credit: Warner Bros.

Review: The Lord of the Rings (1978)

I’m simultaneously impressed by the sheer ambition of the project, and feeling wholly incapable of ever giving this a star rating. This is…unique.

The animation is incredible, when it’s animated, and when it’s interspersed with heavy rotoscoping or filtered footage, it’s very interesting.

The Halflings look like children, mostly, which is unsettling. In several places, it definitely looks like they rotoscoped children for Hobbits. I just don’t think of them as childlike, though Frodo is certainly young.

Twinkolas is drawn VERY pretty. Gimli is as tall as Twinkolas and Old Man Aragorn. Boromir wears a pseudo-viking horned helmet. The Men have miniskirts (TUNICS) and either naked legs or skin toned leggings.

A lot of this is just aesthetic sensibilities of the 70s, or Bakshi’s taste, and Bakshi was a hell of an artist. Sacrifices were made in design in an attempt to do more animation, and when he succeeds, it’s beautiful.

The microexpressions of his characters and their hand gestures are like…wow. The backgrounds are divine! I love the fully rendered environments but I love the more abstract ones more.

I scream-laugh at the Ringwraiths every time they show up.

Thing is, you can nitpick what feels weird about this until the end of time, BUT IT ALL WORKS! This is obviously an incredible labor of love, and even the compromises are made with dedication and genius imo.

I could see this being a great kids’ intro to LotR.

(This review was originally posted on Letterboxd on Jan 03 2023. Image credit Warner Bros.)

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