that it was presented in widescreen).

As for the picture quality, it looks quite good, with only the odd bit of film related dust specks/print damage, to the point that it's almost non-existent. Colours are nice and bold, and detail is very good (I'd hazard to guess that this DVD probably looks better then it did in the cinema back in 1978).

As for the extras, you get a 30 minute bio piece on Ralph Bakshi that actually feels like a cliff notes version of a much larger documentary (but it does have it's merits) and nothing else, not even the trailer for the film (which the original DVD had along with some text info) so if you're a completist like myself then you'll want to keep the original DVD as well.

As for the film itself, for all of it's short comings, it still holds up as being a very regal attempt at putting the books to film, with very little budget and no real support from the studio (to the point that the film just abruptly ends about halfway into the second book with no fanfare, due to the money running out and the studio not paying to have the film completed).

Personally, I applaud Bakshi for his efforts (because think about it, no one attempted to bring this story to film before him, and it took over 20 years and hundreds of millions of dollars for some to try to film it after him) and think the film is very good for what it is.
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Format: DVD
once again another bakshi movie is at times hard to follow or completly understand what is going on, even though it made more sense than most of his other movies. And once again despite its flaws it does look very cool. His animation style and rotoscoping give all his work a very unique sense of style and this is where he gets most of his appeal. We are given very good characters and the first two books of the lord of the rings trilogy compacted down into one movie that unfortunatly was never finished.
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Format: DVD
OK let's start by saying that this is NO comparison to the fantastic recent trilogy of movies by Peter Jackson, and it is animated (I'll come back to that) but it is still a good movie. Considering the year of production for a second, director Ralph Bakshi had a vision, and the same kind of idea as Jackson, but without the backing, the money, or the technology to carry it off. The film follows the book very closely, and those having watched the new movies will see and hear identical scenes in this version, lifted straight from Tolkeins pages. The idea was to make TWO movies (but not simultaneously) which means this is a little muddled in mixing books 1&2, made with the obvious expectation of a sequel.The animation is mixed with a process called rotoscoping (traced over live action integrated into cell animation)in a surreal fashion in places which adds much in the way of atmosphere, and certainly makes the dark armies appear more menacing. This idea of animation was more than a little groundbreaking at the time, even though it was done chiefly to save money, and annoyed more than a few puritans in the business. Sadly this movie went down like a lead parachute at the box office, and with it went Bakshi's backing for the second film, and knowing this means you are expecting an anti climax of sorts. The DVD has little in the way of extra's, but the budget price certainly makes it worth owning. Repeated viewing does get you inside the directors vision, and obvious love of the material, and one could argue that had this been made 20 years later, Peter Jackson & Co may have been out of work, Enjoy this Cult and Collectible Classic at a great price.
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Format: DVD
From its initial release in 1978 until 2000, Bakshi's adaptation of the Tolkien classic had to settle for the closest version put on film. Since the release of Peter Jackson's trilogy, I don't know if I can ever go back to watch this version again. However, I do need to be fair: this edition does have some positive aspects. First of all, the backdrops and rotoscope animation (Bakshi's trademark) I found mesmerizing. Many other reviewers found them as distractions. However, the painstaking ordeal to achieve this I can't help but recognize. Leonard Rosenman's score is terrific. If anything stands out here as a monument, it's the music.
Of course, what ultimately destroyed this film for Tolkien fans and the critics was the rushed storyline, glazing over and simply leaving out certain characters and events, the lack of depth in the characters, and what made the books such classics: DETAIL. Bakshi was under pressure to get the entire trilogy in one film. Can't do it. Sorry! The studio ran out of time and money. So, they had to cut it right after the battle of Helms Deep (which by the way, Bakshi rotoscoped battle footage from 1952's IVANHOE with Robert Taylor).
The details left out are too many to mention, and they do lead to the film's ultimate failure. LOTR fans who have not seen this should definitely catch this for curiosity and may well want to own it to check out scenes here and there for comparisons. Those are the ONLY reasons. Parents may well approve this version for young kids who are interested in the story. However, this version does have heavy action although not quite as intense as the trilogy.
I ultimately now recognize this film as the "could-have-been" so many other reviewers have. However, this is a nice appetizer and sampler for the real thing.
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