The Lord Of The Rings (Bakshi)

Discussion in 'Movies' started by rob kilbride, Dec 25, 2001.

  1. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    I've always liked Bakshi's LOTR, as incomplete and as flawed as it is. Personally, back then I didn't know any better. It also got me to read the books, which probably wouldn't have happened any other way. Personally, the strength of this film is where Jackson's film is the weakest: going from Hobbiton to Rivendell. I also liked the way the Balrog was handled in that film as well.

    For years, it was the only visual version that I had a reference to, and I still think it was a pretty good effort.

    Jason
     
  2. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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  3. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    The one really good thing about Bakshi's film is Peter Woodthorpe's portrayal of Gollum.

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    I would have to agree with you in this respect. The Gollum voice in Bakshi's version will be hard to top. I heard some of the dialog done by Serkis and for some reason I could not help but think that Gollum sounded like Donald Duck at one point. I don't mean the "Ducky" Nash Donald either. I don't know who has been doing the voice work for the Donald Duck character in recent years, but the Serkis Gollum voice had some similarities.
     
  4. DavidDeane

    DavidDeane Extra

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    It may just be me, but there could be a pattern here: people who like the Bakshi version are either fans of Bakshi's other work, or they were first exposed to Tolkien via the Bakshi movie.
    Myself, I saw the Bakshi movie in the theaters when it came out, when I was young (11 or 12), but after I had been reading and rereading Tolkien for many years. I saw it with my older brother, who is a huge Tolkien fan, and we both were extremely disappointed. Yes, there were some big crowds initially, composed of Tolkien fans mostly, but the movie altogether was not successful, either commerically or artisticly. I don't think my disappointment was unusual at the time either.
    I forced myself to watch the Bakshi DVD recently, and, frankly, it was unwatchable; it was even worse than I had remembered it. Rotoscoping is horrible, and mixing it with traditional animation just does not work. The whole production was botched.
    It was as though they had no proof readers, continuity checkers, or anyone trying to keep track of consistency. "Aruman" and "Sarumen" are used interchangeably. "Sarumen the White" is dressed all in red!!! Did the animators even read the script??? Sometimes the Nazgul's horses eyes glow blue, then they glow red. The "black riders" are dressed in brown!!! Again, did the animators even read the script, much less the books?
    Gimli the dwarf is as tall as Legolas!!! Again, did the animators even read the script??? For some unexplained reason, Aragorn is made to look like a Red Indian, and he doesn't have the sense to cover his arms or legs in any kind of clothing, in spite of walking through freezing snowbanks. Boromir is made to look like a Hollywood idea of a Viking, with a horned helmet - a characterization that is totally wrong for both Vikings and Gondorians.
    The orcs look as spectral as the Nazgul; not the effect you want when dealing with purely physical creatures like orcs. The Balrog in Moria was laughable; where were the flames? The Balrog looked like a bloated moth! Were those supposed to be "wings"? Sam is portrayed as a complete moron and drooling simpleton; no emotional depth or character whatsoever.
    I could go on and on, but the above examples will do. Bakshi's movie was a wretched, botched mess. If it served to encourage some people to read the books, great; but it probably scared just as many people away from the books.
    The merely pedantic will point out that the Bakshi version uses more dialogue taken directly from the books, and makes fewer changes, than the Peter Jackson version. Yes; and that is precisely the problem with the Bakshi version.
    Tolkien did not write a play; he wrote a novel. His dialogue and narration simply do not translate well, if taken literally, to the big screen. This is precisely why the Bakshi version drags, and has no emotional depth. It was trying to get the letter of Tolkien right, and totally missed the spirit of Tolkien.
    Here are some comments I wrote on another thread, which are applicable here:
     
  5. Zane Charron

    Zane Charron Second Unit

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    "According to the Mirror of Galadriel, Sauron's watchful Eye is in fact a kaleidoscope."

    Hahaha!

    Well, as amusing as the author of that ditty is, it's clear that many of his criticisms are stylistic in nature rather than comparitive to the book. I've always enjoyed Bakshi's version, even if it is a huge mess of poorly edited and unresearched scenes. Having said that, I think some things work better than Peter Jackson's version.

    First off, although Leornard Rosenman's score is often overbearing, it's once again a sylistic choose. I believe the themes and instrumentation are good, and he just chose a more brash and in-your-face take on it to approximate Tolkien's grandeur as opposed to Shore's opting for the mysterious to open the film. I like them both but prefer Shore's score.

    The opening prologue to both films are very similar (necessarily). Bakshi's looks very cheap, though in it's own way is kind of endearing, giving it the feel of an elaborately staged Greek play. It does explain Gollum's beginnings as Smeagol, which Jackson's doesn't (at least not yet).

    Much of the dialogue is taken directly from the books in Bakshi's, as opposed to blending or manipulating the passages from the book, and in many cases simply writing all new dialgue "in the style of Tolkien". As good as the adaptation is, I often longed for more of the original passages from the book (which Bakshi's provides in abundance).

    To mention the rotoscoping briefly, I've never minded it. It's no better or worse then some of Jackson's creative decisions such as the over-blown "Wraith World" of the Ring (I prefer Bakshi's stark sense of aloneness where time slows way down) or the over-the-top wizard battle in Isengard, not too mention the incredibly dark vision of The Prancing Pony. In the book that particular scene is rather jovial and Jackson completely turned it on it's head. I much prefer Bakshi's Bree.

    And Merry and Pippin. Ugh. I rather loath Jackson turning them into the comic relief. Sure, they had some humurous moments, but they also had some serious ones as well. Unfortunately, even those come off as rather comical. I prefer Bakshi's. But yes, Sam is ridiculous in the animated adaptation.

    I prefer the encounters with the Nazgul better in Bakshi's version somtimes. They're creepy and unnerving as opposed to menacing in Jackson's, even if they ARE leper-like. And I like the discussion among the four hobbits regarding Merry and Pippin's going along with Frodo and Sam after the first wraith encounter. In Jackson's version Merry and Pippin just kind of start tagging along and you get no sense of WHY they are going.

    And although the elves in Bakshi's version are many F-stops too bright, don't forget about Arwen's ridiculously luminescent entrance in Jackson's. Can you say "Look, here's an elf" any less subtlely?

    The council of Elrond is painfully short in both versions, but I just can't help but cringe to hear Hugo Weaving say "you have but one choice" in such an over-dramatic fashion. In some ways I prefer Bakshi's Council.

    Moria is good in both films as well, though Bakshi's is more acurate, with the Watcher in the Water section and the Orc Captain skewing Frodo instead of the cave troll. Balrog is much better in Jackson's.

    I could go on and on. Bakshi's is the more acurate, but Jackson's is the more emotionally involving and obviously the superior of the two.

    17 days till The Two Towers.
     
  6. Zane Charron

    Zane Charron Second Unit

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    "According to the Mirror of Galadriel, Sauron's watchful Eye is in fact a kaleidoscope."

    Hahaha!

    Well, as amusing as the author of that ditty is, it's clear that many of his criticisms are stylistic in nature rather than comparitive to the book. I've always enjoyed Bakshi's version, even if it is a huge mess of poorly edited and unresearched scenes. Having said that, I think some things work better than Peter Jackson's version.

    First off, although Leornard Rosenman's score is often overbearing, it's once again a sylistic choose. I believe the themes and instrumentation are good, and he just chose a more brash and in-your-face take on it to approximate Tolkien's grandeur as opposed to Shore's opting for the mysterious to open the film. I like them both but prefer Shore's score.

    The opening prologue to both films are very similar (necessarily). Bakshi's looks very cheap, though in it's own way is kind of endearing, giving it the feel of an elaborately staged Greek play. It does explain Gollum's beginnings as Smeagol, which Jackson's doesn't (at least not yet).

    Much of the dialogue is taken directly from the books in Bakshi's, as opposed to blending or manipulating the passages from the book, and in many cases simply writing all new dialgue "in the style of Tolkien". As good as the adaptation is, I often longed for more of the original passages from the book (which Bakshi's provides in abundance).

    To mention the rotoscoping briefly, I've never minded it. It's no better or worse then some of Jackson's creative decisions such as the over-blown "Wraith World" of the Ring (I prefer Bakshi's stark sense of aloneness where time slows way down) or the over-the-top wizard battle in Isengard, not too mention the incredibly dark vision of The Prancing Pony. In the book that particular scene is rather jovial and Jackson completely turned it on it's head. I much prefer Bakshi's Bree.

    And Merry and Pippin. Ugh. I rather loath Jackson turning them into the comic relief. Sure, they had some humurous moments, but they also had some serious ones as well. Unfortunately, even those come off as rather comical. I prefer Bakshi's. But yes, Sam is ridiculous in the animated adaptation.

    I prefer the encounters with the Nazgul better in Bakshi's version somtimes. They're creepy and unnerving as opposed to menacing in Jackson's, even if they ARE leper-like. And I like the discussion among the four hobbits regarding Merry and Pippin's going along with Frodo and Sam after the first wraith encounter. In Jackson's version Merry and Pippin just kind of start tagging along and you get no sense of WHY they are going.

    And although the elves in Bakshi's version are many F-stops too bright, don't forget about Arwen's ridiculously luminescent entrance in Jackson's. Can you say "Look, here's an elf" any less subtlely?

    The council of Elrond is painfully short in both versions, but I just can't help but cringe to hear Hugo Weaving say "you have but one choice" in such an over-dramatic fashion. In some ways I prefer Bakshi's Council.

    Moria is good in both films as well, though Bakshi's is more acurate, with the Watcher in the Water section and the Orc Captain skewing Frodo instead of the cave troll. Balrog is much better in Jackson's.

    I could go on and on. Bakshi's is the more acurate, but Jackson's is the more emotionally involving and obviously the superior of the two.

    17 days till The Two Towers.
     
  7. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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  8. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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  9. Eric Bass

    Eric Bass Second Unit

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  10. Zane Charron

    Zane Charron Second Unit

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    "That scene is a direct reference to the book when Frodo first sees Glorfindel and he appears to Frodo to have light shining through him, the Nazgul see the same thing at the ford when Glorfindel chases them into the rushing waters."

    I know, I just think it was overdone, like many things in the film.

    Eric, you hit on about every point of contention I had with PJ's version. Every one of them. The more I watch PJs version the more I love some parts of it and hate others. I really do wish more dialogue straight from the book was used. There is too much Hollywood in there, I think (strange for a director from NZ). I would have liked more exposition for Tolkien's brilliance to come through, but I guess we can't have it all.

    Still, the film is great, all debate aside.
     
  11. Eric Bass

    Eric Bass Second Unit

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  12. Jonathan Dagmar

    Jonathan Dagmar Supporting Actor

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    I have just had the (dis)pleasure of watching the Bakshi version of lord of the rings on Space here in Canada. I assume they aired it to capitalize on the release of return of the king on firday.

    Well, now I finally know what everyone has been talking about all these years. This film is so TERRIBLE that I do not think it is possible to describe in without using black speech.

    Now generally when I see a bad film, there is at least one thing I can like about it. Not with this film.

    -The animation is bad. It is a hopeless mis mash that doesn't quite know what it want's to be. we have a bizzare mix of truyl cartoon styled characters, with obviously rotoscoped characters, and sometimes it is so lazy that it appears to be nothing more than super high contrast live action. It's just bad.

    -The character designs are bad. Sam looks like some poor Afgan woman. Aragorn looks like the most politically incorect of indians.

    -They can't be bothered to get the chatacters names right, but worse, they only "sometimes" get them wrong.

    -The music is so very very very bad. It evokes no emotion whatsoever, and really severes no other prupose that to grate on a persons nerves.

    -There comes a point about halfway through the movie when they seem to think it is okay to stop telling the story. That it, it just ends, and we see a wonderful montage opf badly animated scenes without almost no dialog, and we are supposed to guess what is happening.

    -and then it just ends. just like that.

    Ralph bakshi should be ashamed that he ever produced this garbage.
     
  13. Robert Anthony

    Robert Anthony Producer

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    I posted this in the already super-huge LOTR/ROTK thread going on, but I think it fits better here:

    The biggest problem with Bakshi's version is that it takes the most important and most emotionally involving character, Samwise, and turns him into this mentally retarded fraidy-cat who, somewhere along the way, got hit in the face with a brick. The character design and the animation--just totally misses the point of Sam--and to me, that's missing the point of Lord of the Rings. That is DEFINITELY a charge that Peter Jackson can NOT have applied to him.

    Honestly, for as much as I've been hearing around the net that Bakshi actually got the feel more accurate than Jackson did, I don't see how anyone can look at the story and believe that. Maybe he stuck closer to some of the details than Jackson did (and even then, I'm not so sure about that--imagine if Jackson had posited that the last Alliance LOST and that Isildur snuck up on Sauron) but he totally mangled the emotional core. If Bakshi had actually somehow obtained the funds to finish LOTR--how would the movie really have managed to be emotionally involving near the end? When the Frodo/Sam dynamic that tolkien wrote is not only non-existent in the Bakshi version, but totally warped and mutated into where Sam is simply Frodo's bag carrier--or even worse, A walking, talking piece of Frodo's Luggage.

    See, Faramir's character being tinkered with, Arwen's character being tinkered with--that's all stuff I can swallow down a LOT easier because PJ has made sure that the emotional center of the movie, the very POINT of the movie, stays as true as it can to the spirit of the book. The Frodo/Sam dynamic is as true as it can be. We get choked up because we are Sam. We're the gardener, the janitor, the 9-5'er, the guy who gets his fingernails dirty and doesn't mind because he's got his friends, he's got his family, and he's got his peace of mind. And because of those ties, because of that love for his best friend, he marches into HELL for him, and comes back alive. And he comes back and he lives, he enjoys his family, he lives in peace and that's enough for him.

    that's us. And that's one of the most important parts of Tolkien's tale. And it's the one part that Bakshi screwed up THE WORST. You can't tell me that his feel for the trilogy was more accurate when he so badly blundered the most important part of it.

    I'd rather Jackson toy with some of the details, alter some of the ancilliary, supporting characters, and maintain the emotional center of the story, than to try to adhere to every set piece in the novel only to completely screw up the thing that matters most: Frodo and Sam.

    I do think the Bakshi version should be checked out, if only to hear Peter Woodthorpe's version of Gollum (he also did the voice of Gollum in the BBC Radio Drama) and to hear C-3po as Legolas. It's kind of weirdly interesting.
     
  14. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    The Aruaman/Saruman thing is just unforgivable, though. Was the picture taken away from Bakshi halfway through making changes or did no one pay any attention to it?

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I doubt it. The mess that was Bakshi's version was just Bakshi doing his usual shitty job of filmmaking. The guy has never made one really decent film in his entire life. Even "Wizards", one of his more regarded films, is pure shit. Nothing but a bad rip of Vaugn Bode's art style. And then there was "Fritz the Cat." Robert Crumb was so disgusted he tried to keep the film from being released but was unsuccessful. All he could do was have his name removed from the credits, so it made Bakshi look like he originated the character.

    This fits here better than in the main LOTR thread. Quote is from the main thread.
     
  15. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    For some reason I watched this again this morning. This is the third time I've seen (I know, I'm a masochist). The 2nd time was about 2 years ago, right after the DVD was released. The first time was during its original theatrical release in 1978 - one of the most disappointing movie experiences of my life.
    I always knew this was a bad film, but now seeing it for the first time since seeing Jackson's films really brings home just HOW bad it is. One thing that struck me is that I felt like I was watching it for the first time - that's because NOTHING in this film is the least bit memorable.
    Eric Bass has a long list above of things he thinks were handled better by Bakshi. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. OK, some of these may be closer to the book, but none of them are better, because nothing in Bakshi's film works at all. Take the moment with Frodo at the ford with the 9 riders. Yes, it would have been powerful if it had been executed well. But it wasn't. You have bad voice acting by the actor playing Frodo, and the Nazgul are just laughable ("the ring, the ring"). Even though Jackson departed from the book here, his execution of the scene was FAR superior to Bakshi's.
    Bakshi's film is just plain ugly. I can't think of a film that is less pleasant to look at. It's not just the odd stylistic animation choices, it's also the design choices. As Jonathon pointed out, the character designs are ridiculous. The elves run around in ballet tights. The men are in mini-skirts. The orcs look like Bakshi ripped off the Jawas from Star Wars the previous year and pasted on ugly teeth. The Balrog - ha! More like the Blah-rog. And then of course there's Sam. Poor Sam...
    Another thing - there's no proper sense of scale. You think that with his film being animated Bakshi could have worked some wonders. But in Moria it looks like the Fellowship is in a small cave being attacked by 10 to 15 pasted-teeth Jawas. Compare that to Jackson's handling of the same scene. PJ's Moria scene is one of the greatest extended action scenes in film history - and it's not just action, there's a real emotional payoff when Gandalf falls. You can see this throughout the films. Jackson's films are full of wonder & emotion. There's not a single instance of either in Bakshi's mess. Jackson's films contain one jaw-dropping moment after another. The only jaw-dropping going on with Bakshi is when your mouth falls open as you fall asleep. The difference is not just 25 years of technology advances - it's vision, passion, skill & taste. All things Jackson & crew possess, and which Bakshi apparently totally lacks.
    Today I saw a new 30-second TV spot for RotK. There's more wonder, beauty & emotion in those 30 seconds than in the entirety of Bakshi's misbegotten enterprise. Peter Jackson is a cinematic genius. Ralph Bakshi is a hack. It's as simple as that, and the evidence is plain to see.
     
  16. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    There is a certain quality of ugliness to Bakshi's character drawing that I don't care for, but I do like his use of rotoscope and agree with Bill that American Pop is an excellent film.
    I haven't seen his LOTR in about 15 years, I remember liking some aspects of it, particulary the rotoscoping, I was just very disappointed that it ended so abruptly. (I saw it in the late 80's, knowing nothing about its troubled history).
    But I really like the Rankin-Bass films. Yes, they're for kids and they drop much of the story, but what they do choose to illustrate works very well for me. I also really like that they use Tolkien's songs. I'm sure I'm in the extreme minority, but I wish P.J. had made use of them.
     
  17. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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  18. Robert Anthony

    Robert Anthony Producer

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    I'd rather an iffy line of dialog (which isn't that iffy) compared to the shuffling brown geriatrics moaning over their broken hip in the Bakshi version. [​IMG]
     
  19. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    I'll take the moaning over the endless screeching of PJ's Nazgul, but whatever floats your boat.
     
  20. Norm

    Norm Cinematographer

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    I've never seen Bakshi's Rings, but I always liked Wizards. I haven't seen that in about 25 years, I wonder if that will still stand up today.
     

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