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Bakshi and Rankin and Bass, Oh, My!
Note: I'm usually very good about using only "websafe" fonts, but just couldn't pass up the American Uncial for this one.  Apologies to those of you who don't have it on your computers and see something else in the page title.

For those who've forgotten, or who are too young to remember, there is indeed a LotR movieverse where Frodo:

Is accompanied on his journey by faithful friends who had actually planned to go with him:
Animated Peregrin Took, Samwise Gamgee, Merry Brandybuck and Frodo Baggins from Bakshi LotR

Dances on the table while singing about the man in the Moon at the Prancing Pony:
Animated Frodo dancing on table while Sam and Pippin watch, from Bakshi's LotR

Hangs onto his sword at Weathertop:
Animated Frodo with raised sword fighting Ringwraiths from Bakshi's LotR

Rides Asfalof by himself:
Animated Frodo riding white horse into the river, from Bakshi's LotR

Faces the Nazgul at the ford:  
Close-up of animated Frodo Baggins brandishing a sword from Bakshi LotR

Stabs an orc in the foot in Moria:
Close-up of animated Frodo stabbing orc's foot with a sword, from Bakshi's LotR

And doesn't send Sam home:
Animated Frodo and Sam from Bakshi's LotR

Many of you already know that I'm something of a Bakshi apologist.  (See Amazon.com review, below). His movie's not perfect, but, hey, what is?  It doesn't change the story as much as PJ's, although it does leave out more (including almost all of Book Four) due to time constraints, and it wasn't Bakshi's fault that he didn't get to make the second half.  (I would have liked to experience Christopher Guard's Frodo at the Sammath Naur, because he so consistently follows the book's "voice instructions" for Frodo.)  Yeah, I know the Rankin/Bass RotK was supposed to take the place of the second half of Bakshi's, but I'm not an apologist for that one (but, to be fair, here's its Amazon.com review).   And, don't worry, I won't subject you to any of it here; I just used the names in the title for the rhythm - hope I didn't scare anybody.  

After 20+ years of owning only a VHS copy of Bakshi's movie (two, actually, having worn out the first one), I ran across the DVD on sale recently.  And I've never found a DVD I couldn't screencap - although Ash Wednesday is close.  This is my first try at screencapping animation and, believe it or not, some "tweaking" helps even here.  You can think of this as a practice run for Happy Feet if you want (don't even suggest I use TAMTSNBN for that purpose).   I don't know that this really belongs in the "Bit of Fun" section of the website, but didn't know where else to put it.  I may move it in the future; in the meantime we'll try not to get too serious.  No time to have a scene ready for this month, but you never know...  

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Bakshi's LotR
Buy DVD
Buy VHS
Buy Soundtrack
If you must: Rankin/Bass RotK
Buy DVD
Buy VHS
Rankin/Bass fared a bit better with The Hobbit
Buy DVD
Buy VHS
 
Amazon.com Editorial Review
(Bakshi's LotR)
Although it was ultimately overshadowed by Peter Jackson's live-action Lord of the Rings trilogy, Ralph Bakshi's animated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy classic is not without charms of its own. A target of derision from intolerant fans, this ambitious production is nevertheless a respectably loyal attempt to animate 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. While the dialogue is literate and superbly voiced by a prestigious cast (including John Hurt as Aragorn), Leonard Rosenman's accomplished score effectively matches the ominous atmosphere that Bakshi's animation creates and sustains. Bakshi's lamentable decision to combine traditional cel animation with "rotoscoped" (i.e., meticulously traced) live-action footage is jarringly distracting and aesthetically disastrous, but when judged by its narrative content, this Lord of the Rings deserves more credit than it typically receives. --Jeff Shannon

 
Amazon.com Editorial Review
(Rankin/Bass RotK)
The creative team behind 1978's impressive animation feature based on J.R.R. Tolkien's Hobbit return with this entry drawn from Tolkien's famous Lord of the Rings trilogy. It's good work all around, and not at all the kind of feature-length cartoon that reduces good books to treacle. Orson Bean returns as the voice of Bilbo Baggins as well as that of the trilogy's hero, Frodo. John Huston is commanding again as the voice of the wizard Gandalf, and also in the vocal cast are William Conrad, Paul Frees, and Roddy McDowall. --Tom Keogh

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