Thursday, May 14, 2009


Jim's talk about the Ranger the other day put me in mind of Ralph Bakshi's Lord of the Rings. If you've never seen this, it's interesting to see the differences between Peter Jackson's lovely (if somewhat overproduced) version, and Bakshi's. It is interesting that both Bakshi and Jackson had to cut out substantial parts of Tolkien's work. Both will understandably be irritating to Tolkien purists, but if you'd like to check out Bakshi's version for yourself, it's right here.

For an irreverent overview of Bakshi's version, you may also wish to click here.

Bakshi's version seems to wear the late 70's pretty heavily. Do you think the same can be said about Peter Jackson's trilogy--that is, does it reflect the time and culture in which it was filmed?


Stuart said...

Ralph Bakshi's Lord of the Rings was probably the single biggest influence on our approach to D&D when we first started back in '83. I still think it's a fantastic movie and definitely worth watching. :)

James Maliszewski said...

I definitely have a fondness for Bakshi's movie, even if I have a lot of complaints and quibbles about its actual execution. Like Jackson's more recent efforts, it's definitely flawed and very much a product of its time, but I can't help but feel that, on a dramatic level, its intentions were "purer" than the live action films.

Zachary The First said...

@James: Purer in regards to fidelity towards the original literary work, you mean?

Gleichman said...

Movies always reflect the time period it was made in, and the people who make them. It's just a matter of degree.

Jackson's over-use of the the undead army is a great example of this. But that' the person and not the time.

Other than special effects however I don't seem much that links it to the release date (the special effects will of course).

But then again, what about the 70s do you see in the Bakshi version>

Zachary The First said...

Aside from the animation, which would obviously be different compared to the style period, I think there’s a lot more hair than there would be today. Hairstyles are different, and I think some gestures and items included (such as Sam and Frodo having a “moment” together when Aragorn is telling his story around the campfire) definitely would be re-done.

But you’re likely right.

I do Tolkien fans in 2030 will be able to see in a much clearer light the affectations that movie takes from to 2000s-timeframe.

James Maliszewski said...

@James: Purer in regards to fidelity towards the original literary work, you mean?

To some extent, although Bakshi also deviates from the text too. I was thinking more in the sense that the cartoon somehow feels more like it's just a movie rather than a colossal exercise in special effects and marketing, if that makes any sense. It's a much "smaller" film and somehow that appeals to me.

Welleran said...

Despite the obvious changes from the text, I believe Bakshi was much more true to the original work than Jackson was. Bakshi's changes are largely omissions of events (Old Forest, etc) rather than outright changes, though he, too, simplified things by eliminating characters (Erkenbrand, Glorfindel, etc.).

One thing that bugs me about Jackson's version is that he falls into the standard trap of modern mvies and tv where only the main characters can move forward the action. Thus, Treebeard is a doddering fool and only the Hobbits can push him into action (the written version of this is subtle; Jackson's is like a club); only Pippin can light the beacons while Denethor sits and acts like a twit and the people of Gondor do nothing (in the book Denethor at least tried to defend his city until finally the strain broke his mind). Anyway, the point is that Jackson has a aprty of superheroes in a sea of mediocrity and stupidity setting everything right - it is the movie equivalent of a D&D game where the world is completely sterile except where the party travels.

Sorry for the rant, I am in Kazakhstan and jet lagged!