Newest Review: ... Her temptation scene at the mirror is perhaps the best in the entire film and as the book. There's no silly, silly blast-off moment... more
To wield it you would have to become Sauron, I will NOT touch it!
The Lord of the Rings (Animated Version) (DVD)
Member Name: Danscomp
The Lord of the Rings (Animated Version) (DVD)
Advantages: In some ways superior to the later films
Disadvantages: But not in everything
Eclipsed rather unfairly by the multi-million dollar CGI juggernaut of Peter Jackson's trilogy, Bakshi's animated work completed over 30 years ago still has much to commend it, including many aspects that are clearly superior to the later films.
The voice work is superb. This is a hugely talented cast, backed up by a much more authentic treatment of the characterisations in question. PJ dumbed down a lot of characters in the films. Legolas became a petulant teenager. Frodo became useless, eager to give the ring to the enemy. Elrond became a judgemental, man-hating jerk. Galadriel became a new age hippy. Elves became gay.
I'm glad to say that Tolkien's characters have been left largely unmolested. Frodo is a young, playful optimist with absolutely no clue of what is yet to come. Legolas is a wise, hundred-year old prince of Mirkwood. Elrond is patient, calm. Authoritative, firm.
Galadriel's character is perhaps captured the best of all. She is someone with great power. Who has lived for thousands of years and seen both wonder and horror. Her temptation scene at the mirror is perhaps the best in the entire film and as the book. There's no silly, silly blast-off moment here. Just sadness and gentle self-mockery. Anette Crosbie is simply perfect as Galadriel.
I also found PJs ringwraiths exceedingly silly creatures, forever squealing like pigs on helium. Here they are truly terrifying. The camera angles used for the first encounter with Khamul look exceedingly similar in the later film.
Moving later into the film, Theoden's face is not covered with porridge to indicate for those slow on the uptake that this is a clunky possession scene. Here he's simply an old man manipulated by grief and worry for his people to such a point he believes the poison whispered in his ear. When roused back to his former self, he is a King. Not a mad dog frothing at the mouth.
There's no fearful women and children at Helm's deep, the men of Rohan having sent them on while they fight a hopeless rear guard action. Just as the book has it. There's also no shield surfing.
John Hurt's Aragorn can be quick to anger when pushed, but is caring and thoughtful. A good match for PJ's version and Mortensen's work. Christopher Squire as Gandalf is at least as good as McKellan who has a tendency to overact.
The colour pallets and backgrounds used for the film are mostly wonderful, though they can't really compete with the huge budget, technology and vistas of New Zealand that would come later.
"Boromir the Viking" is an accusation much levelled at the Bakshi version, and it is deserved. One of the few examples where the script is completely wrong. Some good is clawed back by a strong scene showing his death defending Merry and Pippin. Something I am absolutely certain was not lost of a certain Mr Jackson.
Sam in the Bakshi film is irritating. More village idiot than faithful companion. I'm not a huge fan of Sean Astin's Sam and his Dick Van Dykian travelling accent, but even he was better than this.
Grima Wormtongue is also portrayed badly. Here, he appears to be some form of cloaked rodent. It's a pity to have Theoden's despair portrayed so well, yet have a vaudevillian pastiche in Grima.
The soundtrack behind the film does the job, but is not particularly memorable. Howard Shore's later work remains far better. Some of the animation is clearly rushed towards the end of the film. There's none of the real love and care shown at Bag End.
Bakshi used a technique known as "Rotoscoping" which captures live movement and animates over it. This gave the film a realistic look to many scenes which, while excellent clearly jarred against the adjoining purely animated scenes.
This is seen most clearly in the battle of Helm's deep when Gandalf and Theoden ride out. 1983's fire and ice matures the technique into something that would work much better.
There's also some strange choice of backgrounds used with the rotoscoping such as when the ringwraiths pursue Frodo to the ford (which, as with the book is Arwen-free)
If you enjoyed the books and have not seen this film, approach it for what it is. The first, brave attempt to film something viewed as unfilmable. An attempt that is more faithful to the work that inspired it. The film can now be picked up for under £4.
Summary: If you prefer the books to PJ's versions, give this a go.