Diana L. (ptomom) from SULTAN, WA Reviewed on 1/30/2010...
While not the complete triology, this animated adaptation of the first book and half of the second book is still enjoyable. The animation is well done and the story, even condensed, is still riveting.
2 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Edgar R. (edgarshoe) from CALEXICO, CA Reviewed on 10/16/2009...
Not as exciting as I'd hoped.
3 of 7 member(s) found this review helpful.
Interesting for fans; non-fans will be confused.
Daniel V. Reilly | Upstate New York, United States | 12/25/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"When I was 7, my Aunt Bobby took me to see Ralph Bakshi's animated Lord of the Rings at the Zigfield Theater in Manhattan. I will always remember sitting in that cavernous theater, watching the amazing story of Middle-Earth unfold, and just generally being amazed by the lushly colored animation on the gigantic screen. SO.....bear in mind as you read this that I will always have a soft spot in my heart for this much-maligned film. That was over 20 years ago, and I think I've seen this movie once since then, so when it was released on DVD I eagerly snapped it up. So how does it hold up to the childhood memories?
Pretty good, actually. The story is basically the same as in the book: The Hobbit Frodo is joined by eight companions in a quest to destroy the evil Ring of Sauron. The characters and locales look pretty much as one would imagine from reading the books. (This movie adapts The Fellowship of the Ring & half of The Two Towers.) I had a problem with Strider and Boromir trudging through feet of snow in nothing but their little dresses, though.....bundle up, guys!
The scenery is by turns lush (The Shire), and forbidding (The excellent Mines of Moria sequence). The problems were pretty much all the same: Bakshi's use of "Rotoscoping", or filming real actors and drawing over them. The rotoscoped portions just don't fit with the rest of the movie, and it can be QUITE jarring to look at. (Check out how all of the Orcs seem to have just 2 kinds of faces.....couldn't they at least have made different masks to film the Orc actors in????) Also troubling (in a very minor way...) was how "Saruman" was pronounced "Aruman" about half the time. People who aren't familiar with the story will find that confusing; people who ARE will find it more and more irritating each time it happens......and it happens A LOT. The film also ends a little too abruptly; I remember being bothered by that as a kid. (It still bothers me!) On the plus side, the DVD looks great; the colors are perfect, and the sound is great. It's too bad there aren't more extras: all there is are a few text features. (Not even a trailer!) Overall, not as good as the new film adaptation, but worth a look for Tolkien fans."
Bakshi Version: Not All That Bad; Not All That Good
Matt Howe | Washington, DC | 11/23/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I was a LORD OF THE RINGS fan before the movie came out. I read it when I was in 6th grade. My friend Ralph and I would talk about the chapter we were on during soccer practice ("Last night I got to the part where Frodo stabs the cave troll in the foot..."). When Ralph Bakshi's film came out I was very excited to see it. I bought a few of the action figures as well as some coloring books and a fotonovel. I liked the film! I was in 6th grade, though ...I just got the DVD version of Bakshi's LORD OF THE RINGS and am glad that it is shown in its widescreen ratio. The film, after all these years, looks good and is entertaining for about an hour. The second half is dark and hard to follow and incomplete. Bakshi seemed to concentrate on the battles. There is a lot of screen time spent on seeing humans confront then kill orcs. Bakshi pushes the limits of his rotoscoping technique, but in the end it still looks like cheaply costumed extras that have been traced and animated. The orcs look fake with their rubber faces and burlap-sack clothes. Some of Tolkien's story points are not covered or skipped (i.e. the gifts that Galadriel gives to the Fellowship).The best thing about Bakshi's RINGS movie is the voice casting. The characters sound like I imagined them to sound. The character designs are pretty good as well, although Aragorn and Boromir look too "Viking-like" for my tastes. Bakshi has been fairly true to Tolkien's descriptions, though.It is unfortunate that the film ends with the battle of Helms Deep. I have read interviews that seem to say that Bakshi ran out of money. Therefore,the ending isn't really a planned stopping point in the story: more like Bakshi simply ran out of money and had to stop there.THE LORD OF THE RINGS (Bakshi version) is not a terrible film. It has some really good moments. And Bakshi's animation experiments are to be commended. However, it's not all that great either and suffers in its story telling and entertainment value.Here's hoping that Peter Jackson's RINGS trilogy gets it right!"
Bakshi's Best Work
Matt Howe | 08/11/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Given the other animated works of Ralph Bakshi, he seems a fairly unlikely candidate as director of the first film version of "The Lord of the Rings." "Fire and Ice" and "Wizards," for example, are heavy-handed, crude, and sexually frustrated - and that's not even touching down on some of his OTHER work. And yet, almost surprisingly, his vision of Tolkien's epic is possessed of the spirit of the books around which it is based. The voice-overs are all spectacular, and the rotoscoped animation gives the characters a life that animation seldom possesses - though there are those who would argue that point, most assuredly. The animation is also suitably dark and grim, though this also translates into a visual problem, for even places that SHOULD look fair and beautiful - such as Rivendell or Lothlorien - tend to be almost gloomy and ominous. When the Fellowship enters the dark halls of Moria, however, Bakshi is in top form. This adaptation attempts to make a single film out of "The Fellowship of the Ring" and over half of "The Two Towers," which is obviously a mistake. Because of this, there are several changes to the story that we Tolkien zealots so adore, and sometimes beloved moments are lopped out entirely. This happens most in the beginning of the film when the hobbits are on the road and making toward Bree. There is no Tom Bombadil and no fog on the Barrow Downs here (nor will there be in the upcoming Peter Jackson film, alas!). And just when you expect to see the battle with Shelob, the movie ends most abruptly without completing the narrative. A pity.Still, Bakshi does manage to deliver a good (if not excellent), well-animated, well-acted film version of fantasy's most beloved classic. It is far superior to the Rankin-Bass productions of "The Hobbit" and "The Return of the King," even at its worst. Fans of the series will probably either love it or hate it. I myself cannot wait for the DVD..."
Give Bakshi a break...
Grigory's Girl | NYC | 06/24/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film was considered cutting edge for its time. Ralph Bakshi was a top class animated filmmaker, having directed such great films like Fritz the Cat and Heavy Traffic. Watching this in the theater when I was a mere youngin I really liked it. I found it really interesting. Now, of course, Peter Jackson's versions are much better than this, but he had CGI and millions of dollars more than Bakshi did. It is blatantly unfair to trash Bakshi without acknowledging this film was made in 1978. It does end abruptly (it covers 1 1/2 books), mainly because they were hoping to do a sequel (needless to say, they never did). It has good atmosphere, great vocal performances by a British cast, great score, and the animation is very good. The rotoscoping isn't the greatest, but they still use this technique (Waking Life) today. Bakshi did what he could with the technology he had, and I think he did a damn good job....
Remastered Deluxe Edition Review Info (from someone who has
stryper | Canada | 04/02/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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."