Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

The Lord of The Rings: Remastered Deluxe Edition (Blu-ray)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
4 out of 10
Extras Rating:
6 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: PG

Starring:
Christopher Guard as Frodo (voice)
William Squire as Gandalf (voice)
Michael Scholes as Sam (voice)
John Hurt as Aragorn (voice)
Simon Chandler as Merry (voice)
Dominic Guard as Pippin (voice)
Norman Bird as Bilbo (voice)
Michael Graham Cox as Boromir (voice)
Anthony Daniels as Legolas (voice)
David Buck as Gimli (voice)
Peter Woodthorpe as Gollum (voice)
Fraser Kerr as Saruman (voice)
Philip Stone as Theoden (voice)
Michael Deacon as Wormtongue (voice)
André Morell as Elrond (voice)

Special Features:
Forging Through the Darkness: The Ralph Bakshi Vision for "The Lord of the Rings"

Includes Standard DVD Copy Of The Lord of the Rings

Includes Digital Copy of The Lord of the Rings Ffr Portable Media Players

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Spanish and French Subtitles
Spanish and French Languages
Running Time: 133 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"All the magical adventure of the fantasy classic by J.R.R. Tolkien comes to life in director Ralph Bakshi's brilliantly animated tale of the enchanted land of Middle Earth - and the brave band of Hobbits, Heroes and Wizards who set out to protect it. When a dangerous and powerful gold ring falls into his hands, a courageous Hobbit named Frodo embarks on an epic journey. Along with the mighty Wizard Gandalf and some daring Elves, he defends his homeland from the Dark Power who would destroy it. Set in a mystical age of magic, monsters and unlikely Heroes on incredible journeys, 'The Lord of the Rings' will cast its spell over your entire family!"

"The Lord of the Rings: Remastered Deluxe Edition" is rated PG.

Mini-Review:
I should admit up front that I'm not a big fan of Ralph Bakshi's animation (except for his "Spider-Man" episodes). It seems dated and the subject matter usually isn't interesting to me. I'm also not a big fan of rotoscoped animation. It just has a weird feel to it that I don't find aesthetically pleasing, not to mention that it feels a little like cheating at the animation process. That being said, I do recognize that his films do have a cult following.

I was interested in seeing how he interpreted "The Lord of the Rings," especially after having seen Peter Jackson's landmark films. I had seen bits and pieces of the movie over the years, but was never able to sit through an entire viewing. What impressed me this time around was just how closely the animated version matched the live action version, at least with respect to the production design. The Hobbits looked similar. Gandalf looked like Gandalf. The Ringwraiths looked familiar. All together they looked amazingly similar despite being made well over 20 years apart. Maybe that's more a testament to Tolkien's descriptive writing than anything.

But having seen Jackson's flawlessly executed live action version highlights all the flaws in this animated script. First of all, they compact "The Fellowship of the Ring" and "The Two Towers" into this one movie. The script hits many of the high points, but I think if you weren't already familiar with the story, it would be extremely hard to follow. It just feels random in some places and too rushed in others. It is exceptionally long, too. It's no wonder I got bored when watching it before. It's just plain dull. Then it simply ends in the middle of the battle of Helm's Deep and leaves the movie on a cliffhanger that was never resolved. The film does not cover "The Return of the King." It's quite unsatisfying in many respects.

This film was also animated almost entirely with rotoscope. For those that don't know, it's when the animators film live action references then trace over it to create the animation. In one respect it's quite impressive that Bakshi filmed almost an entire live action "Lord of the Rings" movie in the 1970's, then created an animated version off of that. But as I mentioned earlier, it ends up looking a bit weird. Humans are animated like they were photographed. Motions of the characters look strange with the realistic motion. It works well on rare some occasions, but overall it's not a preferable animation technique for me.

I'd only recommend this Blu-ray to die hard "Lord of the Rings" fans and fans of Ralph Bakshi. Everyone else is going to find this animated film to be long, boring, and somewhat dated.

There's only one bonus feature on this DVD. It's a biography on Ralph Bakshi which features interviews with him and his family. (The way they talk I almost thought he was dead, but he isn't.) You hear about his childhood, how he got into animation, and other stuff. I was interested to hear they tried to get Led Zeppelin to score the "Lord of the Rings" movie, but it didn't end up happening. Now that would have taken the movie to an interesting new level. They also show some photographs from the live action references used in the movie.

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