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The Lord of the Rings (1978 animated film)

7 Ratings: 3.7
Ralph Bakshi's 1978 film adaptation of the first two volumes of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic novel.

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 … see full wiki

Director: Ralph Bakshi
Genre: Adventure, Animation, Fantasy
Release Date: January 1, 1978
MPAA Rating: PG
1 review about The Lord of the Rings (1978 animated film)

Uneven, at times horrificly bad, but does have advantages

  • Dec 4, 2009
At first I was very critical of this low-budget animated retelling of the first half of Tolkien's epic, especially due to the fact that I have seen the epic Peter Jackson trilogy. If I had done this review immediately after seeing this movie surely I would have passed it off as poorly constructed, and a butchering of Tolkien...but after discussing the film with other enthusiasts and making comparisons to the books I must say there are a few things they do better than Jackson...nothing major, but there are a few things that make this adaptation commendable.

Frodo - This is more of Tolkien's Frodo than the Elijah Wood Frodo. This Frodo will willingly throw himself into danger, draw his sword, and fight without screaming like a pansy for his larger companions (or later Sam) to rescue him. The one problem is the voice-actor doesn't capture any real emotion.

Aragorn - Don't get me wrong, I liked Viggo in the new films, but he really never seemed like a king...just a mercenary. John Hurt on the other hand (one of the greatest screen actors of all time) gives the brutality of a rogue, as well as the elegance of royalty in his voice. Why he is portrayed as a Native American in a miniskirt remains a mystery in my mind because it practically destroys the credibility of Hurt's voice-acting.

Gollum - He's okay, but just seems poor after you've seen Jackson's. At least they get most of the key concepts of the character

Battles - Now, Jackson may win on sheer AWESOME levels when it comes to his actions scenes, but while these scenes may be "bad" at least none of the characters come across as superheroes as they did in the Jackson movies.

The Ugly
Animation - Most of the film is very choppy and poorly put together. Sure, when it's fully animated it's okay, but in the second half of the film they seem to run out of money so attempted more cheap techniques than could be counted

Character Designs - Between Borimir being a Viking, hobbits looking like small children, Saruman (or as this movie says "Aruman") being Santa Clause, and the before mentioned Native American Aragorn...but nothing can compare to the horror that is Bakshi's abominable Balrog (special mention to Julius Caesar Elrond)

Cut and paste dialogue - It feels like they took lots of key quotes from the book without thinking at all of the build-up dialogue that made the quotes work in the books. This results in many scenes (especially the Council of Elrond) coming across as confusing.

Sam - Do not get me started on this physically and mentally retarded interpretation

So this movie is good for the kids for exposing them to Tolkien, but it isn't an opus of Tolkien's work (that goes without saying), but then again neither is Jackson's. The only way to truly revel in Tolkien's work is to let yourself be consumed by his books, but Jackson's movies did come close to hitting the magic of Tolkien.

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