The Lord of the Rings: Original Animated Classic [Blu-Ray] Ralph Bakshi

The Lord of the Rings: Original Animated Classic [Blu-Ray] Ralph Bakshi
So, back in the mid-'70s when Ralph Bakshi was proposing his animated The Lord of the Rings to United Artists, the intention was to make the entire trilogy, convincing the studio to back at least the first two books, Fellowship and Towers. The aim was to release this with the title The Lord of the Rings: Part One, which the studio quashed, assuming that people wouldn't pay to see only part of a film, which wound up not mattering anyways, as Towers was never made. This is why the title is a bit of a misnomer. This bit of information isn't covered in the half-hour supplement included with the Blu-Ray, which gives a history of director Ralph Bakshi and his contribution to the animation world in a time when Disney titles were floundering. Much of the production of The Lord of the Rings is discussed, as it was filmed as a live-action movie and then painted over with watercolour, giving that creepy, hallucinogenic quality, which is only exacerbated by the fact that the main characters have a more cartoonish exterior than their surrounding orcs and warriors. For a moderately low budget film of the time this was quite the undertaking and explains why many of the frames appear unfinished, randomly changing colours and suffering continuity issues. As a narrative, the film is pretty dry, covering only the exposition and generalized details of Fellowship without any sort of artistic fancy, outside of the trippy animation, making for a mostly boring two-hour viewing. That said, as a piece of history and an animation experience made mostly for an adult audience ― not in a Fritz the Cat way ― it holds up as an interesting cultural landmark for contextual analysis. Bakshi enthusiasts should appreciate the cleaned-up print despite the still apparent dirt and scratches. (Warner)