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100 of 101 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Give Bakshi a break...
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...
Published on June 23, 2006 by Grigory's Girl

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87 of 99 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting for fans; non-fans will be confused.
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...
Published on December 24, 2001 by Daniel V. Reilly


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100 of 101 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Give Bakshi a break..., June 23, 2006
This review is from: The Lord of the Rings (DVD)
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....
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87 of 99 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting for fans; non-fans will be confused., December 24, 2001
By 
Daniel V. Reilly (Upstate New York, United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Lord of the Rings (DVD)
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.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bakshi's Best Work, August 11, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Lord of the Rings (DVD)
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...
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40 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray versus Standard DVD plus this classic's importance to animation!! (explained), April 7, 2010
First of all I must tell you, if you already own this Ralph Bakshi's monumental animated classic Lord of the Rings (LOR) on Standard DVD and you are satisfied, have an opinion seen it, been there done that. Go no further. Duplication/upgrade is a waste period.

ATTENTION EVERYONE ELSE: FIRST TIMERS, ANIMATION HISTORY ENTHUSIASTS, LORD OF THE RINGS OBSESSERS and ESPECIALLY HOME THEATER BLU-RAY OWNERS.

OKAY NOW, WHY DID I GIVE THIS "FIVE STAR RATING"? SHORT HISTORY of LOR animation and movie evolvement (in the 1970's). Hollywood up until Ralph Bakshi couldn't fathom the monumental task in bring this epic to the screen in a 3-4 hour movie. The cost and locations plus the unique history, races, weapontry etc unimaginable.

In 1978 Ralph Bakshi obtained the movie rights of LOR and figured on a limited budget with the cel animation enhanced with "ROTOSCOPE" (live action sequences with cel animated tracing and coloring. Giving us Smooth accurate movement of figures)) he could bring this epic to the big screen.

REMEMBER this was 1978 before computers, CGI this was revolutionary!!!

NOTE: 1970's animation was bad and studios were going broke. Lord of the Rings release inspired the animators to create and be more imaginative.

This 1978 Widescreen Classic was shown only in the best theaters, reserved seating only. Exclusive showings, master programs and LOR memorabilia was being sold. This movie made alot of money!!!! (I can remember standing line to purchase a ticket for a later viewing, days later!!)

WELL NOW!!!!!!!!! For the first time you experience or re-experience that THEATER EXCITEMENT once again in your BLU-RAY Home Theater with Dolby Digital Sound. WOW!!!! This is fun stuff!! Note: I observed, for some reason the Opening Title sequence and credits were not HD quality. The movie itself is!!!!!

The remastered movie is well worth the money alone. But you get 3 movie copies to watch; a Blu-ray, Standard DVD and a Digital Copy.

SPECIAL NOTE: TO REALLY ENJOY AND APPRECIATE THIS CLASSIC ANIMATED EPIC I SUGGEST YOU WATCH THE SPECIAL FEATURE FIRST, "FORGING THROUGH THE DARKNESS"!!!!
This will let you understand and see the groundbreaking animation and the brilliant mind of Ralph Bakshi.

LOR plays for 133 minutes and the rotoscoped animation is quite amazing. This was a one of a kind movie fantasy and the brilliant screenplay packs the LOR to Helms Deep. This was basically the first half mark. The ending was nicely done so this movie could stand alone. NOTE: Animators Rankin & Bass did "The Hobbit"(1977) and "THE Return of King" (1980) (completes the Hobbit & LOR Animated story)for TV.

SPECIAL FEATURES: A 30 min Featurette "Forging Through the Darkness: The Ralph Bakshi Vision for The Lord of the Rings" THIS WAS AN ABSOLUTELY INFORMATIVE STORY TO WATCH. Made in 2009 so it provides us with new information about Bakshi and LOR. Basically it explains the entire making of LOR (live action filming, rotoscoping everything!!!) Plus it includes Bakshi biographical material explained by himself!!!!
A must have for your Blu-ray Home Theater Library. ENJOY!!!!!
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bakshi Version: Not All That Bad; Not All That Good, November 23, 2001
This review is from: The Lord of the Rings (DVD)
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!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chill out people. This film deserves credit., May 19, 2005
By 
T. Liska "Terriberri" (Somewhere in the north east.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Lord of the Rings (DVD)
I love this cartoon. So many reviewers poking holes into it: Rotoscoping, gaps in the plot, incorrect name pronounciation, bad animation...blah, blah, blah...
I think they forget, it's a CARTOON MADE IN 1978. No enormous budget, live action, No computerized animation, no big flashy production here. But for a low budget cartoon from over 25 years ago, it's really quite amazing.
I see some reviewers did realize this, but many others mercilessly trashed it and picked it apart. The parts of the story that the film does cover, is VERY true to the book. Word for word in fact. I also think the rotoscoping gives a very cool and creepy effect for the orcs and the ring wraiths. Besides, as far as the animation goes, it beats the hell out of today's stupid looking anime any day. That's my opinion.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Remastered Deluxe Edition Review Info (from someone who has an advanced copy), April 2, 2010
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.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seriously guys, give it a rest, April 15, 2010
It must be a generational thing, this constant bashing of Bakshi's LOTR that borders on hysterical shrieking. As good as Jackson's films may be in their own right, let's get this straight: this film ain't Ebola and Jackson's trilogy ain't crack. This will never be a perfect film, or even a great one; yet, I find it marvelously absorbing, literary and surreal in a way that only an animated film can be. There's no picking out bad CGI, tepid "British" accents, or horridly wrong New Zealand locations (yeah, Minas Tirith looks amazing but the Shire looks like a golf course). Bakshi's film reminds me in some ways of the movie magic Kasdan and Kushner worked with Empire Strikes Back, wresting Star Wars from Lucas and making it into something more than a mythology-pushing fanboy serial. Perhaps an outsider's view is necessary. Finally, with all due respect to Sir Ian McKellen, William Squire IS Gandalf. His magnificent vocal performance (and Bakshi's perfect visualization) is archetypal, and there is little in any of the Jackson films that surpasses it or comes closer to Tolkien's vision.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm surprised at all the negativity....., September 29, 2003
By 
e5150 (United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lord of the Rings (DVD)
...considering that this was all we had to visually enjoy Middle-earth up until a couple years ago. Of course Peter Jackson's epics have revealed this film's faults in sharp relief, but they are still not worth such scathing remarks. Until recently, I bet a lot of the same people rather enjoyed this interesting film.
The rotoscoped animation seems to draw the most invective, but I have personally considered it one of the stronger aspects of the film, setting it apart from the usual run-of-the-mill, mundane "cartoons". It's a sort of "adult" cartoon. Would these people have rather seen Aragorn look like Fred Flintstone, perhaps? At the time, the only feasible, economical way to represent a world such as Middle-earth was in the realm of animation, and fortunately for us Bakshi opted not to resort to the animation of Bugs Bunny cartoons. The lifelike movements of the characters, even though they are "cartoons", adds an unusual, almost surreal aspect to what we are seeing. When I saw it in the theatre in 1978, I was awestruck, having only seen the usual Saturday morning Hanna-Barbera animation up to that point. I still am in awe of the magnitude of effort that this film's final appearance must have required.
Obviously a sequel would have been nice, but we get what we get and I don't see any problems deserving of the damnation that this film has suffered through. It's not perfect--left out plenty of things, ends rather suddenly--but it was a monumental work and I can understand how Bakshi might have reached a point where he said enough is enough.
Besides, you gotta love Boromir with the Viking helmet. Now THAT was cool. But the main highlight: there was absolutely, positively NO ARWEN in this film! Now that is cause for celebration!
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings, December 4, 2002
This review is from: The Lord of the Rings (DVD)
I sometimes feel sorry for Bakshi and the bad vibes sent his way because of this film. Its really a shame that he ran out of money and wasn't allowed to tell this tale in the fashion that Jackson has been, because one thing this version does have is character development. Maybe Sam is portrayed as a buffoon, and Aragorn looks more like a dock worker than a soon to be king, but the actual Tolkien story and its nuances are paid attention to here with the time allowed.
I do think this movie is worth a look or two from Tolkien fans or not, because the characters are more full in this version, and a better sense of the book's movement between those characters is given attention. This book is impossible to film, and Jackson has made a great go at it, but there are some missing things that this version does retain. Visually, Jackson's has truly brought the book to life, but on characterisation, there is so much missing. And for the sake of drama, Frodo is seen in Jackson's as far weaker than he is portrayed in the book. I think Bakshi's version pays attention moreso to those personality traits, but that is a harder story to tell.
And the Ringwraiths are far scarier and threatening in this version than in Jackson's (Fellowship)Lord of the Rings, but in the scenes it should be noted that Jackson definitely saw this movie and used it as like a storyboard. The Wraiths hunting of Frodo & company on the road is far more dangerous and frightening in this version.
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Lord of the Rings (1978)
Lord of the Rings (1978) by Ralph Bakshi
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