The Lord of the Rings
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Controversial animator Ralph Bakshi's literal adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, is brought to the screen in a reverent, stilted way, with Bakshi forsaking his sharp-edged animated looniness for a rotoscoped dullness. Although the film's title encompasses the entire Tolkien trilogy, this longish Bakshi feature, in fact, covers only the first book, The Fellowship of the Ring, and the first half of the second, The Two Towers. Given the complexity of the original story line, this unfortunately means that only those intimately familiar with… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 50%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It looked terrible then and it still does: cartoon characters move differently from live actors, and the attempt to duplicate natural movement ends in stylistic incoherence."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"The film is visually compelling even when murk overtakes the narrative."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"Tolkien fans, who are familiar with novels, will find it enjoyble, while others may be confused by the action."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"It's a reckless film, blitzing through some plot points and stalling out over others; the lack of a particular rhythm does not do it any favors, and it is certainly not a fast 133 minutes."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"The live action version trumps it in every conceivable way; there simply is no comparison. And yet Middle Earth is still better off for its presence."
‑ Rob Vaux, Sci-Fi Movie Page
"Quite simply, those who do not know the characters of Middle Earth going in will not know them coming out."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Falls far short of the charm and sweep of the original story."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Innovative and beautiful, cheesy and disjointed."
‑ Sabadino Parker, PopMatters
"A contemporary viewing of The Lord of the Rings is an exercise in outlandishness as well as nostalgia: dreamlike, peculiar."
‑ Michael Nordine, Not Coming to a Theater Near You
"... dark and fantastical with a mature approach rare in animated films of its day, and Bakshi's rotoscope process creates an unusually fluid and expressive style."
‑ Sean Axmaker,
"Bakshi's version, using animation and live-action tracings, is uniformly excellent, sticking closely to the original text and visually echoing many of Tolkien's own drawings."
‑ , Time Out
"A showcase for inspired imagery and sheer strangeness, a near-miss magnum opus from another era, before the cult of Tolkien went Hollywood."
‑ Glenn Gaslin, Slate
"What most people remember is the mix of the live-action tracing within the traditional animation and just how effectively creepy it managed to be, but for the time this did a pretty good job of adapting the dense novels."
‑ , Empire Magazine
"Animated adventure too dated and dark for younger kids."
‑ Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
"... in retrospect it feels like an elegant, appropriately sized adaptation - with some beautiful animation work."
‑ Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
More reviews for The Lord of the Rings on Rotten Tomatoes

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