The Lord of the Rings (Widescreen) [Import]
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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
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.
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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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Grew up on this version and love it more than Peter Jackson's versions. Stryder is one of my favourites.Published 17 months ago by Ry
Fascinating glimpse at rotoscope animation, and a different spin than Peter Jackson around the ring. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Mitchell Fournier
This movie it's just a diamond of animation. Long running for more story and a good adaptation before the Peter Jackson one for the lord of the rings.Published on June 10 2014 by Max
I had only an old VHS copy of this movie, and I thought to myself that the remastered edition DVD would be practically unrecognizable. Quite the contrary! Read morePublished on June 9 2014 by TNT
If you seen this movie you will enjoy this movie. I use to go to the theatre and watch the movie many time when it played. The animation is great and the store is great. Read morePublished on March 8 2014 by John
This form of the Lord of the Rings is okay, but I wished it would stay either a cartoon or a live action. I found the mix a little distracting from the plot. Read morePublished on Nov. 29 2013 by Merlin_the_Mighty
An interesting revisit to my childhood after seeing the Peter Jackson LOTR movies. Of course this cartoon pales in comparison to the movies but it is interesting to compare the... Read morePublished on Dec 1 2011 by J. Beeds
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