Customer Reviews


40 Reviews
5 star:
 (32)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A word about the music (and other matters)
I picked up this set for a long road trip, remembering fondly the broadcast over NPR (introduced by Tammy Grimes) from many years ago. Of its reputed superiority to the prior and much deplored Mind's Eye production (also broadcast over NPR), which I have never heard, I have nothing to say. I will simply point out that no one purchasing this BBC recording in its current...
Published on March 12, 2009 by Mark W. Brown

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Good production but over priced
First and foremost, those looking for a compete LOTR experience (i.e., an unabridged or verbatim retelling) look elsewhere (namely the Rob Igles audiobook version) as this is an audio drama. As such, it is unfortunately abridged, though not anymore so then the films. As Long as you take these audio plays for what they are then you should be presently entertained. While I...
Published 10 months ago by Schtolteheim Rheinbach III


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A word about the music (and other matters), March 12, 2009
This review is from: The Lord of the Rings (BBC Dramatization, Consumer Edition) (Audio CD)
I picked up this set for a long road trip, remembering fondly the broadcast over NPR (introduced by Tammy Grimes) from many years ago. Of its reputed superiority to the prior and much deplored Mind's Eye production (also broadcast over NPR), which I have never heard, I have nothing to say. I will simply point out that no one purchasing this BBC recording in its current package could possibly mistake it for a reading of Tolkien's unabridged text. It is clearly a dramatization for radio.

The music used in this production has received mixed reviews. Those who dislike it, influenced perhaps by bits of the soundtrack from Peter Jackson's films, may have been hoping for something more "Celtic," Enya-like. Forget it. What we get is firmly in the English tradition of Vaughan Williams and others: lush strings with churchy vocals supplied by boy sopranos, countertenors, and other former choristers. Indeed the songs, which had always struck me as one of the weaknesses of the books, are one of the strengths of this adaptation. Making a virtue of a necessity, the radio production has fully exploited portions of the books all but ignored by the filmmakers, and the supplemental music CD, which at first seemed to me superfluous, proved to be a welcome bonus in the end.

Several reviewers have objected to the casting of Robert Stephens as Aragorn. I confess that my initial reaction was unfavorable as well: I kept picturing him as the aged, dissolute, and thoroughly "cudgeled" figure of Pistol at the end of Kenneth Branagh's "Henry V." But just as Sam gets used to the uncouth Strider, I got used to Robert Stephens, even as I got used to Ian Holm as Frodo instead of as Bilbo, whom he portrayed in the films. The other principals are all excellent, especially the great character actor Michael Hordern as Gandalf. (No, he is not Ian McKellan, but in 1981 he didn't have to be.)

One otherwise very perceptive reviewer has remarked that Hordern "especially is prone to making every line a grave intonation, and to read as if he is a prophet of pity and doom." In fact, of the dialogue in general the reviewer complains, "Many of the lines, even simple back-and-forth between the characters, are read like grand and important pronouncements from a scroll. . . . It's all sterile, booming proclamations--like something out of the Iliad." Yet the reviewer concedes that "one of the few weak points in the books is the dialogue, which can get heavy-handed and too grandiose." It seems a little unfair to expect actors, even good actors, to salvage a weak text. If we are embarrassed by Tolkien's epic pretensions (as well we might be: it's always a little hard to take seriously a do-it-yourself mythology or symbology, whether it be a Tolkien's, a Blake's, or a Yeats's), then we had better leave "The Lord of the Rings" (book, film, or audio CD) alone.

In any case, it is chiefly in the second and third parts, where so much of the action is frankly epic, that one encounters the grandiloquence to which the reviewer has objected. In the more intimate scenes from part 1--say, at Bag End or the Prancing Pony--the actors are comfortably informal, and the tone is about as grave as an episode of "The Archers." This kind of intimacy, in which the listener is made to feel like just another guest enjoying a cup of tea or a pipe by the fire, is one special effect that the screen version, for all its technical wizardry, could never hope to match. In the denouement, with the exception of "The Scouring of the Shire" episode (omitted from the film version, as the Tom Bombadil interlude was omitted from film and radio version alike), some of that warmth returns. The ending, with its potentially bathetic final line, is every bit as moving here as it is in the book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holds its own when compared to the books or the movies, March 20, 2013
This review is from: The Lord of the Rings (BBC Dramatization, Consumer Edition) (Audio CD)
This BBC audio adaptation of "The Lord of the Rings" holds its own when compared to both Tolkien's original books and the movies by Peter Jackson. The book gives delightful insights into the plot, characters, and especially the world of Middle Earth, whereas the movies bring powerful visual elements, better music, and more action. This theatrical radio production fits somewhere between the book and the movie; it delves more into the story of the world and what makes the characters tick, without requiring the epic journey of reading Tolkien's masterful tomes themselves.

In the radio version, Sam's love of the elves comes out more than in the movies. Merry and Pippin are cast in a different light, with Merry given a wiser role than in the movies, and one grows to love them and their commitment to Frodo in a way that the movies were unable to portray. In the radio version, Gimli's admiration and kinship with the long-passed rulers of Moria is meaningful and deep, and the camaraderie of Gimli, Legolas, and Aragorn really rings true. Overall, the books go into the rich detail of the world, while the movies add visual elements, music, and action scenes. The BBC theatrical radio version draws additional depth of feeling from the characters and focuses less on action but more on story. If you enjoyed Tolkien's poetry from the books, you'll be quite pleased at how the radio version uses many of the poems most pertinent for character development--including Frodo singing the "Walking Song" and a delightfully hobbit-like tune at the Prancing Pony in Bree. Then there is Sam singing of Gil Galad, Gimli quoting the tale of Durin, and many others. For someone who wants to learn more about the characters and come to love their world and their friendships more deeply, this radio version is definitely for you.

My favorite part of the radio production is the Mines of Moria from the Fellowship of the Ring. There is something about listening in a dark room or when in the car on a dark night, as the drums in the deep begin sounding. The actors do an excellent job of voicing their dread--especially Gimli! Durin's bane! I love it. The radio version brings more chills up my spine than the movie ever could! Not as much action in the radio version, but it holds its own place that neither book nor movie can claim.

Also, if you are a fan of the "Scourging of the Shire" ending to Tolkien's original "Return of the King" book, you will be happy to know that the radio version includes it! The ending of the "Lord of the Rings" is--dare I say--precious in the radio version. At the end of Tolkien's original books, I feel a little weary myself but very accomplished, much better at English, and like I've grown as a person. At the end of the movies, I think, "Awesome!", and I'm begging for more. But at the end of the radio version, I have a tear in each eye, because many of the most poignant stories of the characters have been shared in a brief 12 hours. I sense my own regret at the change coming to Middle Earth, as the elves had known it since Elder Days in Lothlorien. In short, I feel a connection to and a love for the story.

This radio version is different than the movies and the books. Books, movies, and this audio version each have their strengths and relative weaknesses, yet if you like the characters and the story, you'll love the BBC audio version. By all means, if you are going to drive somewhere--anywhere--get the BBC audio production and play it! You will be glad you did!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lord of the Rings (BBC Dramatization, Consumer Edition), May 3, 2012
By 
Ms. (houston, TX, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Lord of the Rings (BBC Dramatization, Consumer Edition) (Audio CD)
I had trouble finding this information before purchasing, so I am providing it.

As far as I can tell, this edition (The Lord of the Rings (BBC Dramatization, Consumer Edition) - black box, 12 CDs) is *almost* the same as the originally-released 13-episode version, which I have on cassette tapes and have listened to often. According to a wiki website, BBC released this first as 26 half-hour episodes, then as 13 hourlong episodes (adding and removing small pieces to make this work). This version is the 13 episode version. In addition it has opening and closing narration for each of the 3 books in LOTR, written by Brian Sibley and spoken by Iam Holm as Frodo (he plays Frodo in the episodes as well) in which Frodo thinks about writing down the story. Also, the episode divisions have been removed - which explains why the 13 episodes now fit on 12 CDs.

Overall I am very happy with this edition of my beloved BBC LOTR. I'm sure I will grow accustomed to the narrative framing - it's not very long or intrusive, and it's good; it's just a change. I will miss the music from the episode divisions, but I won't miss the interruptions to the narrative. I am thrilled to replace my worn-out cassette tapes with more durable CDs of the same performance.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Continuing my relationship with The Lord of The Rings, May 22, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Lord of the Rings (BBC Dramatization, Consumer Edition) (Audio CD)
I had the book for years and never read it. the movie trilogy came out and I never saw them until I heard some friends talking about how one movie ended and the next just picked up where the last one left off. I saw the Two Towers first and was hooked. I had to see them all! I watched all three movies in three days. I have read the book at least four times and watched the movies many times over. Since I got the BBC dramatization (April,2010)I have listened to it in its entirety three times.Having read the book, seen the movies and having listened to the dramatization I am even more enthralled.There are things in the book I wish were in the movies and the dramatization, there are things in the movies I wish were in the dramatization,there things in the dramatization I wish were in the movies.This isn't over. I will continue to read and watch and listen and wish...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Faithful and the Most Fun, February 19, 2013
This review is from: The Lord of the Rings (BBC Dramatization, Consumer Edition) (Audio CD)
This review is for the 12 disc BBC dramatization of The Lord of the Rings, with the black cover, ISBN 160283492X. There is a newer release, with a yellow cover, that packages The Hobbit (1968) and this version of The Lord of the Rings (1981) together with some bonus material. This is a full-cast audio drama originally developed for radio, not an audiobook. There are 13 episodes clocking in at just under an hour each.

***

Many purists claim that this is the most faithful of the Lord of the Rings adaptations, and they are right. Don't let that discourage you, though; this series is not just for Tolkien scholars. It is extremely accessible, and has aged very little since its original airing in 1981. The production values are high, the stereo sound is rich and clear, the music is ageless, and - best of all - the cast has risen to the occasion in a way that perhaps no other cast ever will. If you are listening to the series after having listened to the BBC's 1968 Hobbit production, you will find the technical and artistic improvements made in the 13 year interval to be striking.

The cast is almost uniformly excellent, but I want to draw particular attention to (who else?) Frodo and Sam.

Ian Holm is known to many Tolkien fans as Bilbo in Peter Jackson's movies, and he brings playfulness and gravitas in equal measure to Frodo here. His deeply conflicted portrayal is much closer to Tolkien's intent than Elijah Wood's young and naive take in the movies. Aside from these stodgy academic concerns of textual accuracy, though, Holm's portrayal is simply more enjoyable because it has so much more depth. Frodo does not set out on this journey as a wide-eyed teenager; he is a man, a master, a scholar, and a friend. By the time he returns home after his many travels, Holm has made you understand both Frodo's joy and, crucially, his weary sadness.

Sam is Tolkien's "chief hero", hidden in plain sight, and Bill Nighy sets the bar unassailably high. Any fans of the movies will likely be shocked, as I was, at how much inspiration Sean Astin took from Nighy for his interpretation 20 years later. Nighy's rapport with Holm is tight and never falters. Sam is frequently the audience stand-in during various events and revelations, and Nighy reflects just the right amount of our awe or melancholy or laughter. Many of the most moving moments in the series belong to Nighy, not the least of which is a genuinely stirring and powerful rendition of Sam's song in the tower in Mordor.

Much more could be written about this series, but I'll leave it to you to find it all out for yourself. The great supporting characters, the music, and the sense of immersion will all stick with you. This is a deep and nuanced production, notable not just as an adaptation of great art, but as great art in and of itself. If you're interested in Tolkien, in radio plays, or just want to walk for a while somewhere far away and fully realized, you owe it to yourself to give this a listen.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lord of the Rings BBC Audio Book CD's, December 2, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Lord of the Rings (BBC Dramatization, Consumer Edition) (Audio CD)
This BBC production is a pinnacle of excellence (other than reading the book). If only the film had used this intelligent and enthralling adaptation as a guide for their script and storyline! Then we would have had a film that followed the story, without adding all that unnecessary horror and sensationalism. The original story (so well portrayed on this Audio Book) is exciting, multi-layered and inspiring. It didn't need dumbing down and gratuitous violence. Whereas the film did need the wit, the songs and the delightful background details contained in this CD set, which is now for sale at a very reasonable price. You can give yourself (and others) a fabulous gift by buying it. You can also listen to it while travelling on long trips. The time will virtually disappear. You will be part of a magical heroic world that has relevance for us all on our journey of life and our battle with misuse of power and the destruction of our environment (the negative force of the Ring of Power). Rejoice in their (and our inevitable) victory over the Shadow, no matter how long it takes.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this more than the books or movies, February 13, 2013
This review is from: The Lord of the Rings (BBC Dramatization, Consumer Edition) (Audio CD)
In the spirt of full disclosure, I should probably admit that I'm not as big a Lord of the Rings fan as some of the people here. I enjoyed the books, but they didn't change my life. The movies were fun, but I haven't set aside a Saturday to watch the director's cuts.

On the other hand, I was absolutely enthralled with this adaptation. Perhaps it's because the first time I heard it it was on a road trip when I graduated from college (if you really want to visualize Mordor, try listening to this while driving through Death Valley!). That was 1984, and I recently listened to it again while ferrying my own kids to college. It was every bit as good as I remembered. The voice acting is superb. Ian Holm in particular is great as Frodo, and I found Peter Woodthorpe vastly more enjoyable as Gollum than the CGI version in the movies.

Trust me, if you've got a long trip coming up, listen to this and the hours will melt away.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellant reading, June 2, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Lord of the Rings (BBC Dramatization, Consumer Edition) (Audio CD)
I bought this version of The Lord of the Rings audio book because I loved the dramatied version of The Hobbit and I am not disappointed. I loved this version of the three books. They do cut out some parts that the movies cover and lots of fairly dull parts out of the books but it is necessary to make it an interesting dramatization for audio.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely excellent, September 22, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Lord of the Rings (BBC Dramatization, Consumer Edition) (Audio CD)
It wasn't until 2001 that I learned of the existence of this particular dramatization of Lord of the Rings, after having listened to the American program for well over ten years. Unfortunately, it was rather a difficult program to locate. I found a copy at my local library but some of the disks were damaged and, so while I was able to listen to it I had to fast forward through certain parts. However I was able to listen to enough of the program to realize what a masterful dramatization this is. Ian Holme is admirable in the role of Frodo, Michael Hordern is just about what I would have expected for Gandalf...well I really couldn't find any complaints with the actors. Ian Holme, interestingly enough, would go on to later star as the aged Bilbo in the film trilogy.
Aside from the actors (Peter Woodthorp comes to mind as a particular favorite in the part of Gollum), I loved the music, which unlike the American version was specifically written for the program if I'm not mistaken. And the singers, where singing is used, are excelent, particularly during songs sung in Elvish. That leads to another thing I love about this particular drama. We get a good deal more exposure to the Elvish language versus the bare sprinkling found in the american version. Also, they didn't give the Elves those squeaky voices found in the American program. All in all this program feels much more real. In fact, it was almost hard for me to believe it was an abridgement given the amount of detail that was put into it. Needless to say, when finances permit I intend to own a copy of this wonderful program. If you're a Tolkien fan but haven't heard the BBC radiodrama of Lord of the Rings, you might just do yourself a favor by checking out or even purchasing a copy. While i'll grant that the 1979 American dramatization is more accurate as far as the story goes (it's the only dramatization in existence that features the scenes with Tom Bombadil), the BBC pprogram still feels more real because it features better actors and much better music. So if you haven't already heard this wonderful production, you should find yourself a copy and give it a good listen.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful production, music, and a WARNING, September 19, 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Lord of the Rings (BBC Dramatization, Consumer Edition) (Audio CD)
Doubtlessly, this is by far the very best dramatic adaptation ever made of the Great Book, the Lord of the Rings. Every version I've ever heard over the years, to put it mildly, have been but a shadows of this single glorious BBC production. (And that includes all later British and American versions too.)

As someone who treasured my BBC cassette tape edition in its very nice box, obtaining this CD version was a real treat; it also has some phenominal extras too, like several of Tolkien's songs/poems set to music. In addition, it is worth noting, there is also indeed a serious classical music group, whom have, along with Sir Christopher Lee, done an outstanding service to all of us who've yearned for Tolkien's songs and poems to be set to a worthy musical score; by the "Tolkien Ensemble" and is available for purchase here at Amazon. The Lord of the Rings: Complete Songs and Poems - Christopher Lee - Tolkien Ensemble

The WARNING I spoke of in my title is this: Some I'm aware of, have been honestly confused by the Amazon write-up for this BBC production as somehow being a "complete" and "unabridged" edition of Lord of the Rings on CDs. It is NOT an unedited or unabridged version of the ENTIRE TEXT of Lord of the Rings. Rather, the BBC production itself is unabridged, and thus is NOT an unedited reading of the ENTIRE TEXT of Lord of the Rings, in dramatized form!

If you want to buy the best truly unabridged and unedited version of the entire Lord of the Rings, I suggest buying the FULL text edition, recorded onto a great many CDs, from the BRITISH arm of Amazon.com (UK). Moreover, the USA full-text version was sadly, very BLAND; key words and phrases of Tolkien, read out with an American accent, frankly set my teeth on edge. Along the same lines, I wouldn't buy a Brit-accented complete work by Mark Twain; it just does not work well. Moreover, in my humble opinion, the same holds just as true for the Harry Potter books (not on par with Lord of the Rings, to be sure) yet the British-read versions of a very British work, just SOUND MUCH BETTER. (And its not by chance that the best movie versions of Shakespeare's plays are performed by English accented actors.)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Lord of the Rings (BBC Dramatization, Consumer Edition)
The Lord of the Rings (BBC Dramatization, Consumer Edition) by J. R. R. Tolkien (Audio CD - September 9, 2008)
Used & New from: $76.84
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.