VOICES OF: Christopher Guard, William Squire, John Hurt, Michael Sholes, Dominic Guard

1978, 133 Minutes, Directed by: Ralph Bakshi

Description: Animated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy classic covers the first half of Tolkien's trilogy, beginning with the hobbit Frodo's inheritance of "the One Ring" of power from Bilbo Baggins, and ending with the wizard Gandalf's triumph over the evil army of orcs.  —

I must confess to never having been a Tolkien fan. I began reading Lord of the Rings once, but I soon lost interest and never finished it. I'm not much of a Fantasy fan either. So there you have it. I don't mind that fantasy is just that: fantasy, pure escapism. We need that. But when one's literary diet seems to consist mainly of those thick fantasy tomes, I would recommend seeking immediate help.

What I do mind about fantasy is that it is a formulaic affair, much like those stacks of Mills & Boon books that pop out of some twilight dimension. It rarely has something more than escapism to offer. It offers no insights, nothing vaguely to think about or discuss - it lacks balls!

So it would come as no surprise that I didn't like this film version of Lord of Rings. If it's any comfort, fans won't like it either. Bakshi's technique mixes animation and live action tracing and the net effect is amateurish. If you want to see a good Bakshi film, then rent Fritz the Cat. If you want Lord of the Rings, then read the book. Or better: watch the big budget Hollywood action movie versions of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003).

Incidentally, the film covers only a chunk of the hefty Lord of the Rings series. It stops abruptly and one expects "To be continued..." to flash on the screen. It doesn't. A sequel completing the story was never made.



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