The Lord of the Rings (1978)

dir. Ralph Bakshi

The 1970s weren’t exactly a prolific time for animation, meaning audiences were looking for the next big thing in the medium. The Lord of the Rings was not it. Based on the Tolkien trilogy – though only going as far as part-way through the second book, with its planned sequel never coming to light – it’s hard to find a single aspect which works consistently. Some of the backdrops are animated beautifully, while others look like archival footage shoved in at the last minute. The rotoscoping style used for the characters renders their movements awkward, lumbering, and erratic, made even more jarring by the constantly changing style of animation over the top, practically jolting between flat 2D and flat-out live action. The voice acting is dismal, with moaning, creaking Nazgûl and stilted reads from every single person. It’s hard to focus on any of this, though, seeing as endless distractions come in the form of the background characters, who either jerk around bizarrely or stay completely, eerily stock still. Though a reasonably limited budget excuses some of the issues, many of the problems could have been entirely avoided with a bit more creativity and care. It’s said The Lord of the Rings was a labour of love; in the end product, the laziness and irregularities belie that there was any labour or love at all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: