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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Lord of the Rings Animated Film Blu-Ray Review

The Lord of the Rings Animated Film Blu-Ray Review

Synopsis: Ralph Bakshi's animated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's revered Middle-earth saga captures the dark mood of the books extraordinarily well. The film covers the first half of the trilogy--"The Fellowship of the Ring" and the earlier part of "The Two Towers"--as Frodo (voiced by Christopher Guard), the cousin of Bilbo Baggins from "The Hobbit", is given the all-powerful ring sought by the evil Sauron of Mordor. So begins his adventure, as he must elude Mordor's black riders in an effort to prevent the ring from returning to its owner and thereby signaling the end of Middle-earth. Even with the mighty wizard Gandalf as his ally and faithful friends Merry, Sam, and Pippin by his side, Frodo is still up to his hobbit neck in peril.

Review: I've never seen the 1978 animated Lord of the Rings film.  Its kinda funny too, since I was so into fantasy stories as a kid, and in fact I read the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit and loved them.  I just never was interested in watching these movies, I thought they'd be hoaky.  Then, after Peter Jackson's epic trilogy was released you might think I'd go back to give them a view.  Nope.  Now, I had heard that it was coming out on blu-ray and I'm finally sitting down to give it a chance.  I figured that 30 years later was just 30 years too long, but I was so wrong.

The Lord of the Rings animated film is epic.  I mean epic.  It is so absolutely fantastic both in voice acting and animation.  Bakshi's method of rotoscoping, where you animate over live action footage, really made the film amazing.  What surprised me is how dark and intense the film really is.  I figured it'd be watered down for children, but to the contrary it was some of the oldest feature film to really be geared towards adults.  It didn't talk down to the kids at all like most animated film does to this day.  It very closely follows the books and is quite the tribute to Tolkein's masterpiece.

Included in the blu-ray is a great documentary about Ralph Bakshi that goes into his history as an animator and how he made classic film like Fritz the Cat and the Lord of the Rings.  Its an interesting in-depth view of this pioneer in the industry.  The transfer to blu-ray is really fantastic.   There isn't any grain at all in the feature, though it does include some dust.  The colors really pop and the animation certainly doesn't look as dated as it truly is.   I highly recommend this one for any fan of the Lord of the Rings. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars